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Tools: What’s New, What’s Next?

Michael S. Eddy • November 2021Stage Directions • November 2, 2021

New and noteworthy products for theater

As this is the time of year when many new products are introduced to the industry we rounded up some of the new products debuting for the theater market. We also have included some recent products that might have gotten overlooked during the pandemic. As we head into 2022 we look forward to the full return to live theater as well as covering the many creative ways that all of these products will be used to bring productions to the stage.

Arri: Orbiter

Changeable optics is the core innovation in the Orbiter from Arri. With a wide variety of optics to choose from, Orbiter transforms into the perfect light for your application without sacrificing beam, output, or color quality. The open face optics produce a high-output, directional beam of light in several different beam angles including 15º, 30º, and 60º. Perfect for throwing light long distances or providing a broad swath of light. The high-quality projection optics contain high-end lenses that provide even illumination and color across the entire beam field for superior results. The fixed beam angles available are 15º, 25º, 35º (wider angles may be added in the future). The zoom projection optics allow for flexibility in all kinds of applications. The Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) in Orbiter allows for optics with vastly different properties to be connected to the fixture. The Orbiter uses the ARRI Spectra six-color light engine including red, green, blue, amber, cyan, and lime LEDs. That translates into a wider color gamut, more accurate colors, and most importantly, higher color rendition across the entire CCT range.


Blizzard Lighting: UVonix™ Blackstar

When it comes to pulling off amazing UV effects, theatrical designers have always struggled with imperfect solutions and limited options. Today’s modern LED options aren’t much better than the old fluorescent tubes or ballasted fixtures. Many of the LED units try to pass off anything with a deep purple color as “UV” that still doesn’t provide the true 365nm wavelength necessary to achieve stunning effects on stage. Options which do offer true UV are out of budget for most theaters, and still have issues reducing the output of visible light, which can have disastrous effects on even the most perfectly designed sets, costumes, props, and choreographed dances. Solve these problems with UVonix™ Blackstar, with true 365nm light from 12 x 10W LEDs. Perfectly tuned for maximum performance for all UV paints and dyes, Blackstar brings life to dazzling, eye-popping UV effects at every show. Its implementation of longwave UV bandpass filters, a modern advancement on the Woods’ glass filter, enables the fixture to outperform even the most powerful conventional UV lights currently on the market. The 30° beam angle and included barndoors ensure optimum coverage plus light shaping, while adjustable LED refresh rates (900Hz – 25KHz) and four dimming curves provide smooth, flicker-free operation.

CHS 2482 Egyptian Palace

Charles H Stewart: New and Updated Drops

Drop rental company, Charles H Stewart has been busy creating a wide range of new drop designs as well as freshening up their existing drop inventory. Be sure to go to their website to see all the new designs. CHS has added several new abstract designs, including #2539 Blue Squares. Many of these abstract designs will take light beautifully and look great on camera.

CHS 2539 Blue Squares

With the range of colors, you can get from LED luminaires, you can take advantage of that broad color spectrum to change up the look of backdrops quickly and easily. CHS also prides itself on the details in all their backdrops. One of the newer backdrops that has garnered a lot of interest for its details is #2482 Egyptian Palace. With the hieroglyphics, faces and the cat guardian statues, it is a drop that will transport your audience. As will all of CHS drops with their wonderful use of rich and vibrant colors to bring each scene to life.

CHAUVET: Ovation Rêve E-3 Ellipsoidal

The Ovation Rêve E-3 fuses the best of both worlds into one totally reimagined LED light source. Crafted to perfection, Ovation Rêve features the brightest, multi-color LED light engine capable of producing both deep, saturated colors, AND completely tunable whites. Theatrical lighting designers can seamlessly transition from captivating a wide range of saturated colors in class-leading output to distinct whites with +/- green adjustments using ONE fixture. Its Color Temperature presets range from 2,800K to 8,000K, and maintains outstanding brightness and a high quality of light throughout. An emulated ‘red shift’ feature also exists for a tungsten feel. Ovation Rêve E-3 features several dimming curves, a virtually silent operation with fan-off modes, and a series of technician-friendly features such as an innovative, adjustable yoke that makes mounting in low clearance situations a breeze. No ifs, or buts. Simply and categorically unrivaLED for theater.

Elation: KL PAR FC™

Elation’s designers have taken modern technology and paired it with classic design to create the new KL PAR FC™, a full-color LED PAR light ideal for any production requiring outstanding color quality. The KL PAR FC is a highly effective key, fill, and area wash light source. Exceptionally bright output, precise color temperature control, full spectrum color rendering and even wash coverage—all in a traditional PAR form factor—make it an excellent choice for today’s fast-paced theatre environments. The KL PAR FC houses a highly efficient 280W RGBMA LED engine with CCT adjustments possible from 2,400K – 8,500K for precise color temperature control. The full-spectrum LED engine emits beautifully diffused saturates and soft-field pastels, including tunable white light. Output is up to 11,000 field lumens—equivalent to existing 750W tungsten PAR fixtures. The unit comes with a number of useful features like a 7.5” color frame and multiple included lens choices (11°, 22°, 30°, 52°) that are easy to replace. Optional items include 7.5” barndoors, an extra-wide 90° lens, and a 23° ovalizer lens.

ETC/High End Systems: SolaFrame Studio

The SolaFrame Studio automated luminaire is a fanless, convection-cooled fixture that prioritizes high quality features, spectral output, and silent operation. It was designed with theaters, concert halls, and opera houses in mind. It uses a 300W High CRI Bright White engine to produce 10,000 lumens. SolaFrame Studio is packed with features including a high quality 13-lens optic system with patented Lens Defogger, 5.5° – 57° zoom, CMY / CTO-Linear color mixing system, seven position plus open replaceable color wheel, full-curtain framing system for total control of beam shaping, 16-blade iris for extremely tight beam effects, light diffusion with additional, optional heavy diffusion, seven position plus open rotating gobo wheel, and linear prism for controlled pattern replication across a stage.

GLP: impression FR10 Bar

With a new optical system, the linear format impression FR10 Bar uses a larger size output aperture than the X4 Bar giving a new look to the familiar style. It contains 10 sources, each containing a 60W RGBW LED that color matches the entire impression X4 and FR series. Each source features independent control with smooth, full range color mixing with a homogenized Fresnel lens. You can control the zoom lens for each of the 10 sources individually and independently with a 10:1 ratio zoom range of 3.7° to 35°. The FR10 Bar features consistent pixel spacing between fixtures when using multiples connected together, along with 16-bit movement through a tilt range of 210°. The FR10 can be rigged in any orientation and has in built rubber feet for floor mounting. Built in safety attachments, base handles, and a tilt lock for transportation are all standard, along with a battery-controlled menu system for easy fixture setup at any time.

©Wenger Corporation, 555 Park Drive, Owatonna, MN 55060,, PA, Performing Arts, JRC, JR Clancy, J.R. Clancy, Vantis Pendent Controller

J.R. Clancy: Vantis™ Pendant Controller

The J.R. Clancy Vantis Pendant Controller lets you control position and movement of scenery sets, drapery, and other overhead hoists while standing right on stage. The Vantis comes with a 30-foot cord enabling the operator to see the objects that are being moved overhead and offers simple control of up to eight machines—including up to six targets per machine; four are user recordable. The 3.5”color touchscreen is intuitive to navigate and provides real-time feedback on hoist or other machine types. With variable speed control of a single machine, you can create theatrical effects. Programming targets, configuring load sensing, and adjusting speed is incredibly simple with the touchscreen. It’s safe to operate with password protection—multiple pin logins for multiple users and permissions—an illuminated hold-to-run “Go” button, and an integrated E-Stop ensures safe and easy operation of travelers and overhead hoists.

Lectrosonics: DSQD Digital Receiver

The DSQD Half Rack Digital Receiver, with analog and digital outputs combines extremely compact dimensions (4 channels in ½ RU) with Dante digital audio over IP connectivity. It uses Lectrosonics signature digital architecture with remarkable audio quality and ultra-low latency. Designed for use with the latest Lectrosonics digital transmitters, the DSQD is also backward-compatible with the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless® transmitters including the theatrical-production friendly SSM micro bodypack unit. The receiver includes an extended operating range rivaling the best analog and Digital Hybrid Wireless® systems with continuously tunable tracking filters covering 470.100 – 614.375 MHz. The DSQD can be run independently or connected to the Lectrosonics Wireless Designer frequency coordination and system management software for larger installations.

Pathway Connectivity: eLink Lighting Protocol Router

The eLink is a PoE-enabled router designed for entertainment lighting. This product has multiple functions within a theater application. It can allow legacy and modern lighting equipment to communicate, by translating lighting protocols. It can translate insecure protocols into Pathway Secure sACN. It allows a lighting network to connect to building-wide networks while keeping the lighting network secure, and the building network streamlined. The eLink is also ideal for use in a theater as it allows special event equipment rentals to interact with the lighting system in a manageable way.

Strand: Acclaim LED Series

For over 25 years, the name Acclaim set the standard worldwide for 500W/650W theatrical luminaires. Drawing on over a hundred years of theatrical lighting expertise, the Strand Acclaim LED Series is designed to give maximum performance for small to mid-sized theatrical stages and studio spaces. From perfectly controlled stage washes to dramatic highlights, this complete range of theatrical luminaires is ideally suited for educational theater spaces, community stages, and small houses of worship. For a consistent, high-quality experience throughout the range, the Acclaim LED Series uses a custom LED multi-spectral light source, offering exceptional output and full color mixing packaged into a family of compact theatrical luminaires in a choice of body colors. With a full range of theatrical luminaires, including a true theatrical Fresnel, the Acclaim LED Series offers a complete solution for smaller theatrical spaces.

Tyler Truss Systems: Tyler GT® Truss

Tyler Truss Systems has introduced its new line of Green Truss (GT®) and accessories. GT Truss is a pre-rig truss that’s been designed with the end-user in mind. GT Truss comes with a set of wheels and accessories so you can load up the GT Truss and keep cases at home. Once you’re at your destination, roll it off the truck and mount it into place. The wheels mount to the top of the truss for storage during the gig. This means you will have less truck weight and require less truck space; all reducing fuel consumption. By achieving higher density truck packs means there will be fewer trucks on the road. The range of GT Truss accessories includes Lift Assist; Leg Cart; Mac 3K Spacer; GT® Lift Bar; 4-Way Corner Blocks (both non-load bearing and load bearing as well as corner blocks with legs); 2-Way Sleeve Block; Vertical and Horizontal Corner Hinges; Locking Corner Hinge; and Tyler Link to connect sections of truss.

Wenger: Lieto LED Light Fixture

The Wenger Lieto is an LED light fixture specifically designed for use in Wenger acoustical shells. The three-axis beam positioning provides tool-less pan, tilt, and rotation with front-face adjustments. With a 12,000-lumen output, less Lieto light fixtures can be incorporated into an acoustical shell ceiling design without compromising light levels. The Lieto fixture design utilizes lightweight aluminum and curved ABS design for acoustical shell integration. The shallow mechanical design fully encloses components and includes a powder-coat steel bezel that complements the aesthetics of your acoustical shell. Lieto is now available in White and RGBW to provide brilliant color options on stage.