This was a feast or famine year for the staging and projection markets. In the former category, a host of new promising products still in the prototype stage made it tough to find worthy honorees ready for market (but just wait till next year!). In the latter category, there were so many great new products it was hard to whittle it down to a select few.

In the end, our panel of judges found three new products in the projection category and one that’s unique enough to qualify in both categories. The winning products are: the Christie RoadRunner LX100 projector; the Hippotizer Green Hippo V.2 media server; Main Light Industries' SoftLED curtain; and High End Systems' DL-2. All four products will be honored at the annual EDDY Awards ceremony on June 22 in New York.

The new Christie RoadRunner LX100 steps up both brightness and performance levels of the RoadRunner series with 10000 ANSI lumens and a quad-lamp engine mode. New 3D digital video processing for sharp video images from analog and digital sources, 90% brightness uniformity and an 1100:1 contrast ratio create bright, realistic images. The new Fast Lens Change (FLC™) mount is designed for no-fuss lens changes and easy set-up.

We highlighted Version 2 of the Hippotizer media server as the January Product Pick of the Month, so many readers already got a sense of what this puppy can do. Briefly, the new version built in support for the majority of established industry protocols—DMX, MIDI, RS 232, and timecode (model specific)—making it possible to control any playback parameter remotely from other hardware. And in November, Green Hippo added H-MAP, the Hippotizer Media Access Protocol, which is designed to allow lighting consoles access to information on Hippotizer servers via Ethernet. Hippotizer is available in the US from TMB.

Main Light's Soft LED™ is a combination of tri-color LED technology and high-quality black fabric drop. It allows an infinite number of shapes, patterns, colors, and complicated light shows in one backdrop. Soft-LED backdrops are lightweight and flexible, fabricated much like fiber optic curtains, except the face fabric used is inherently flame retardant and virtually wrinkle-free. The face fabric is made from 22-oz IFR Black Encore; removable liner is IFR Black Avora; and there are hidden ties on all four sides. Each backdrop contains a grid of LED nodes interlaced with thin, flexible wire cable. From the front, the visible part of the node is smaller than a dime. The nodes, comparable to pixels in image quality, contain a red, green, and blue diode, each individually controllable for an almost unlimited color palette.

High End Systems' new DL-2 digital light is a “smart” automated lighting system featuring an integrated digital media server. Housed in one single package is a light engine, media server, and content, and it hangs and acts like an automated light. DL2 reduces space and installation time. No need for RGB cabling, and servers are no longer necessary at the FOH. Features include infrared Digital Eye, wireless media content management system, and ability to import 3D objects.