Acme Dotline 360
by Adam Volz and Darren Russell.
Darren Russel is the owner and Managing Director of Canberra’s Elite Event Technology, one of the foremost production companies on Australia’s East coast. Elite supply venues, large scale touring, and events, with a comprehensive and top-shelf inventory of hire stock.
The Acme Dotline 360 is a LED batten in two moving halves that have independent zoom, slightly reminiscent of a GLP X4.
Elite Event Technology have installed them in FCTN Nightclub in Canberra (profiled on page 32 of this magazine – Ed.). As the club was taken over by new proprietors, we had the opportunity to install an entirely new lighting rig, which includes 86 Acme fixtures, with 24 Dotline 360s.
At FCTN, the Dotlines are hung vertically in rows of four, in continuous strips six fixtures tall, going floor to ceiling. They sit either side of a big LED screen, with moving head fixtures between the screen and the Dotline columns.
On the Gig
The Dotlines have been in the club for six months now, working five nights a week with zero failures and zero issues. The lighting operators love them; the Dotline’s independent zoom and big zoom range means they can create a lot of interesting air effects. The techs have been using them for lots of point beams, and creating blades of light; air effects and eye-candy.
The Dotlines have individual pixel control in terms of colour, and zoom is controlled per block of six LEDs. You can have one half zoomed in creating six individual beams, and the other half zoomed out creating a blade, which is quite cool. The response of the movement in the fixture is very fast for this type of design.
We’re running the Dotlines in full extended mode, taking up 57 channels of DMX each. As a whole, the club is running a gazillion universes of DMX (technical, I know) because of it.
Control is via a ChamSys Magic Q desk, working with Arkaos MediaMaster Pro media software. Running off the internal network from a Mac, lighting techs can pixel map from the Arkaos server, or use the Magic Q to control Arkaos. The system is set-up to take Art-Net, sACN, or KlingNet.
Design and Performance
I’ve been impressed by the performance of the Dotline 360 since I first saw a prototype in the Acme factory at the end of 2017. Surprisingly for this price point, Acme are now using Osram LED chips, which means we’re getting good quality output, and great colour rendering. It also means you can trust the spec sheet; they are indeed as bright as they say they are.
Manually, the Dotline 360s are very easy to work with. The design is well thought-out, with useful mounting points. They can stand freely, or you can run them along the floor. There’s also the ability to attach an Omega-style clamp on the back.
The FCTN install was done on a very tight schedule, after some unavoidable delays. The speed with which they went in, and the fact my staff didn’t have anything bad to say about installing them, indicates to me that they’ve got the industrial design spot-on!
Adam Volz is the Creative Director of TLD Creative; event concept, lighting design, programming, and operation specialists based between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Operating largely on high-end corporate events, TLD work on unique events around Australia. Adam’s background in the industry includes global experience with the Walt Disney Company, Broadway theatre, and lighting headliners at major festivals.
TLD Creative have invested in 16 units of the Dotline 360s. We were sold on the zoom range, and the options that other similar fixtures don’t have.
Where most batten fixtures have one zoom, the Dotline 360 has two. This means you’re working with a resolution of half a metre, rather than a metre, so when you’ve got a lot of fixtures in a line and want to create a wave or curtain, the effect is better.
As far as I know, it’s the first fixture on the market with a dual zooming module in one housing. Some LDs told us they’d never use that capability, but we’ve hired it to them, and lo and behold, they used it, in full 57 channel mode, fully pixel mappable.
We’ve been running the Dotline 360s for 12 months, and we’ve used them on everything, from corporate, to festivals, and touring. Our customers will ask for LED strips, so we show them moving LED strips, and they’re blown away.
We have them spec’ed on a tour this month, pixel mapped into a set flanking a big LED screen.
Colour and Zoom
The zoom range – from 3.5 degrees, up to 38 – produces a tight, hard beam when narrow. All of the other similar fixtures I’ve tried tend to create a soft edge when zoomed in hard, so that alone won me over. There’s no haloing on the colours, and the 30W RGBW chips that are used in the Dotline are producing great colours. I’ve found that across the entire Acme range, even in their CMY fixtures.
There’s a lot of versatility out-of-the-box with the built-in macros. Even in Basic mode, you can run the Dotlines together in a line, trigger the macro, and it runs through the fixtures, which makes it really easy to create some cool effects.
There’s also a neat feature that Acme R&D developed –background and foreground colours. You flick a macro channel on, pick a macro that’s already built-in, and create a new colour. You’ve now got two from the same fixture, which is great for when you need to make it look fancy quickly at corporate gigs and the like.
For EDM and similar events, capabilities like this mean you’re programming quickly, and looking effective.
In terms of transport, we get four to a case, weighing in at 117 kg. While some batten fixtures have their power and I/O on the back, the Dotlines have them on the bottom, which can be a little painful when you have to run them on the floor.
To solve this, we’ve made power and data adapters. This isn’t an issue when you’re mounting on truss uprights though, and if the cables were on the back when on the floor, people would kick them, so there’s pros and cons.
The Acme Pro range is well-built and feels sturdy. The Dotline 360, while bulky, is a nice-looking fixture that doesn’t look like it was built in a day. All of the R&D was done in-house by Acme, so this is not a copy of someone else’s fixture. Acme have certainly put a lot of effort into the design.
Light Source: 12 x 30W RGBW LED
LED life expectancy: 30,000 hours
Zoom range: 3.5° – 38°. Zoom angle of the right and left modules can be individually controlled
RGBW colour mixing
Linear motorized zoom
Tilt movement range: 220°
4-button touch panel, OLED display with battery backup
Protocols: DMX512, RDM, Art-Net
DMX Protocol modes: 2
Control channels: 14, 57
Input voltage range: AC 100–240 V, 50/60 Hz Power consumption: 450 W
Data in/out: 3-pin & 5-pin XLR
Height: 113 mm
Width: 278 mm
Depth: 1000 mm
Weight: 17 kg