The Human Touch…

People make great followspot operators: able to watch the show, anticipate where the performer is going next, moving with them smoothly, precisely, accurately.

The best spot ops have always done better than attempts to automate or computerise the process.

Spotrack changes all that…

Now one operator, located wherever is convenient, uses a mouse or touchscreen on a display fed by a full-stage view camera to follow a performer around the stage – and one, two, four, anything up to twenty moving lights follow that performer.

It’s easier. It’s safer. And it opens up a whole new world of lighting possibilities…

…Meets The Computer Age

Moving lights can do amazing things in show lighting – but they’ve never been very good at just following performers as they move freely around the stage.

Spotrack changes all that.

Using a patented 3D tracking system, Spotrack takes the target the human operator is pointing to on-screen and works out how to direct up to twenty moving lights to light that spot – to light the moving performer. The operator does the following; Spotrack does the rest – the best of both worlds. The performer need do nothing different – no beltpacks to be worn, no sensors to be positioned or calibrated.

But Spotrack doesn’t live alone: it becomes part of the lighting rig, handed control of any or all of its twenty lights when they are to be used as followspots, returning control to the lighting console when they have other uses in the show. Or Spotrack can take control of the position while the console keeps charge of colour, shape, size, even intensity.

And if you need to follow more than one person at the same time, or more than twenty lights? Just add another Spotrack system. Easy.

How Does It Work?

Spotrack consists of a video camera, a computer and a DMX interface. The camera is positioned to give a view of the full stage, and the image from the camera is positioned on the computer screen. DMX from the console is fed in to Spotrack, then out to the lights.

The moving lights and Spotrack are calibrated so that Spotrack knows where they are relative to the stage – each light is calibrated by focusing it to just two points, making this process quick and easy. There are no sensors, beltpacks, transmitters or receivers to set up, to calibrate, or for the performers to wear. Spotrack can work with any type of moving light – though it works best with lights that can move quickly, so they can keep up!

For each light, Spotrack has a control channel that governs whether the light is under the control of the lighting console, or under Spotrack’s control – use one light as a followspot while the rest do something else, or have twenty lights following the performer.

When under Spotrack’s control, the system works out where the operator is pointing to on the computer screen, and in real time calculates the pan-tilt values to aim the lights under its control to that target, constantly updating these values as the target moves. In short, it makes the moving lights into followspots – though with colour, size and other parameters still under the control of the lighting console, freeing the spot op to concentrate on what they do best – following. Plus the operator can be positioned anywhere – they can be safely and comfortably on the ground while controlling lights on that impossible-to-get-to backlight bar.

Spotrack is a modular system: need to follow more than one person at the same time? Just add another Spotrack system and you have up to twenty more followspots.

Other Uses

Spotrack was designed and is in regular use as a followspotting system.

But since it makes it easy to focus the lights anywhere by just clicking at that point on screen, it’s also a great focusing tools: point the lights at the target, then grab those pan/tilt values back into your console – a speedy, efficient way of updating moving light focuses.