Lighting designer Paul Collison was one of the first in Australia to get his hands on the Martin MAC Ultra Performance, an extremely bright moving light that features benchmark output across the zoom range, a true next-generation framing system, higher definition optics and astoundingly low noise levels.
“I saw the first demo units and decided to give them a run on Fashion Week,” explained PC. “As a long-time fan of the MAC Encore, the MAC Ultra was like the holy grail for me!”
As much as PC loves the MAC Encore, he found that occasionally their light output was not enough for larger environments.
“The MAC Ultra gives us the headroom whilst maintaining quality which was great,” he commented. “It wasn’t until six months later I was doing some shows in the Middle East and used MAC Ultras as more of a flash and trash light, as a moving light.”
PC added that he has a lot of respect for the MAC Ultra as a versatile fixture. Initially, he considered them as a bright key light but soon discovered that they are an exceptionally good, versatile light.
“I’d use them in almost any situation,” PC said. “When they became more readily available in Australia, they were a natural go-to fixture, particularly for an event like The Aria Awards.”
This year’s event was held at the home of rock and roll in Sydney, The Hordern Pavilion. The stage areas played to a 45-degree angle which was unusual for the space. The traditional front truss locations were not ideal for broadcast, so the key light positions were from the other side of the room.
“It was a particularly long throw and I was a bit nervous the Encores weren’t going to make it,” PC revealed. “So we switched them out for MAC Utras (the fixture pushes an incredible 46,500 lumens in projection) which I’m really glad we did. Even though we weren’t running them at their full capacity, they gave us the headroom we needed and also provided a bit of texture and movement for some of the performances when they weren’t being directly used as a key light.”
A total of sixteen MAC Ultras, supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems, were used as key lights in three areas; two performance stages and a presentation stage. PC admits that he can be quite picky about light when it’s used to light people’s faces for the camera.
“Sometimes, obsessively so!” he laughed. “From the moment I started playing with the MAC Ultra, it went straight to the top of my list. It’s all about truly rendering colours to represent skin pigmentation accurately, which is of course paramount on television. The MAC Ultras do a spectacular job of that, just like their little cousins the Encores.”
PC remarks that the standout features of the MAC Ultra are the quality of the light and the brightness.
“Add the fact it has a shutter system, decent gobos, 1:7 zoom range and a variation of an animation wheel in there means it is fully stocked in terms of features,” he said.
The MAC Ultra Performance is perfect for a wide range of concert and touring productions but is equally applicable for noise-sensitive broadcast and theatre stage lighting applications.