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2024 Moving Light Madness: Bracket Breakdown

Welcome to Moving Light Madness, where the stage is set for an epic showdown of luminary proportions.

Forget the hardwood courts of March Madness; we're here to celebrate the brilliance of 64 top-tier moving lights, all vying for the coveted title of ultimate fixture. Divided into four sections mirroring March Madness regions, spot & profile, wash, beam, and strobe and bar fixtures duke it out daily, with fans casting their votes to illuminate their favorites.

From seasoned veterans to fresh-faced newcomers, each fixture brings its own unique flair to the stage. But only one can emerge victorious! So join us as we dissect and debate the standout features of each fixture in the bracket.

This year our online Bracket Breakdown and Weekly Recaps are sponsored by the North American Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference powered by ESTANATEAC is a quadrennial opportunity to discuss growing trends and shifts in the thoughtful building of our art spaces. Registration just opened and you can find out more here.

Spot & Profile Bracket

This year's Spot & Profile Bracket is stacked with heavy hitting workhorse fixtures.

We start with taking a look at last years Final 4 candidate from the Spot & Profile bracket.

Martin Professional MAC Ultra Performance

Last year's Final Four candidate, the Martin Professional MAC Ultra Performance is a standout in the LED moving head market primarily due to three core features. It has an extremely high light output, rated at 46,500 lumens, which makes it suitable for large-scale events and venues. The fixture incorporates a sophisticated Extended Framing System, allowing for precise light shaping and control, which is beneficial in theatrical and detailed lighting designs. Additionally, its cooling system is engineered for ultra-quiet operation, making the unit ideal for use in theaters and TV studios where noise can be problematic. It's an all around workhorse fixture packed with a complete color and effects toolkit.

-- the remaining fixtures are listed alphabetically --

Ayrton Domino Profile

The Ayrton Domino Profile is a high-output LED moving head profile designed for both intensive outdoor and indoor applications. Leveraging the same advanced optics as the Huracán Profile, the Domino Profile achieves an impressive light output exceeding 50,000 lumens, ensuring brilliant illumination and high-definition image reproduction over a zoom range of 6° to 60°. It incorporates a precise and versatile framing system, allowing for accurate shaping and positioning of light. And its IP65 rating ensures the Domino Profile can perform under extreme conditions such as heavy rain, dust, and high temperatures.

Ayrton Huracan Profile

The Ayrton Huracán Profile stands out with its impressive output of 51,000 lumens, powered by a high-efficiency 1000W LED engine. It features a rich array of effects including gobos and effect cassettes, which allow for the creation of all sorts of different looks. The fixture is also equipped with dual rotating prisms, a variable frost system, and a framing system for beam control. In addition to its optics and effects, the Huracán Profile is designed with an advanced liquid cooling system, ensuring the fixture operates efficiently.

Chauvet Professional Maverick Force 3 Profile

The Chauvet Professional Maverick Force 3 Profile is a LED moving head combining quick movement and fast effects, boasting an impressive output of over 40,000 lumens. The fixture features precision optics for depth capture, a CMY + CTO color mixing system for vibrant colors, and maintains a flat field of focus across its zoom range. It's equipped with advanced effects tools, including two gobo wheels and animation effects, making it versatile for various shows.

Claypaky Arolla HP

The Claypaky Arolla HP is a high-performance LED profile spotlight designed with particular emphasis on compactness without compromising on power. Despite its reduced size, making it one of the most compact fixtures in its class, the Arolla HP boasts a high-wattage 1200-Watt LED engine, delivering an impressive output of up to 52,000 lumens. This makes it an ideal choice for venues looking to maximize brightness while conserving space. Alongside its size and power, the fixture features advanced cooling systems, versatile framing capabilities, and a rich color mixing palette, positioning it as a top contender for professional lighting applications requiring high output and precision in a compact form.

Claypaky Sharpy X Frame

The Claypaky Sharpy X Frame is a multifunctional luminaire that extends the award-winning SHARPY series, offering a blend of performance and versatility in a compact design. It features a 550-Watt arc lamp known for its brightness and the ability to produce deep, vivid colors, including an exceptional deep red. Designed as a hybrid fixture, the Sharpy X Frame serves as a beam, spot, profile, or wash light, equipped with a comprehensive set of features including a four-focal plane shutter system, rotating and static gobo wheels, rotating prisms, linear frost, and an advanced color system with CMY, CTO, and a separate color wheel. The fixture offers an extensive zoom range, ensuring sharp images and collimated beams across a wide variety of applications. This makes the Sharpy X Frame a versatile solution for creating dynamic visual effects in any setting.

Elation Professional Proteus Maximus

The Elation Professional Proteus Maximus is a high-intensity IP65-rated LED Profile fixture, designed for versatile outdoor applications. It emits up to 50,000 lumens from a 950W 6,500K LED engine, making it suitable for environments requiring high output. With its broad zoom range of 5.5° to 55° and a large 180mm front lens, the Proteus Maximus excels in delivering bright and powerful beams, ideal for outdoor concerts, special events, theme parks, and cruise ships, ensuring high performance and reliability in any weather condition. The fixture is equipped with a wide array of effects including 6 rotating and 7 fixed glass gobos, a full animation wheel, dual prisms, dual frost, and a high-speed iris, alongside an indexable framing system for exact beam shaping.

High End Systems Halcyon from ETC

The High End Systems Halcyon by Electronic Theatre Controls is a range of automated framing luminaires designed for various applications from short to extremely long throw distances, available in three model. Platinum, the highest caliber fixture outputs 55,000 lumens, with a boost mode up to 75,000 lumens. These fixtures feature advanced color mixing, comprehensive framing capabilities, a wide selection of patterns and effects, and ETC's patented Whisper Home technology for quiet and precise operation. The Halcyon series offers functionality and versatility for professional lighting setups in theaters, opera houses, and rental operations.

ETC Hyperstar

The ETC High End Systems Hyperstar adds to the Lonestar series with its compact design and versatile capabilities. This compact, cost-effective fixture stands out with its bright white LED engine, delivering an impressive output of 15,400 lumens and featuring a comprehensive zoom range of 3.8° to 50°. Unlike its predecessor, the Hyperstar removes framing modules, increasing flexibility in pattern and effect utilization. It comes equipped with advanced features such as CMY color mixing, electronic linear eCTO for precise color temperature adjustments, and an array of effect tools including dual prisms, nine rotating and eleven fixed gobos, complemented by an animation wheel.

ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal

In the high-stakes world of theatrical lighting, where the bright and the beautiful vie for the spotlight, the ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal stands out—not as the new kid on the block, but as the seasoned veteran whose swagger hasn't faded. Picture this: amidst a sea of flashy, modern fixtures, all boasting the latest tech and shiny gizmos, there sits the Source Four, the beloved granddaddy of stage lighting. It’s like bringing a classic muscle car to a modern electric car show; it may not have all the newfangled features, but it turns heads with its timeless design and undeniable charm.

The Source Four is the Mick Jagger of lights: a bit vintage, but with a performance that still outshines many up-and-comers. It's that one fixture that, despite its age, can throw a beam with the best of them, making it the unsung hero of the lighting world. It’s like your favorite pair of jeans: sure, there are newer ones out there, but none fit quite as well. With its unparalleled focus, efficiency, and that signature theatrical glow, the Source Four continues to hold its own, proving that sometimes, old school is still the best school. So here's to the Source Four: not just a fixture, but a legend, continuing to rock stages worldwide with its classic flair in a modern era.

Martin Professional ERA 700 Performance IP

The Martin Professional ERA 700 Performance IP is an LED-based profile light designed for outdoor use, featuring robust construction and an IP66 rating for weather resistance. It offers advanced lighting features like CMYC color mixing, dual gobo wheels, and a full curtain framing system, tailored for dynamic outdoor lighting designs. The fixture is compact, making it suitable for various installation and rental markets, and includes innovative features for secure and versatile outdoor applications.

Martin Professional Viper

The Martin Professional Viper, a stalwart in the moving light arena, blends classic charm with enduring performance. Despite newer models flooding the market, the Viper remains a go-to for its reliability, crisp optics, and punchy output, proving that like a fine wine, some fixtures just get better with age. In the dynamic world of stage lighting, where the latest isn't always the greatest, the Viper's continued presence is a testament to its lasting appeal and quality, making it the "old-timer" that still packs a punch!

Robe Lighting iFORTE®

The Robe Lighting iFORTE® is the most powerful fixture in the Robe iSeries, featuring an IP65 rating for outdoor use without the usual weight increase, being only 1.5 kg heavier than its indoor counterpart. It maintains the same size, form, and performance as the indoor FORTE®, allowing for seamless integration into existing setups. The fixture is designed for easy maintenance with a user-friendly ingress protection system that permits on-site gobo changes and routine tasks without special tools. It includes an active RAINS™ system for internal moisture control, a Self Pressure Test for ensuring sealed integrity, and robust construction with magnesium alloy covers to protect against the elements and reduce maintenance needs. The iFORTE® also features innovative technologies like POLAR+™ for cold weather operation, NFC for mobile access to diagnostics, and advanced lighting features like CMY color mixing, Plano4™ framing, dual gobo wheels, and special coatings to maintain clarity and performance in harsh outdoor conditions.

Vari*Lite VL3500

The Vari-Lite VL3500 Profile stands as a classic in the realm of moving lights, this theatrical workhorse pranced onto the stage as one of the first all-in-one lighting virtuosos, flaunting a color mixing system that could make even the most seasoned lighting designer weep with joy.  In a world constantly chasing the next big thing, the VL3500 stands proud, a testament to the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," proving that sometimes, familiarity really does breed content, not contempt. Its enduring charm lies not just in its once-groundbreaking brightness but in the comfort and predictability it offers to lighting designers who have danced with it through countless shows.

Vari*Lite VL3600 Profile IP

The Vari*Lite VL3600 Profile IP is a large-scale profile luminaire equipped with a 180mm front lens, delivering an output of 45,000 lumens. It features an IP65 rating for outdoor use while maintaining a market-leading size-to-weight ratio akin to a 1000W IP20 fixture. The luminaire offers advanced color mixing capabilities through its CMY+CTO system, ensuring uniform color across the lens, beneficial for on-stage or camera applications. The VL*FX animation wheel system offers three distinct animation effects wheels, enabling users to produce dynamic projected and mid-air visuals either as standalone effects or in combination with gobos and prisms for layered lighting designs. The VTrack Calibration System ensures minimal movement during calibration, enhancing safety and setup efficiency.

Volux Lighting Statite 1000

The Volux Lighting Statite 1000 emerges as the new kid on the block in the realm of LED profile moving heads, boasting an impressive 50,000 lumens output. This fixture is tailored for large stages, designed to excel as a robust backlight with comprehensive color and effect capabilities. Despite its default 70 CRI LED, which may affect the quality of white light, Volux provides an optional high CRI engine upgrade for enhanced front wash applications. The Statite 1000 stands out with its extensive features: vibrant color mixing, crisp projection, advanced framing system, and a suite of effects including an animation wheel, dual gobo wheels, and dual prisms. This makes it a versatile tool for designers seeking powerful output and nuanced control in their lighting arrays.

Wash Bracket

The wash bracket this year is one of the most competitive.

Robe Lighting Spiider

The Robe Lighting Spiider was last years wash fixture representative in the 4Wall Final Four. The classic "pancake wash" type fixture features 18 RGBW LEDs and one central 60W RGBW LED. The center LED can be used as beam light, or aerial effects with the Spiiders unique MCFE™ – Multi-Coloured Flower Effects. That extra oomf has led many to depend on the Spiider as a workhorse wash fixture over the years.

-- the remaining fixtures are listed alphabetically --

1000W Parcan w/ a loose bolt

The Par Can, a legendary fixture in the lighting world, stands as a timeless contender in Moving Light Madness. And a loose bolt technically makes it a light that moves. Its classic design and reliability have illuminated countless stages, setting the standard for simplicity and effectiveness in lighting technology. Who hasnt used a parcan before? Unlike newer, more complex fixtures, the Par Can delivers straightforward, powerful lighting without the need for intricate programming or setup. Its rugged durability and ease of use have made it a favorite among technicians and designers for decades. In a world constantly chasing the latest technology, the Par Can reminds us that sometimes, the original is hard to beat.