Today I had the chance to test one of the most innovative products I’ve met since my experience with lights began, 18 years ago.
It’s called Ayrton DreamPanel Twin. Molpass, the Italian distributor, which I thank, kindly loaned me one to test it.
It is a motorized moving head, composed of a rotating fork and a panel.
The most striking feature of the panel is its dual functionality: LED lighting matrix on one side and LED display panel on the other.
You can find the complete technical features on Ayrton website; here I list those that are truly exclusive:
- 8×8 RGB LED beam with narrow beam (6 °)
- LED pitch panel 6mm pixel brightness 3500 nit (total 64×64 pixels)
- Infinite PAN
- Infinite TILT
These features open up a scenario of unprecedented creativity: try to imagine the extraordinary things that can be achieved by using this device in a setup like the following:
Obviously we are not talking about anything fundamental, but simply about an additional props that allows new and special effects.
PAN and TILT without end are the dream of any Lighting Designer, meaning that the headlight can rotate infinitely.
Indeed, I would say that they realize a personal fulfillment for the Lighting Designer, who finally breaks the limit that has always been imposed on him by the common moving heads on the market.The lighting part is comparable to an evolution of the Chromlec Jarag, which I find extremely interesting.To show you an example of good use of Chromlec Jarag I’ll show you some photos of the result I got when, during a Diesel fashion show, I installed 64 devices like that.
This kind of lights guarantees a spectacular rendering when used within a single layout.
In other words, the creative concept consists of installing them so that they create a sort of screen, so as to create coherent and coordinated drawings. That’s just what I did on that occasion with my GrandMA 1.
This functionality can be achieved with different lighting consoles (I still use the MA Lighting series) or through media servers.
In the GrandMA console this function is called Bitmap Effect.
The work of creating the layout, to be honest, is not within the reach of any technician: it requires design skills, as well as a certain ability to program the console. We don’t talk about anything impossible, you just need to know what to do and have some time at your disposal.
As for the video part, we go instead into a more difficult territory because it’s true that what is needed for the lighting effect can be totally controlled by a lighting console, or be fed to a media server, for the video part there is no alternative solution: it takes a media server.
Obviously, the moment we start talking about video and media servers, the rule that we should not forget is always the same: CONTENT IS KING.
The most spectacular and innovative technical concepts can be used, but from the moment your technology is based on an image, it goes without saying that, if you don’t have a beautiful image, all your effort will translate into a very low perceived value .
The necessary skills, therefore, change a lot. We are moving from lights to video. Two worlds that, in everyday “service life” are often rivals, aren’t thoroughly understood and usually find it difficult to collaborate.
When this happens it is really pity because, in reality, they are both part of the same magical world: lighting.
“So then, Marcello, what do I have to do to make the best use of these innovative devices?”
Let’s analyze the situation together, starting with the necessary skills:
- Sense of beauty and coherence with the current show (Creative Director)
- Image Vision (Director)
- Lighting vision (Lighting Designer)
- Technical coordination (Stage Designer)
- Production of video content (Video Maker)
- Lights programming (Console Operator)
- Video programming (Media Server Operator)
To date, I don’t know a person who is able to perform by himself or herself all these tasks in the best possible way. I can say of myself that I know how to manage the most technical aspects on my own, which is already something, but not enough. The most creative and content part is missing. Those who must first understand the potential of this instrument are those who think of creativity: Creative Director, Lighting Designer and Director. If they have clear ideas about the effect they want to achieve, then for the technicians it is only a matter of performing; but it’s almost never that simple! There is indeed the need on an effective communication and an intention to team work for everyone. Which financially translates into one thing: work hours.
In fact, although this moving head has the potential to create innovative and unique shows, it is equally true that it requires an important coordination between those who think the image and those who put it into practice. Rarely this tool, if just given into the hands of a lighting programmer, can be 100% exploited: nothing is impossible, mind you, I myself am capable of it, but precisely for this reason I am aware of how much time and effort it takes to acquire a baggage technician combined with a creative sensibility. Moreover, I would certainly not deal with it alone, but I would go to select among my collaborators people with the capacity to produce a show appropriate to the budget that this tool requires.
Instead, in the scenario where you have a good Lighting Designer, who can also think about the part of video content, consider that he will need a technical consultant at his side to help him manage all the complex control apparatus that this device needs.
I leave you with this short video I produced while I was testing the moving head.
Obviously, as a curious technician, I experimented with all the “joints” and the possible combinations, and then I replicated the video that runs on the LED panel on the lights, passing it through the console. In this way, the control of the lighting side can be managed both by the media server – and therefore coordinated with the video part – and by the console – and therefore work like any other motorized light.