Color-changing LED luminaires are a fact of life in today's lighting industry, but intelligent lights require intelligent control. When time and money are tight, the results aren't always pretty; small venues around the world have experienced a rash of purplish light, poor color rendering and garish transitions. Since 2014, ETC's ColorSource family of products has fought back against this epidemic of bad LED lighting by providing affordable, high-quality luminaires and effortless power control. Now, with the announcement of the new ColorSource and ColorSource AV consoles, the family is poised to really take control of the issue - one venue at a time.
Learn on the spot Approachability is key for a small console; many venues are staffed by students, volunteers or visiting artists, and operators need to be able to walk up to a board, learn it quickly and bring up great lighting looks. "The ColorSource console is a simple machine, not a simplistic machine," says Adam Bennette, the R&D technical director involved in the desks' development. Each ColorSource console boasts a sleek design and hands-on control, with an onboard, seven-inch touchscreen and 20 or 40 pageable faders that can control 40 or 80 channels or devices. The touchscreen interface brings color-selection, record, and other commonly-used functions to the forefront, while a wealth of deeper features can be accessed using the intuitive menu system. If first-time users get lost, they can quickly find their way again with built-in, multilingual help functions and video tutorials.
The consoles are designed to make setup a breeze. ColorSource consoles streamline the patching process by doing most of the work. The consoles offer comprehensive RDM (remote device management) support - a unique feature among small desks. When a console powers on, it immediately identifies any intelligent lights in the rig and populates their profiles in Patch. Within minutes of setup, the fixtures can be assigned to channels using the touchscreen and dragged into position on the onscreen stage map for easy direct-selection and programming.
Every venue in its best light When it comes to color, the console thinks like a lighting designer. "Fading color with ColorSource consoles works just as if you had two gelled tungsten lights and faded from one to the other," explains Bennette. "It sounds basic, but many LED lighting systems these days can't do a reasonable fade from, say, pink to sky blue without passing by some ghastly shades on the way." Unlike other small lighting consoles that operate in a limited range of colors, ColorSource desks support the color-mixing systems of all mainstream fixtures, including the extended gamut of ETC's seven-color Source Four® LED and Desire® luminaires. ColorSource consoles' touchscreen interfaces include swatches of preprogrammed, attractive colors and a color wheel for quick, full-spectrum selection, so a tight tech schedule won't get in the way of good lighting.
Full-show control with ColorSource AV consoles While all ColorSource desks provide excellent control of effects, cues, moving lights and LED color, the AV models go where no ETC board has gone before: providing integrated audiovisual playback. "It was important to us to incorporate new artistic tools," says Bennette, explaining that small-scale show control increasingly involves much more than just lighting. "Even scenic projection is entering the mainstream, down to very modest productions."
The AV consoles connect directly to monitors, projectors, networks and sound systems and are able to store and play back still images and sound effects as part of the cue stack or live fader control. The consoles also boast the innovative Video Toy, which allows users to manipulate real-time projection effects through the touchscreen. With the addition of the downloadable Amigo wireless remote app, a ColorSource AV console can provide for all the control needs of a small production - and free up a lot of space in the control booth.
All in the family The ColorSource product family was founded on the principle that everyone deserves good and effortless LED lighting. The family comes with ETC's guarantee of service and quality at a price point that is accessible to a wider range of users. The ColorSource® PAR and ColorSource Spot luminaires use RGB-Lime emitter arrays to produce high-quality, vivid colors and bright white light. The portable ColorSource™ Relay serves as a power-control bridge between the console and the fixtures, wirelessly transmitting DMX signals. In 230-volt markets, ColorSource ThruPower makes any venue LED-ready, providing dimmed or switched power on a circuit-by-circuit basis. With the addition of the consoles, the ColorSource family becomes a full-fledged system, ensuring that - when it comes to modern lighting - no one is left in the dark.