August 2011 Issue
Product Spotlight

Moving the Moving Light with Parasol Systems

Parasol SystemsWhen we talk about moving a light, two things instantly pop into our heads. The first is getting up on a ladder and physically moving a light either to a new position or to focus it differently on stage. The second is a moving light that can remotely pan and tilt. The latter, of course, is easier, as it can be done from a desk. A new player to the field wants you to add a third dimension of moving a light — remotely moving the physical location of the light fixture itself as it relates to the stage or field.

The idea for this kind of motion builds on what we have already seen with systems that can physically move a light or camera suspended from wires. Think, for example, of the stadium cam that the NFL uses to give TV viewers the vantage point of the player.

Moving Lights In Motion

What started of as a concept in 1994 at the LDI Show in Reno, NV slowly developed in to a patented product in 2004. Now, Parasol Advanced Systems is taking the concept of a moving light in motion to the next level. A Parasol System enables a designer to move an otherwise static moving light along a pre-defined pathway on a track system, and to store positions or choreograph movements. The lights are wirelessly controlled by a lighting desk control while moving, while held in a stationary position aboard the Parasol carts.

At the time of this writing, a separate control system is required to operate the Parasol System. It was developed in conjunction with motion control specialist, Niscon Inc. out of Toronto, Canada.

Parasol’s patented technology allows moving lights, lasers, cameras almost anything to be fixed to moveable carts that glide the lights along a predefined guide way or track. The carts are self-propelled, motorized vehicles (ParaCarts) that are controlled by wireless technology developed in conjunction with Niscon Inc. The tracks can be any shape that is appropriate for the event, concert or structure.

Parasol Advanced Lighting Systems Inc. is a Canadian company based in Vancouver, BC. Incorporated in July 2006, partners Hermann Fruhm, the inventor and co-founder, and Randy Krochak, co-founder and COO, set out to design and build the first-ever Parasol System as illustrated in Fruhm’s Patent.

During the summer of 2010, Parasol tested its first sellable, street-ready system in Sulphur Springs, TX at Xtreme Structures and Fabrication’s truss-making facility. The event was a culmination of a product development effort representing a significant investment by investors, the input of dozens of industry professionals and thousands of hours of sweat equity by the company’s founders, Fruhm and Krochak.

Parasol systems has partnered with Xtreme Structures to fabricate the tracks that make up the Parasol system. The track systems are entirely scalable and can be categorized into three series: L Series (large) is suited for outdoor theme parks and special events with carts designed to support fixtures weighing up to 450 lbs. The M Series (medium) is for indoor theatrical productions, concerts and musical events, with carts for fixtures weighing 80 to 120 lbs. The S Series (small) is for discos, dance clubs, showrooms, cabarets and cruise ship theatres, with cards for fixtures weighing less than 80 lbs.

Parasol currently offers three fundamental track configurations; straight, curved and circular. Custom-designed track systems and configurations are also available, and can be scaled to any size and length that might be needed or desired.

The ParaCarts — the moving components of the system — are designed for a wide array of mounting options for fixtures or devices. Each ParaCart is also able to supply up to 30 amp service for those devices.

Regardless of what the ParaCarts are supporting, they are designed to be able to move along the track system at rates up to 48 inches per second. On a closed-loop track system, the ParaCarts can continue to travel around the loop indefinitely.

The Parasol System has already begun making its way into the production world. The system has recently used on season finale of American Idol and the recent world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in Disneyland. Both events utilized Syncrolite SXB7/3s.

As of July 1, Parasol Systems brought on Brooks Taylor as chief technical officer (CTO). Taylor, an Emmy award winner in motion control systems, was also one of the original designers of the first Vari-lite moving light fixture. “Brooks has come on board to help define Parasol Systems and to advance motion control in ways not seen in the live event world,” says co-founder Hermann Fruhm.

The Parasol System is available in predefined systems starting with 100 feet of track, four ParaCarts and control for either rental or for installation. Custom systems are available and can be designed to a customer’s specification.

For more information about Parasol Advanced Systems, go to www.parasolsystems.net,

or to the company’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/parasolsystems.


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