PL+S 2014: Lighting News

Here we go with the final summary of ProLight + Sound 2014 as regards lighting and video.

In general we noticed a sense of stasis, but also some confirmations and innovations from the “big ones”, together with a sort of coming back to simple things which, anyway, brought interesting news.

The “first blood” goes to Alberto Maria Trabucco, with whom I shared some thoughts about lighting and who tried to understand what’s going on in the video sector.

Alberto Maria Trabucco: When you arrive at Frankfurt Messe, you immediately think that you will be able to visit all the booths, but a few hours later you realize that it’s impossible.

Distractions are many, you can’t avoid stopping to have a look at something curious, you always find interesting details, you meet people to greet and to talk to. You can’t help writing your name with the water shower (yes folks, you red correctly…) or being enchanted looking at laser shows which, in spite of becoming boring very quickly, are always beautiful.

Accepting that it would be impossible to see everything, I used an expedient, created from Italian research and genius, and I started my strategy: following my instinct and asking people for information.

After selecting this information, I understood that my research was leading to the rationale that has been underpinning my thoughts lately; I strongly believe that something “new” should be “simple” to attract my interest, it should integrate with existing systems, and in particular with me, and it should be easy to use, because it should make my life easier; in a few words, it should be the proverbial “Columbus’ egg”.

As far as video is concerned, it’s not easy to think of simple things; on the contrary many solutions were incompatible with this assumption, and integration among different systems still seems an utopia, but with some exceptions which, obviously, can be summarized in the well-known brands …

Shall we speak of Chinese consoles for LEDs? OMG, what a nightmare, they are all different from each other! And I’m not just talking about quality, as they are often “abstruse” and almost useless objects.

Talking about similarities and user-friendliness, it looks like software houses are fighting to make things difficult, generating copies of programs with the same functions, but with totally different command lines and interfaces, that can be managed only by IT experts, that are often highly unstable (the platforms, not the operators!), that need steep learning curves and considerable knowledge before you can use them.

These parameters would not be inapposite, if our sector was able to keep up with high costs for staff management and long production times, as they do in other markets not connected to show business.

What can we talk about then, what media servers can we include in our info, what LED-walls… what shall we include in an article post-Frankfurt-Messe? Simply, about what impressed me because of its functionality and simplicity. And here I must praise the real genius of Prolight & Sound 2014, which showed its Columbus’ egg:

Brother, Brother & Sons
Area Soft 48 is an integrated LED projector for photography; it adopts simple monochrome Led technology with variable color temperature by changing the front filter with an opaque phosphor panel, in two versions: 2.770 °K and 6.500 °K. This simple array includes accessories to vary the light emission radius according to three modalities – Beam angle, Soft box and Snap grid – that diffuse the light with angles varying from 40° to 160°. The lamp can be controlled via dimmer, and its working life is said to be 50,000 hours. Coming from a monochrome source, the color temperature does not change with intensity. The chromatic range is really interesting, with CRI coefficient higher than 95.



Mx Wendler
I have to talk about media servers, and I have to say a big “thank you” to a friend of mine who gave me a great hing, pointing me to the small booth of Hendrik Wendler who, besides being the creator of the festival of video mapping “Genius Loci of Weimar” (, has also created a fantastic software called StageDesigner, perfect for architectural, club and entertainment projects and installations.

The software runs on both Mac and Windows, and it’s not a simple play-out of videos, but a real creative and easy tool, that can be interfaced with all known systems such as Midi, DMX, Keyboard, Mouse, iPhones, iPads, etc., etc., etc.

StageDesigner can be used together with a wonderful FxServer, with 6 integrated HD outputs, 32 Layers and various configurable live inputs, ArtNet led mapping and video slow motion. A test performed live in front of our very eyes shows a latency time on video output of 2,5 fmps.


LEDwalls were present at many stand at Prolight & Sound; they were different kinds but also rather similar… but the real “LED goodie” was inPavillion 9.1, where all the Eastern congregation was massed… the atmosphere changes, and just a few people dare go near the improvised booths.

At lunchtime, strong food scents can be smelled and Eastern marketing managers care little about their visitors… some of the most diligent ones swoop over the hapless customers armed with depliants and disarmed by their requests of information. They can only speak Chinese!

Only my instinct could lead me, so I had the chance to meet Cristian Bragato, European distributor of LightKing systems, maybe the only Italian in the “Eastern sea” of Frankfurt.

These products must be checked, it’s difficult to test a LEDwall and consoles during a tradeshow, but as regards their design and production, they seem very good.

LightKing introduced a new cabinet with handy hanging pins and simple fast locks, a nice system to change unworking pixels by simply detaching the anterior parts and the possibility so change the power system with a simple “click”, just like a battery pack on a video camera.

A cool idea to perform quick maintenance on LEDwalls without much hassle because, let’s make it clear, pixels go on breaking and breaking.


Coolux was at Frakfurt with the latest 2014 products on video management and media servers.

Their latest modular interface, Pandoras Box NetLink, which allows the conversion of a great deal of external inputs towards the Pandoras Box network, is very interesting. It consists of two easily configurable modules and offers a very user-friendly calibration of the projectors.

The new Pandoras Box Compact Player is focused on dimensions and weight, as it is a very compact but powerful player, with a 120Gb internal Hard Drive, 3 usb 3.0 outputs, 2 usb 2.0 outputs, 2 Video Layers, with a resolution of 2 x 1920 x 1080p at 25/30 fps. All in a small case, weighing only 4kg and with dimensions of 225 x 40 x 165 mm.

Pandoras Box EDID Link is the EDID generator, developed to be totally compatible with the Pandoras Box family. One of its main features is the possibility of distributing power via USB or DVI. Up to 50 different EDID can be chosen and programmed using a simple graphic interface.



Walter Lutzu: this was my first “delirious” presence as a ZioGiorgio journalist at ProLight & Sound, so I will start from what I think were the most interesting products in the lighting sector. Following a rigorous alphabetic order, let’s fill in some gaps and ease the spirits. Ready?

Avolites Media introduces the new S-Series Media Servers, together with the latest generation of the Infinity line: Ai Infinity EX. The Ai S2, S4 e S6 media servers offer two, four and six Display Ports / DVI Outs, third generation PCI express motherboard and graphic cards, SSD RAID disks, and 4K Ultra HD operation in the S4, S6 and S8 servers.

Avolites also introduced Version 8 of Titan and some wings for Sapphire and Titan Mobile, together with the much awaited Tiger Touch Wing. Sapphire Touch Wing offers 30 extra motorised faders and a third hi-res touch screen. Sapphire Media Wing offers local video control of Ai media servers, whereas Titan Mobile Wing can expand any Avolites Titan consoles, granting direct access to all the most used items.


The British company adds the last piece to their collection, a high-end MQ1000 console, called Stadium: 2 x 21.5” touchscreens that can show programming, performance, 3d visualizer and video management; the consoles offers 500 total universes and is compatible with all the previous pro and compact models. 30 motorised faders and 30 playback encoders are included, together with 12 further encoders.

At the back we find an integrated UPS with in/out connectors, 8 DMX RDM ready outputs and 4 network ports.

It is still under development and will be distributed in about a year.



Lots of new products at ChromaQ. First of all, the new Inspire Mini. It uses the same innovations included in the Color Force Series, with an angle of 65°, and it is dedicated to use in low roof environments. Its power marks 3010 lumens, and it offers very good management of whites at different color temperatures. The new Color Force are RGBA LED modules in 3 versions: Color Force 48/72 with 192/288 LED (10W each), with separate area management and up to 33 DMX channels, Color Force 12 similar to the larger model but more compact, with 2 areas and 48 LEDs and Color Force Compact, even smaller (about half the Color Force 12) with 28 LEDs in just 21cm of length.

The Studio Force LED bars are dedicated to the whites, with calibration at 3200K and 5600K; they can generate 20,000 lumens in the “D” version and 28,000 lumens in the “V” version, and are available in different sizes: 48/72, 12 and compact.

Finally, the Ultra Bright Daylight LED Moving Light, that uses the same technology as the Studio Force Series, and works at 6500k with an output of 16,430 lumens.



Clay Paky
As usual, the 100% Made in Italy company brought 3 inportant innovations to Frankfurt.

The first, launched on the social networks the first day of the tradeshow, is the Super Sharpy. An improvement of the previous version, with a 470 watt lamp (compared to the 190 W of the standard Sharpy), CMY colour mixing, 27 gobos, a frost unit and 4 times “more light” than the Sharpy. The body, called “Prima Series”, is the first of a new line that will substitute the old Alphas. This projector will definitely confirm the success of its predecessor, thanks to its very tight and dense beam, that will give a great touch to events where open space allows the light beam to be at its best in terms of power and beauty.

Second, the Stormy, a LED strobo with 5.700k CT and 80,000 lumens, able to emulate the behaviour of a xenon lamp. It will also be presented in a RGBW able to reach 40,000 lumens.

Third, new members of the B-Eye Series, becoming more and more used in various top level productions and is getting positive feedback from lighting designers. Without any doubts, the B-Eye has started a new dimension in pro lighting, with its innovative management of the LED sources.

The 2 new versions are: a new K10, with rotation effect (not present in the first version) and the K10 CC, a very simplified version without rotation of the lenses and without single-pixel control. Perfect for use in TV shows, it offers a 4°-60° zoom and very precise colour temperature management.


After introducing the Infinity Spot L last year, with a 1000 W lamp, CMY color mixing, performing zoom, very nice morphing effects and a new digital ballast (with PFC) with diagnostics, 2 gobo wheels, rotating prisms, narrow and dynamic iris effect, proportional frost effect and CCT control – this year Coemar introduced the Wash/Beam version.

Infinity Wash L has a 1000 W lamp, with proportional 4°-41° zoom. Four degrees that allow the unit to behave like a beam light.

It also includes 3 rotating prisms, CMY colour mixing, CTO filter, a 6-gobo wheel and very fast movements.



D.T.S. introduced the very interesting WONDER, an innovative LED Wall Washer, featuring double optics: the unit includes two concentric and independent optic groups, each with linear motorized “long-throw” zoom from 3.5° to 52° for the first group, and from 8° to 52° as regards the second one.

Besides, the LED block consists of 48 RGBW LEDs divided into 4 areas, independently controllable as far as output, color and effects are concerned.

The Italian company also presented the NICK NRG 501 LED moving head, with new generation optics and an interesting light output/power requests ratio.



ETC had a great number of products on show, and in particular the new Cobalt 10 console, the little sister of Cobalt 20, showed last year at PLASA. Cobalt 10 offers the same direct syntax for “on-the-fly” operations as it larger sister, but in a smaller frame, which makes it perfect for use in venues with limited space.

The Source Four family has undergone an evolution, reaching “Series 2”, with improvements in the patented x7 Color System, new colour combinations and greater output than the first series. At ETC’s stand, visitors were able to appreciate the differences between conventional spotlights with 750 watt lamp and the new V2 using LEDs. The difference is really great, and I’m saying this for those who (like me) thought that LED technology could not beat the performance of a traditional ETC projector in terms of light output.

Further surprise: the new ETC Source Four Mini LED, a sort of miniature ETC (just 23 cm in length) available both with 14W LEDs and halogen lamp, perfect for exhibitions and to light small particulars.



Highlite introduced the new Infinity Series consisting in Wash, Spot and Beam projectors.

Infinity iW-1915 includes 10 x 15W RGBW LEDs, can generate 36,600 Lux at 2mt and has a 7°-15° zoom. Infinity iS-200 is a spot projector mounting a series of 200W LEDs generating 78,100 Lux at 1mt with 17° projection angle. Infinity iB-5R is a beam with 230W lamp and 3° projection angle, with 8-facet prism and zoom.

These products include a backup battery that lets the unit work even without electrical power.



The German company gained good feedback on its new Sparx 7 and Variscan P8, and some curiosity from the “theatre guys” for the A8 and A12 LED fixtures.

Sparx 7 includes 19 x 15W RGBW LEDs, it’s very compact but can generate interesting effects thanks to its 4°-40° zoom and a high efficiency lens system. It offers a separate CTC channel from colour mixing, which works pretty well thanks to the very short distance between LEDs.

Variscan P8 is a spot projector with 21 RGB LEDs requiring 800W, with 2 gobo wheels for a total of 14 rotating gobos, 4-facet rotating prism, frost, and 17° – 32° zoom. CTC is again managed separately.


Link introduced some innovations aiming at making signal management easier. As regards Power Links, the handles have been modified to make operations “handier”, some restyling characterizes the cable insertion area, with the new M40 system that expands the range of cables that can be used.

Another important piece of news is the inclusion of a lock system in LKS connectors and the presence of a dedicated ring for fast connector unblock. The new Gigabit Connectors were also on show, that allow to transport 2 CAT6 signals and 2 power feeds.



Martin by Harman
MAC Quantum Profile is a profile LED projector with interesting features in terms of performance, weight and dimensions. It includes both CMY mixing and a colour wheel, fixed and rotating gobo wheel, 12°-34° zoom, RDM ready and a total of 430 W.

The VC-Grids and VC-Strips family welcomes new elements designed to satisfy user requests in terms of pixel pitch. These “Creative LED Videos” are now available with 15, 25, 30 and 60 mm pixel pitch.

Martin ShowDesigner 6 has had a major upgrade since the launch of version 5 in 2007. This update includes a totally revised user interface aimed at increasing effectiveness and workflow: the LD can insert any element (truss, projectors and textures) in the new 3D multi-viewer with a simple drag-and-drop technique and get instant results.



Music & Lights
With the strength of a sales increment of 35%, Music & Lights brought lots of innovations to Frankfurt. First of all, two compact beams, Unico and Prime, with 189 W and 132 W respectively , with 3° and 3,8° projection angles. A wash projector was also on show, called Reflexs, composed of 7 x 10W RGBW LEDs generating 1,600lm.

Another interesting product is the Cromapix LED matrix, colour version of Halupix. Its special 6° optics can project graphics and writings and the distance between LEDs makes it possible to distinguish the single beams. These matrixes include 25 x 10W high efficiency LED and measure 50×50 cm. They are light and compact and can be managed and configured in different ways, from DMX control to Artnet with 3,5,6,10,100 or 105 channels.



I had the chance to appreciate the new QuickShow software, very simple and intuitive, which now includes about 2000 cues, effects and animations ready for use, allows the creation of abstract frames also via live control, so as to be able to manage dimensions, rotations, positions and speed in real time. It is compatible with various graphic formats and includes some important functions such as a timeline, automatic or tap-sync tempo chasing and a preview of changes. During a chat with Alberto Kellner of Laser Entertainment I had the opportunity to learn the needs and importance of post-sale education, which should always be activated by distributors according to the CEI 825-1 and 3 indications of the European Union.



Weren’t we talking about lighting? That’s true, many people didn’t notice it, but our colleagues and fellow-adventurers of Integration Mag did… the new SOFFA lighting console, characterized by a simple design, with a tablet acting as a monitor. We watched a quick demo, where we realized that it has nothing to envy compared with more renowned console manufacturers.

It manages 4 universes, with 2 dmx and artnet outputs and can contain 2048 cues. It offers 12 faders for 99 pages and a grand master. Two tablets can be used, one connected to the console and a second one for remote control via integrated Wi-Fi.

It needs to be tested ‘on the road’, but we think it may prove a practical and compact solution for small-mid scale productions.


RedLighting invested on details and design, with products totally manufactured and tested in Italy. The new LWZ7 and LWB7 are both LED projectors with motorized optics and a nice heathly dissipation system, that allows the company to manufacture performing, light and compact products. These projectors feature infinite rotation and wireless capabilities. LWB7 is a beam projector with 5° angle, whereas LWZ7E is a wash light with 10°-60° beam. Both mount 7 x 15W LEDs.

LS450 is a LED spot light mounting a 410W “chip on board”. It can be considered a 4-in-1 product with typical spot features, 15 rotating and fixed gobos, variable 10°-40° zoom and motorized iris from 5% to 100%.

On the “classical” front, the company introduced BS1, a beam projector with 2° angle, characterized by small dimensions and light weight, with a particular lens able to increase the power of the light beam. It offers infinite pan and tilt rotation, 4 DMX modalities, colour wheel and 17 gobos.



The Czech company celebrated its 20 years of activity showing a lot of new products.

LEDBeam 1000 is a LED fixture that can be used both as a beam and a wash light, with proprietary optics with 4-60° zoom, full beam control and super-fast pan/tilt movements.

CycFX 4 includes the functions of CycFX 8 in a smaller format; it can be hung or ground stacked, and it includes 4 independent LEDs, 8-67° zoom and super-fast movements.

PARFect 100 is based on the renowned LEDBeam 100 technologies, using 12 x 15W RGBW LEDs, with a 7° beam angle and optional diffusors to widen the beam to 10, 20 and 45°.

Actor 3, 6 and 12 were re-launched at Prolight & Sound 2014 with new electronics, allowing a smoother dimming curve than the previous generation.

Liteware is the “off the chart” product by Robe. It is a new brand acquired by Robe that introduced a fixture that can be used both as an uplighter and a satellite that can be controlled via wireless. It can be powered by means of a gel battery pack, granting autonomy of 14 hours and it consumes 80 W in 2 LEDs. It is available with 15°, 24° or 32° lenses.


The famous ex-Italian company, now in good Danish hands, still showed the water-resistance features of the G-Spot, already presented during last year’s show, and introduced some new versions of the Q7 line, featuring 110° beam angle, IP65 rating and both DMX and RDM management. Q-7 W expresses 60,000 lumens thanks to a 1000 Cool White LED at 5,700k, with 4 distinct areas, whereas Q-7 offers a 2000 RGBW LED at 5,700k.

The company also introduced an evolution of the P-5 series with P-5 TW, perfect for TV shows, and able to produce white in various temperatures (2400, 3200, 4000, 5500 K). It consists of 44 x 10W LEDs and lenses with 15°, 21° and 43° angles. It can be managed via DMX or RDM.



We had a nice meeting with Tomas Nell, Export Manager of the company, and we got some interesting info for those who have products that can be converted to LEDs by simply changing some parts of the projectors.

The centre of the booth was occupied by the new asymmetric backdrop projector, Domino LED CYC with its sophisticated optics and RGB LEDs for 300W, that allows an even illumination of a 6×7 m surface at 1.5m from the backdrop.

We also “spotted” an interesting theatrical LED line, consisting of the 250W RGBW Follow Spot LED, a 600W Fresnell LED using the same body of the traditional halogen Vario 25, and the 250W RGBW Spotlight Profiled that can be compared with a 2000W halgen projector, offring great power and excellent general performance.


The company was at Frankfurt with its new Infinity Series featuring infinite pan/tilt movements and including DMH-75 Infinity LED Spot, (115W, 72W White LED e 13°-18° zoom), EYE-7 Infinity LED Moving-Head Beam (110W, 7 x 10W QCL LEDs and 7° beam angle) and PLB-130 Infinity Beam Moving-Head (175W, 132W lamp, 3° beam angle). All of them will be on sale at very competitive prices.

Rather interesting was the ACCU Series, consisting of 4 models with IP44 rating, which makes them ideal for outdoor use, with 8W and 10W QCL LEDs, and some models including a backup battery (8 hours).



Studio Due
City Colors are still evolving, with 3 new models. City Color LED RGBW/FC, a classical for covering large surfaces, able to produce 40,000 lumens and also used in theatres, TV, tours and festivals. Compared with the “traditional” City Color by Studio Due, they require 1/3 current, their weight is about 1/3 of the previous series and offer a 65° beam angle, while being smaller.

Easy Color 12RGBWFC is battery-powered, with an autonomy of 10-14 hours, according to use. It includes 12 x 6W LEDs with 35mm lenses for a 20° beam, and IP66 rating.

Last but not least, City Beam 24RGBW/FC, with 24 x 12W RGBW LEDs and a 5° beam angle, designed to reach incredible heights that cannot be reached by other Studio Due products. 45mm lenses with wider upper beam angle are also available.



Vari-Lite was at Frankfurt with its new VL 4000 Spot moving head projector, the first of a new generation of products designed to increase the creative opportunities of lighting designers without making compromises. The unit includes all the tools needed to create dynamic and creative light designs, and it features low noise operations, high light output and high precision optics.



“Mmmmmm… Maybe not!”

Let’s sum it up guys… we didn’t like some things, and you know, we wouldn’t want to receive denials and non-objective negative feedback, but we are tech people, we collect information every day, on the road, and we hope that any criticisms we make will be considered as a “boost” and not just sterile judgment with no aims.

Each company “keeps to its own domain” and this is normal when we talk about marketing and sales, but we believe that adding a bit of personal honesty would me more consistent, without hiding behind false promises.

Not al the products reach the same performance, or have equally good optics, building materials, assistance network, all of them extremely important parameters that make a successful product… and an expert user knows this and takes it into account.

Lighting can be considered a form of art, but it is made with technical instruments that must meet specific criteria as regards user-friendliness, reliability, functionality and safety. Each manufacturer chooses a segment of the market, there are small runabouts and big sports cars, and we feel like praising those companies that, always with humbleness, didn’t try to sell us a Fiat 500 at the price of a Ferrari Testarossa.

There is not a single market segment, therefore it is correct to see different products aimed at different users. Some of these products are not manufactured in the company’s homeland, and this can be a way to reduce manufacturing costs, so it would be nice if this information was not kept secret, and we appreciate those who don’t feel ashamed to state where their products are coming from, without any mystification.

Oh! Don’t forget to have a look at the rest of the ZioGiorgio network!

That’s all folks, see you next year!


Walter Lutzu
Alberto Maria Trabucco
Alex Panella

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