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Lighting products I'm excited about

The Vari-Lite VL4000 spot

I saw a demo of these last month at Soundcheck, and was impressed, if not blown away by the light. Vari-Lite has decided not to release a 1500-watt version, claiming they can get nearly the same output from a 1200-watt lamp and improved optics. That’s cool, we’ll see how long they keep that tack, because it seems their MO the past few years has been to release higher-wattage versions of their lights to keep up with demand for increased brightness.

The color mix system is a departure for VL, they’re going with a Martin-style flag system instead of the wheel system they’ve been favoring the past several generations. These flags move all the way out of the beam when the mix for a particular color is at 0%, presumably to squeeze every last lumen possible out of the system. I didn’t see any obvious artifacts from the insertion of the glass flags, but the angle that the light was at did not lend itself to seeing the evenness of the color in the beam, though it’s VL so I have no doubt that it’s good. It’s definitely snappier than the wheel system from the 3000 series lights.

There was a nice selection of aerial and breakup gobos, and one colored gobo, red with white circles, somewhat reminiscent of the famous “Gatlin” gobo from HES. The light also has framing shutters, and VL has made the slightly unusual move of not making a version without them, so all the 4000-series spots (so far) have framing shutters, which is nice. The gobo wheel doesn’t move between positions with great speed; I really wish the incredibly fast speed from the 2000 series would come back some day, maybe VL will release an update in the future for that.

The Martin Quantum Profile

It was only a matter of time until one of the “Big Three” (Martin, Clay-Paky, and Vari-Lite) made a hard-edge fixture with an LED source. Companies have done this before with mixed results (The Robe DLX, the GLP Spot One) so it will be very interesting to see the approach that Martin takes. They’re very big on having their lights calibrated and sporting very nice, very clean whites straight out of the factory. I anticipate this will be a hit at LDI, which I’ll be at in November.

The Clay-Paky Mystery Fixture

I have very little information on this one, but a secret source claims that Clay-Paky has taken the optical train of a SuperSharpy and given it a zoom and some other cool features to make a fixture that will directly compete with the Robe Pointe (which I think is one of the coolest new lights out there today).

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