Tripping the light

LED display technology is revolutionising the stage set design and outdoor digital display markets.
Delivery & Transmission
George Michael's recent Wembley performance boasted an amazing LED stage set featuring Barco's MiSTRIP modules.
George Michael's recent Wembley performance boasted an amazing LED stage set featuring Barco's MiSTRIP modules.


S&S takes a look at some of the best new technologies to hit the market in recent months.

Ayrton Light

French company Ayrton Light has jumped into the LED display presentation market with the DreamPanel, a 50cm x 50cm modular video-tile designed for floor and wall installations.

DreamPanel's internal structure is specifically designed to sustain heavy loads and shocks received directly to the tile.

The panel features a 170ƒ angle image-diffusion-system and a resolution allowing displays up to 25m x 18m spread over a total of 450 square metres.

Each panel boasts an impressive 16.7 million colours and 14-bit colour control. The control system can also operate each individual tile as a portion of the standard-video screen.

Software facilities include remote control tile configuration via an infrared system and geometrical screen configuration via an included digital DC-1232 video controller.

The company also recently launched what it claims is the industry's first professional LED moving-head fixture.

The EasyColor fixture boasts 18 high-power LEDs with a claimed 10-year life span (providing more than 100,000 hours continuous use). Ayrton claims the fixture boasts very low IR emissions and the latest moving-head features, making it ideal for architectural lighting, theatre, TV studio and major staging applications.

Middle East distributor: Ayrton Light Europe.


One of the leading developers of large-scale LED displays for live events and touring applications, Barco's most innovative product to date is undoubtedly its flexible MiSTRIP LED module, which has recently featured prominently in concert stage set designs for the likes of George Michael and Lost Prophets.

The modules boast a high pixel density of 13.25mm, a wide symmetrical viewing angle and short minimum viewing distances thanks to 3-in-1 RGB LEDs, while true 15-bit processing and LED level calibration are designed to ensure consistent colour and brightness.

Barco claims an IP65 protection rating and consistent operating temperature range enable outdoor usage in most weather conditions.

The latest addition to the company's SLite range of outdoor LED display products is the 10 XP.

With its 10mm resolution, ultra-high bright 5,500 Nit output, and rugged IP65 rating, Barco claims the SLite 10 XP is the perfect product for a variety of outdoor AV display applications.

The 10 XP boasts a new shader design, which Barco claims ensures vastly improved black levels. It also features advanced 14-bit processing and a refresh rate of 2000hz as well as new LED level (XP) calibration, which delivers strong colour depth and uniformity across the entire surface of the display.

The modular design of the 10 XP allows it to be configured in multiple units for large-scale installations at live outdoor concert events.


Barco will officially launch its new DML-1200 digital moving luminaire in Q2.

The company claims the fixture will feature both a super-bright moving digital light source and high quality video projector. The fixture boasts a range of features including an on-board media player, which allows both static and animated objects to be created and projected.

The DML-1200 also employs both video and lighting protocols, including DMX512, allowing it to be driven directly from any lighting desk.

Barco claims that in light mode, the DML-1200 produces a beam with a light output equivalent to that of a 1200w hard-edged moving light and four times as bright as any other digital light available on the market.

An internal optical dimming mechanism ensures smooth, accurate intensity control from 0 to 100% ensuring that a fade to black is a fade to true black, not video black (grey).

In video mode, the DML-1200 features a fully sealed DLP engine which delivers full colour DLP-quality video with SXGA+ (1400 x 1050 pixel) resolution. The projection feature boasts a light output of 10,000 lumens.

The DML-1200 also features a subtractive CMY colour mixing system allowing for instant colour changes as well as smooth, timed colour cross-fades.

The DML-1200's internal DMD engine is fitted with liquid cooling to ensure reliable operation.

Middle East distributor: Barco Middle East.

Element Labs

One of the more innovative developers of LED presentation technology, Element Labs has found significant success with its Helix range of flexible LED video screens.

Helix products can bend, wrap, drape, and fold to conform to even the most challenging designs. The latest additions to the range are the Helix G75 and Helix H75, which offer a pixel pitch of 75mm and carry significant IP ratings.

Helix G75's ultra-thin grid construction provides the flexibility of a curtain-like screen with the geometric stability of a rigid product. Modules, each four pixels wide by 32 pixels long, can link together to create large displays. Helix G75's weather-resistant design (IP 65) makes it suitable for both interior and exterior applications.

Helix H75 is daylight visible and fully submersible, making it an ideal solution for challenging projects. With an IP rating of 68, the system can withstand high temperatures and prolonged ultra-violet exposure. Helix H75 incorporates individually-lensed red, green, and blue LEDs to deliver high brightness. Users can connect multiple modules for large-scale applications. The company's Versa Tube product range has also found favour with stage lighting designers, including Patrick Woodroffe, who has leveraged the technology to great effect in the set design for The Police's current world tour.

Each Versa Tube contains a row of pixels composed of red, green, and blue LEDs. By using live video signal for control, Versa Tube delivers a dynamic palette for every effect from vibrant patterns to organic flows. A special diffusing lens ensures smooth light output and durability.

Versa Tube works by mapping pixels from a computer monitor directly to the pixels in the tube. Any video source or graphics program-such as Photoshop or Flash-can create effects. Images displayed on a PC desktop can be replicated on the Versa Tube installation.

Middle East distributor: Element Labs UK.


Lighthouse Technologies

Hong Kong-based Lighthouse Technologies has emerged as one of Asia's most high-profile LED display technology developers in recent years.

The company's R16i/o-II 16mm LED screen, which was launched last January, sold more than 1,000 units worldwide in the three months following its release.

Dubai-based equipment rental company Gearhouse Staging Connections purchased a total of 200 sqm of the R16i/o-II 16mm units at last year's PALME Middle East exhibition in an order worth US$5m.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, the R16i/o-II boasts a 16mm pixel pitch, 5000 Nits of brightness and high contrast level, as well as Lighthouse's proprietary M4 colour uniformity technology, which the company claims delivers stunning image quality.

Middle East distributor: Lighthouse Technologies Asia Pacific.

Martin Professional

Industry stalwart Martin Professional plans to increase its presence in the LED display sector following the recent resolution of a patent conflict with transparent LED screen manufacturer G-LEC Europe.

The companies subsequently signed a licensing agreement that will enable Martin to use G-LEC's LED patents and utility models covering Martin's LC 2140 and the LC 1140 LED video screens.

Martin and G-LEC also agreed to cooperate on the development of next-generation technologies based on both companies' existing LED video display products. The LC series boasts a range of features including semi-transparent design; 40mm pixel pitch (seamless image at about 30m); 1800 NITs brightness (cd/m2); a Genlock feature for preventing light-flicker in TV applications; Daisy-chain set-up with DVI-D connection (up to 6 modules per link); and a simple, familiar assembly in truss mount format.

Each unit can also be hung up to a height of 14 metres.

The company also recently expanded its range of LED luminaires with the release of the Stagebar 54, which is designed primarily as a pixel bar for displaying imagery and video or as a wash luminaire for floodlighting surfaces and stages.

With five coloured diodes (red, green, blue, amber and white), instead of the usual three, the luminaire provides a greater degree of flexibility and consistency in terms of control.

Martin claims that each pixel board is measured and calibrated before it leaves the factory, guaranteeing standardised brightness and colour performance.

In order to ensure the best possible lumen performance, on-demand fans monitor and regulate cooling.

Martin claims this increases the lifespan of the diodes, while still maintaining acoustic levels to benefit TV or sound-sensitive applications.

Each Stagebar unit boasts direct power and DMX inputs; loop-through power and data links providing for daisy chaining of multiple fixtures; and a battery-powered control menu.

Middle East distributor: Martin Professional Middle East.

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