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ProLight & Sound 2017 : Lighting roundup

By Cat Strom

The organisers of ProLight & Sound 2017 shuffled the halls and changed the days around but it seemed quieter than the past couple of years. Add to that a rather lack lustre offering of new products and the general response was a little ‘meh’.

I spoke with many attendees and it seemed that there were three products that had a wow factor: the GLP JDC1 strobe, the Clay Paky Axcor Profile 900 and a piece of truss. Yep, you read that right.

The GLP JDC1 contains a traditional single tube element with a clear, bright white output; this combines with a surrounding full face of RGB LED’s. The possibilities are endless as these two elements have independent control and can be used as separate pieces, or combined for stunning effects. It can also work as a high output blinder and wash light. Expect this one be a big seller and on plenty of riders soon.

The Axcor Profile 900 is the first Claypaky spotlight to use an LED light source, instead of a traditional discharge lamp. Notable is the white and coloured light it produces, its ability to form perfectly sharp projections, and the precision micro-mechanics of its exclusive beam shaping system. As usual, pure class from Clay Paky who presented the product within their Immersive Experience theatre, a large room with 270 degree cine projection, which hosted a multimedia show that mixed light, sound, video, stage design and atmospheric effects.

Prolyte presented the BGR70 truss; a low volume truss with extreme load bearing capacity. The truss can handle large spans as well as extreme loads. A pre-camber system to guarantee zero deflection is one of the great features this truss offers. Apparently, compared to conventional 100’er truss systems, the BGR70 truss is 40% stronger and saves up to 35% transport volume. It’s also a tool-less system.

The Robe RoboSpot garnered quite a few comments too. It’s a remote follow-spot system compatible with any of Robe’s BMFL range of fixtures already in rental stock. Great for when it’s impractical to install an operated follow spot position. Robe attempted to transform their booth into a mini La Scala Milan. The dome featured two concentric rings of the new Anolis Ambiene intelligent down-lighters which are available in tunable white or RGBW.

Remote follow-spot systems seem to be all the rage with Litecom revealing theirs called Spotdrive which can be used with any fixture.

Another chatter-generating product were the MDG low fog accessories: one which can be embedded in the stage floor or set wall to conceal a fog output and the other which performs several functions by using a sliding conduit either to split a single source of fog into two distinct outputs, merge two separate sources of fog into a single output, or act as a fog output gate.

The most interesting gadget title belongs to City Theatrical’s DMXcat Multi Function Test Tool, a little thingy you can plug into a moving light which then talks to an app on your phone. The DMXcat™ brings DMX/RDM control plus several other functionalities to your smartphone for use wherever and whenever they are needed.

Of course everyone was excited to see the latest Ayrton lightshow, designed by Stéphane Migné, which has built a cult following. They did not disappoint. As well as celebrating their 15th anniversary, Ayrton launched several new products in particular the first of a new line of luminaires: the Merak. This compact wash squeezes a whole lot of washlight into a package that is less than 40cm high.

Many of the big manufacturers had consistently packed stands even if they weren’t launching anything major. ETC was chockers as they showed their Gio @5 console and ETC’s Source Four® LED Series 2 luminaires. MA Lighting was always busy despite only really launching some new software. The High End booth looked great and was well populated, but again nothing particularly new was shown.

Also busy were Philips with their new Vari-lite VLZ, the first in a new range of spot, profile and wash luminaires. It has a white LED source and features colour shake and colour wheel spin control offering lighting designers a plethora of vibrant effects. New Showline products were also on offer.

Martin was showcasing more video solutions that expands VDO creative LED video range with VDO Fatron 20 and VDO Dotron. They also launched their new plug and play Thrill line for DJs, musicians, and enthusiasts. The fact that these products work right out of the box with easy-to-use presets for customers who have minimal to no lighting experience, set many experienced lighting people sniggering but hey, it’s a market. They also unveiled their Exterior Projection 1000 claiming it to be the world’s most powerful permanent exterior image projector. However, the most exciting product was kept behind closed doors and only a select few were able to see it. Expect its launch later in the year.

Surprisingly, one of the largest stands was for Chinese company PR Lighting, one of the few Asian companies that have climbed to be respected and escaped the dreaded Hall 5. They had the new and nifty Butterfly LED effect light which has six high-power OSRAM RGBW LEDs housed in 6 moveable heads, five of which are on the edge of the central disk and rotate individually while the main disk rotates continuously. Makes sense when you see it.

Both PR Lighting and Elation made quite a show of proving how waterproof some of their ranges were by plonking them in ponds and sprays of water.

Chauvet Professional expanded upon already successful lines with the Maverick MK3 Wash, the Maverick MK1 Spot, ÉPIX Strip IP and Ovation B1965-FC.

Robert Juliat returned with their strange mannequins to preview two new LED followspot models, Oz and Alice that feature a powerful 600W cool white LED source and the same high-quality functions and characteristics offered by the Robert Juliat classic Compact range. As well as new Dalis fixtures, they unveiled SpotMe.

Doughty Engineering revealed their brand new Space Saver which allows a clamp or spigot to be permanently fitted to a luminaire or projector etc and folded into a storage position to save space.

In console world there wasn’t anything radically new to report on, just mainly software updates. Fresh from being purchased by Chauvet, Chamsys revealed their MagicQ Stadium Wing which is compatible with the MagicQ MQ500 Stadium and MagicQ MQ80 consoles. ADB were reborn at ProLight with a new logo to complement the Claypaky logo. They too launched a wing, the Imago is a compact lightweight high-tech USB backlit control surface, which becomes a fully-fledged console when connected via USB to a PC running Hathor lighting software. ADB also launched the Klemantis asymmetric linear cyclight.

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