After nearly two years in the making, X-Laser debuted its Mercury control system at LDI 2017 in Las Vegas. Read more to learn about the new way to control lasers from a lighting console in the same workflow as moving lights!
Mercury is Laser control for lighting people.
Mercury is X-Laser’s laser projector control system, built completely from the ground up for direct lighting console control. Featuring DMX+RDM, Art-Net, and in the future Streaming ACN (E1.31/E1.33) protocol, Mercury can be used from the lighting console just like any top-brand moving light. With Mercury, laser fixtures can be discovered, profiled, configured, and programmed directly from the lighting console. Mercury is the solution for large laser arrays in a production workflow. The design tools that are already built into professional lighting consoles cooperate with Mercury to allow designers to create looks and effects in minutes, which would take hours to program using conventional laser light show software.
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In 2015, we surveyed many of our clients and prospective clients about what they wanted the future of laser projection to look like. The survey yielded hundreds of great ideas, but the most common core concept was that it’s diffcult to integrate lasers into any lighting rig due to the unique control demands of laser projectors. Since then, we’ve been working to solve that problem.
Everyone in the laser light show industry knows the titans of laser control software, the producers of programs for laser pros who need the ultimate in control and customization. These tools will always be the best for the most critical custom text and graphics, but they aren’t built for the rapid deployment and tight integration that lighting designers, programmers and operators enjoy from today’s lighting consoles.
Computerized lighting consoles have been around for almost 40 years. Consoles have been under constant refinement to offer powerful and efficient ways of creating increasingly complex effects and controlling ever larger and more complicated lighting rigs. Lighting consoles have become incredibly powerful tools and we feel the time is right to bring lasers into that workflow.
Lighting designers and production companies have been hesitant to use laser systems in their lighting rigs because laser systems typically require a separate control station and designated laser operator in the already-crowded FOH booth.
With Mercury, X-Laser has found a way for LDs and event producers to quickly, reliably and easily integrate laser effects into their shows alongside traditional moving light fixtures – all with the same lighting console they’re already accustomed to using.
VIDEO: Check out a detailed introductory demo of using a Mercury-equipped laser fixture from an Avolites console:
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What LDs are saying about Mercury:
“When I come at it from a pure Lighting Designer’s perspective and not a pure Laserist or hybrid perspective, this is EXACTLY what I wanted from a DMX/Artnet laser device. Artnet/RDM/DMX built in and work out of the box. The device features a small LCD screen GUI with a smooth interface, multiple control modes, ease of setup, and the hardware itself is rock solid.
(Pictured: photos of X-Laser Mercury-equipped projectors in action at LDI 2017, controlled using Avolites consoles.)
Mercury key design features (click to view full resolution):
Mercury feature/fixture comparison (click to view full resolution):
Q: “Which projector is Mercury?”
A: Mercury isn’t a projector – it’s an integrated control system that goes into X-Laser projectors, allowing custom DMX control without a computer.
Q: “Does Mercury work with grandMA, Jands Vista, Hog, ChamSys, and other pro lighting consoles?”
A: Yes! Currently, we have fixture profiles built and ready for Avolites, grandMA, Hog, ETC, Martin, Jands Vista, ChamSys and more! Find our console profile database here.
Q: “What kind of pattern manipulators are built into the Mercury control system?
A: Mercury allows for up to four fully independent pattern builders per fixture. Mercury also functions with the powerful effect engines already built into professional lighting consoles, as a way to quickly create coordinated effects across large arrays of fixtures (lasers and conventional). The built-in modifiers inside Mercury include:
– Two stages of size, position and rotation control
– Dual wave modulators
– Dual effect systems
– Variable-geometry prism manipulation
– Color effects over the entire pattern or parts of the pattern
– Free-form mesh for zone correction
– Color, wave and effect controls at various positions in the sequence for a vast range of looks
Q: “How many DMX personalities/channels does Mercury include?
A: Currently, Mercury has around 80 DMX channels set for basic single-pattern control, which can expand up to 300+ channels for multi-pattern control.
Q: “Can projectors equipped with Mercury do audience scanning?”
A: Not with the standard model, but it is an additional option that can be equipped for around $2,500 per projector. Orders for audience scanning systems with Mercury are accepted on a case-by-case basis after a review of the project.
Q: “When will Mercury be ready?”
A: Lead time on Mercury-equipped projectors is approximately 2-4 weeks, after receipt of payment.
Q: How/why can I integrate laser fixtures equipped with Mercury into my lighting array(s)?
A: Lasers have capabilities that complement traditional moving light fixtures, and vice versa, such as:
– Moving lights are brighter, but lasers have much higher contrast in output
– Moving lights can illuminate areas, but lasers have farther reach
– Moving lights have wider range of motion, but lasers can move faster and do so instantly
– Moving lights have a handful of fixed gobos, but lasers can produce hundreds of different patterns and can be customized
– Lasers can produce color effects within a pattern/gobo
– Lasers can produce multiple patterns simultaneously