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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Automated Instruments
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Automated Instruments

Self-contained automated lighting instruments that provide such features as color changing, pattern changing, panning and tilting, and strobing are available. These are the most complicated instruments available, and involve a considerable number of technologies. There are literally dozens of different designs of automated lights from as many companies. Much competition exists between these companies, making copyright infringement lawsuits commonplace.

One of the most common designs involves aiming a focused light at mirror that pans and tilts. The optics involved in focusing the light are similar to those in an ellipsoidal instrument, but can vary greatly. Often wheels are inserted at the focal point of the optical system, allowing for color or pattern changes. A computer control system coordinates all of the functions of the instrument, allowing the instrument to be run by remote control.

A pair of High End Systems TrackSpots (tm) are used at WPI on a regular basis. These instruments are of the type described above, offering remote control of the position of the spotlight as well as color, pattern, strobe, and dimming. Figure 5.8 shows a TrackSpot, and Appendix Q provides specific information about setting up these instruments.

It should be noted that, though automated instruments have been available for quite some time, some trepidation exists among lighting designers. Many do not trust the technologies and prefer to stick with traditional lighting. Others claim that the effects produced with automated instruments are tacky and lacking in professionalism. However, many shows have taken advantage of the convenience and wide array of effects that automated instruments offer with a great deal of success. It is left to the discretion of the reader as to what conclusions to draw about automated instruments.

Figure 5.8: The TrackSpot, produced by High End Systems, an example of an automated lighting instrument.

next up previous contents index
Next: Color Up: Lighting Instruments Previous: Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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