Submit your e-mail to receive information about Revolution-Tech products and courses
Light-emitting diodes (in short: LED) with a growing impetus storm the stage lighting market. After a simple naświetlaczach, reflectors and the effects of PAR light, it is now time for intelligent devices. The first were practically naświetlaczami with additional motor activity when taking into account their design. Recently, however, we observe the emergence of LEDs, which have much more in common with typical heads, which we have been familiar with so far.
Intelligent LED Lighting
For a long time the key problem was the inadequate performance of the source of light and therefore it was necessary to use the whole matrix with several or several dozen LEDs per color. While such systems work well in the role of floodlights, they failed in the case of displaying the gobo shield designs because of a large area of light sources. Over time, when stronger lights have been developed in the laboratories, this obstacle has been eliminated. Point lighting has cleared the way to manipulate the beam's width (using appropriate optics) and to use the gobo shield of patterns. As result, new mobile devices began to appear on the market, where a gas-discharge lamp has been replaced with a LED source. This allowed to reduce the emission of heat, as well as to mix colors freely. Designers from the Revolution-Tech company in Katowice noticed these benefits and shortly came up with an idea to develop smart devices in unprecedented format.
All good things come in small packages
I can quit frankly admit that I have always associated a movable head with a device that occupies much more space on the surface than a 18cm sided square (!). And this is no mistake - the Trinity heads are tiny and measure only 26cm of height. To further illustrate these dimensions, I will only add that the moving element resembles a small video camera because of its shape and size. Its weight, amounting to 3.5 kilograms, allow to suspend a large number of Trinity heads on a light beam, stretched between two lighting stands. This means a good treat for all those who have got limited transportation capacity. Will it be enough to purchase a sufficient number of Trinity heads to stage lighting shows of which they could so far only dream about? Before attempting to answer this question, let's have a look at the construction of the tested equipment.
Construction and assembly
Trinity is offered in two versions: Spot (for testing a black housing piece has been provided) and Wash (here in white). Lightweight plastic casing of both devices makes their shape almost identical. From the outside, setting aside the color (which can be chosen according to wishes), they are differentiated by the optical system used - Spot has a system of two lenses, whereas Wash is equipped with a "mesh" honeycomb. In order to access the inside all you have to do is unscrew six wrench screws, although in practice such an operation should not be necessary. After all, LEDs have a significantly longer lifespan than the gas-discharge lamps. The light source in both cases is the three-color Lamina (USA) LED with a total capacity of 15W. To be precise, we are actually dealing here with three 5W LEDs, merged in a common casing. In terms of the power of emitted light, such a system can be compared to a 150-watt gas-discharge lamp. Although the amount of heat emitted by the diode is incomparably smaller, yet still it needs to escape somewhere. After all, it is emitted on a relatively small surface area. A radiator assisted with a fan is responsible for this. Elements in the stable part of the head are cooled down in a similar way with the fan fastened to the bottom of the base wall. You will also find rubber elements which prevent the device from sliding along the surface. Setting the device on the ground is only one option of assembly. Its drawback however is insufficient circulation of air due to a small crack between the bottom of the device and the surface. Trinity heads can also be suspended on a beam - the required accessories are attached by the manufacturer as standard equipment, apart from the power and DMX cables. Thanks to its compact size and weight, mounting of the Trinity head on the beam does not cause any problems - this operation can be easily done on your own. The manufacturer did not forget about the possibility of rotating the information shown on the display, so that you can read them regardless of the head setting.
Spot or Wash?
The Spot version features a gobo shield containing nine designs plus one blank (in the shape of a circle). The projection formula is contained in a angle of 13 degrees. According to the manufacturer, the empty space on the shield can be filled out with a photographic plate or a color laser print on the foil. In this way, we can obtain the possibility of displaying such elements as company logos. I must admit that the designs displayed are quite clear, though of course it depends on the lighting conditions in the room (in daylight patterns remain visible, although not very bright). Gobos edges are rather sharp, but blurred a little by the accompanying parasitic glow. This does not change the fact that most people were impressed by the lighting effects of such a small device. The Wash version, on the other hand, provides a blurred light at an angle of 110 degrees. Uniform dispersion of light is provided by a lens typical for this kind of devices. Thanks to a point light, there is no effect of multi-colored shadows - a bane of many colorful LED floodlights. There is a gradation of shade, and therefore we can say that the White Trinity behaves like a typical wash. Of course, to some extent - the diode light will always be perceived as somewhat different from that which comes from the gas-discharge lamp or halogen. To meet the users habits, the manufacturer allowed to select colors in a similar way, which we are accustomed to in the typical moving heads, i.e. on the basis of a color shield, which in this case was created virtually. Among the available range of colors, white occurs in different temperature hues. This allows to illuminate objects in different conditions, e.g. with sun rays shining through the window. Of course, this does not prevent us from taking advantage of the LED technology benefits, which allows to mix the RGB components freely in order to obtain the desired hue. I will go back to the issue of mixing colors in the paragraph devoted to control.
The tested devices communicate with the user using 4-digit LED display and four buttons. The first one (Mode / ESC) allows you to switch between menus, the following two (Up / Down) to navigate between options and the last (Enter) is used to confirm our choice. The fact is that getting around the system requires some practice, but after decoding the messages shown on the display everything becomes simple and obvious. But before that happens, you may want to consult the manual. What can be set using the menu? First of all, the device mode. In the Stand-Alone mode, the Trinity head can play a pre-programmed sequence. This can be done automatically, or according to the music rhythm, based on signals from built-in microphone. The Slave mode, which allows for a simultaneous activity of a number of devices connected with a DMX cable, has also not been forgotten. In this case, the cable should be pointed with 3-PIN XLR plugs to suit the tested heads' sockets. In this mode, one of the devices is on automatic mode, whereas the remaining once perform the same movements. In order to organize the head movement, the angle of its operation may be limited both vertically and horizontally. The Pan (horizontal) movements may be contained in 540, 360 or 180 degrees angles, while the Tilt (vertical) may be contained in 270, 180 or 90 degrees angles. Moreover in some devices, inversion of movement can be performed in one or in the second plane in order to obtain a stunning symmetry. Both functions relate to both the automatic mode, as well as control mode via DMX-512 protocol.
Remote Control Spot Trinity head is carried out using 5 or 13 DMX channels, depending on the mode set. In case of the Wash head, there is no gobo pattern selection, thus the number of channels for each mode is 4 and 12 respectively. In the channel-saving mode, the first two movements correspond with the Pan or Tilt, and the third supports an electronic dimmer and strobe, and the fourth allows you to select a color from the palette established by the manufacturer (the equivalent of shield colors in the traditional heads). As I mentioned earlier, the fifth channel applies only to the Spot head and allows you to select one of the designs contained on the gobo shield. In addition to the static display of patterns, we can move them to the sides to some extent (the effect of rocking). The movement can be fast or slow and rotational as well. Each of these functions corresponds to a specific position in the channel muffler, so even programmed static scenes may contain a bit of momentum. Enhanced control features can be accessed through the 12/13 channel mode. The head location may no longer be roughly set, but requires increased precision (4 channels). We can also influence the speed of its movement (Vector Speed Pan/Tilt). The color mixing feature has also been expanded - in addition to the choice of color from the palette of available colors, we can mix the desired hue with the use of RGB components. If you chose the dynamic change from the color palette, we can also influence its speed of change (Vector Speed Color function). The final function and common to both heads, is the collection of movement sequences (Movement Macros) which consists of 8 automatic programmes and the same number of automatic reactions to music (Sound Active). In case of the Spot head, selection of the gobo shield template takes place the same way as in the 5-channel mode.
Trinity in practice
According to the initial assumptions of designers, Trinity heads are designed for use within buildings - and are devices that are not waterproof. Their use in open space lacks point because of its low power. The manufacturer has designed them with the purpose of working in small, dark clubs and discos, where the light emitted by them will be enough to guarantee the desired effect. Tiny size and low weight encourage to set up a beam with a number of these devices operating synchronously. In some cases this operation will be able to compensate the small power of heads, which light incredibly well considering its capacity. Trinity's head does not belong to the noisy appliances, although the work of two wind turbines excludes the possibility of ensuring absolute silence in a theater. The simple design also excludes the possibility to use a mechanical shutter, which is both advantageous and disadvantageous. LED brightness can be easily adjusted (dimmer function) but the moment when the LEDs are turned on is clear so we can not really obtain a smooth dimming function. Depending on the color and brightness the control systems that administer the diode voltage make sounds which will be eliminated by any background music. This also applies to the sounds of the working engines.
Question about the sustainability
As experience shows, the longest working and probably most efficient solutions are simple solutions. The more complicated the structure is, the greater the risk of failure. It must also be added that, especially in case of complex solutions, reputation of the manufacturer, quality of materials used and experience in manufacturing the type of equipment gain particular importance. Although the Revolution-Tech company is not a market leader in the production of moving heads (it is rather associated with lasers), nonetheless the Trinity is a simple structure. An efficient source of light accompanied by a relatively small amount of heat, allowed for the use of plastic housing and reduction of the radiator size, and thus significantly reduced the weight of the projector. This in turn has prevented the need for complex transmission and V-belts, and as we know, this type of mechanical components are a potential source of failure. Trinity heads’ simple design is supposed to prevent the latter. Revolution-Tech company offers a 2-year warranty, which is quite a long period as for a mobile device.
In the hierarchy of lighting, Trinity belong to an entirely new category of miniature intelligent devices. Even in comparison with the weakest heads built on the basis of typical gas-discharge lamps, the size and weight were drastically reduced. This allows you to take advantage of structures that are lighter and easier to suspend, which significantly simplifies the logistics. It can therefore be assumed that with Trinity, these smart device will be used in places where they have not so far been applied. The price offered by the producer makes them easy to obtain for bands, mobile DJs and cultural centers. Of course, expectations related to this kind of equipment should not be too high and therefore it may not be expected to conquer the local lighting market with this device. Without a doubt we are dealing with a product innovation, in which modern technology has been contained in a compact and practical form. The projector inertia achieved by reduced mass resulted in a high speed and smoothness of operation as well as in satisfactory accuracy of the mini-head. In my opinion, Trinity, following the spirit of time, breaks some stereotypes with regard to dimensions of intelligent lighting devices. For example, if we removed the movable element (projector) from the stem, we would learn how small the size of a stationary illuminating LED could be. Just look at the Trinity Wash optical system to see that decent luminescent device does not have to be the size of a PAR56 wash. I hope that the Revolution-Tech company follows that path and will continue launching more devices based on modern high-power diodes.
From the article:
Muzyka i Technologia (Music and Technology)