As with the Sound Products of the Year (see February ED), this year's EDDY-winning lighting products represent a triumph of practicality. Many of the best new products were designed to address specific needs of lighting designers and engineers, be it a highly adaptable range of fixtures or an environmentally friendly hazer. Below are six of the hottest "Why didn't I think of that?" lighting products released over the past year, as picked by our panel of judges.
Line of Fixtures: Clay Paky/The Stage Line of Luminaires Seen last year in prototype, Clay Paky's Stage Line is now ready for the marketplace, which is good news for designers looking for convenience. The series includes four washlights--the Stage Color 300, 575, 100, and 200--and two effects projectors--the Stage Light 300 and Stage Zoom 1200. The great thing about this series is its adaptability--you can change the Stage Color 1200 into the Stage Zoom 1200 and back, because the two projectors share identical bases. The color system uses cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus amber, to increase the range of possible colors and pastel shades. The line's GTC (Gradual Temperature Control) feature enables stepless gradual color temperature correction from 6,000 degrees to 3,200 degrees(K), directly from the control desk via DMX.
Single Fixture: Altman Stage Lighting/The Star PAR(TM) Luminaire Altman becomes our first back-to-back winner (the company was honored last year for the Adjustable Cyc Light) with the Star PAR, a die-cast spotlight/floodlight designed to be a rugged, lightweight alternative to conventional PAR-64 luminaires. The highlight of the Star PAR is the light: it can hold either a 575W tungsten halogen lamp, or the new Philips CDM model, which was honored as a lighting product of the year at LDI98. Other features include a fully rotational lens holder, which accepts a variety of lenses, all of which can be inserted or removed without the need for tools; and a removable, two-slot accessory holder featuring a self-closing, self-locking retaining latch for safety.
Special Effects Lighting: Diversitronics/The Strobe Runner The Strobe Runner controls from four to 126 strobes through DMX addresses, including intensity and speed, with buttons that select the number of strobes, programs, and effects. The controller should be of special interest to lighting designers because of the many built-in cues utilizing strobes, including chases and reverses. Other features include audio chase-random, toggle, and all-flash with seven effects, including hyper, lightning, merge, whirl, and explode.
Scroller: Wybron/The CXI Color Fusion CXI Color Fusion uses just two color scrolls with graduated frames of cyan, yellow, and magenta to create a color palette which is billed as being far beyond that of any color changer. Built into the system are 255 preset colors designed to match gels from Rosco, Lee, and GAM; users choose the desired color from the menu, select the corresponding DMX level, and the two CXI scrolls move into position to mix the color. Switching to two-channel control enables users to create their own colors. CXI fits on most common stage fixtures, and it runs from the Coloram power supply, so you can put existing inventories to work without further expense.
Fog Machine: Le Maitre/The Neutron Pro Star Hazer Lighting design has found its way into restaurants, showrooms, and other retail outlets, and now it's fog's turn. The Neutron Pro is an environmentally friendly generator that uses no oil or glycol. The unit features Le M aitre's Sequentially Tracked Auto Re-issue (STAR) technology, which is designed to produce a translucent blanket of haze without the use of a compressor or a heating block. As a result, the Neutron Pro is virtually silent. The unit also comes with optional DMX and remote control.
Lighting Control: Vari-Lite, Inc./The Virtuoso(TM) Console Designed as the successor to Vari-Lite's hugely popular Artisan(R), the Virtuoso control console is already a worthy tool for lighting designers, even though it is still in relatively early stages of development. The console currently features or will soon feature a fully integrated 3D graphics display, designer's remote functions, 30 submasters with a variety of playback modes, timing and delay values on a parameter basis to allow unlimited multipart cues, and preview as well as off-line programming. And to make life easier, the Virtuoso even comes with backlit buttons and displays that can be read in any light at any angle.