This year is feeling rushed, and I learned why. The show floor in the past has been 9-6, and this year it is 10-5. The sessions are also 9-5, so there is a lot more juggling that needs to happen to see what needs to be seen, which is much more stressful than I thought it would be. Friday I attended a wonderful talk titled: Conversations with Richard Pilbrow and Tony Walton, highlighting their careers, their work together, and promoting their latest publications; it was great fun to hear their stories. Richard Pilbrow’s book “A Theatre Project” is out now, and is 468 pages of yummy goodness (a review will follow at some point once I absorb the 468 pages). Richard Pilbrow had a book signing Friday from 4-5, but there is another chance Saturday from 2-3 for folks who missed it or who are here only for the day. For more information on the book itself, visit his site here: A Theatre Project. An interactive e-book will also be available before the end of the year. Look for the Designs of Tony Walton to be out from USITT at their conference in March.
Next was the show floor; and what an overwhelming glowing floor it is. A couple nuggets stood out: first was the Grip Lock booth, which have been around but are new to me (and seemingly also new to the group around me). They sell a series of self-locking and “fully adjustable cable suspension” devices. A plunger at the top releases the mechanism to enable it to slide up and down the aircraft cable to the desired location. Let it go and it locks in place. Put weight on the device and the plunger at the top is disabled so that it cannot be depressed. Nifty pieces that I’m planning to use in our space next time we have the need.
SeaChanger has added an HMI fixture to their line, putting out a lovely 24,000 lumens. In all of their fixtures they’ve updated the color change speed to less than 0.5 seconds, quite impressive. (And of course, their ducks, which this year are blue). Altman’s new Phoenix fixture is creating a buzz around the floor; similar in style to the Source Four fixtures, this line features a full 360 degree rotating barrel, locking gel slot, double clutch on all units, zero light leak and a completely cool lamp cap (which makes the fixture piping hot between the cap and the shutters, don’t put your hand there like this person did). It also has quite a nifty feature in locking shutters. Just in front of the clutches are little handles that press against the shutter assembly and hold them in place. Nice!
Rounding out the day was a visit to the ETC Lounge, where it is jazzed up with a 60’s vibe, the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and a visit to the back room where the Source Four LED is on display. Starting first with a demonstration of the 7 color mixing systems to get the group a little more jazzed up, we learned that there is a color shift mode that can be enabled to match the amber shift of a tungsten fixture, and got to see that demonstrated with multiple color matches. Then we proceeded to the next room. The sighs, aahs and twitters in there indicate that this will be well received when released. It will be available in three models: the 7 color mixing Lustr+, a tungsten only, and a daylight white. If you get a chance to get your name on the list (visit the lounge for inquiry) definitely take them up on it. It is hard to do a comparison of LED spotlights due to how they are constructed to achieve their color mixing, and measuring lumens is of course tricky with LED’s but within the room the viewers get to see a variety of manufacturers LED spotlight products and decide for themselves what they enjoy best. The Source Four LED fixtures have the ability to create a sharp edge, or a soft edge; color matching to gel in a standard Source Four is demonstrated and is visually “spot on.” In our group, a lovely shade of magenta from a 575w fixture was metering at a mere 26 or so watts. Like all LED spotlights that are being introduced, gobos can be printed on an inkjet printer. The weight will come in around the same as a standard Source Four. Look for them in the first quarter of 2012 at a list price around $2500.
On to another jam packed day!