Robe PixePATT Review: Pixel-Mapping Goes RetroApril 16, 2018
Robe PixelPATT Review
Reproduction of historical design in our modern-era is nothing new especially when it comes to decor. From furniture to hardware, and even antique stage lighting is commonly restored/reproduced for decorative purposes.
The design is not only just for looks but it’s also functional to an extent. For restored and reproduced stage lighting fixtures, in most cases you will find these fixtures restored to their original beauty but repurposed with the consumer grade Edison-style filament bulb to give the look but not serve the purpose we could use on stage.
For Robe, that wasn’t the case. Robe followed the retro-trend and made the choice to reproduce a common design of antique stage lighting fixtures by introducing the PicklePATT and PATT 2013. A polished aluminum, retro-style static lighting fixture featuring a genuine tungsten bulb. Giving designers to have an old-school light that delivers aesthetic value in theatrical and entertainment environments that give absolutely stunning nostalgic looks.
Now with LED’s becoming the norm, even the old-school filament bulb has gotten the LED treatment. Just like that Edison bulb, the line of retro style lighting fixtures from Robe also got the LED lamp where Robe released the PATT 2017 featuring 7 30W multi-colored LED’s that allow a user to mix and match colors to reflect off its large unique reflector. Robe didn’t stop there by just replacing the tungsten bulb with LED, but rather took advantage everything LED has to offer today, including pixel mapping. This spiked the release of the Robe PixelPATT.
What It Offers
The Robe PixelPATT keeps the retro-style design we’ve come to admire from antique fixtures and other PATT models, but modernized to its fullest potential. Rather than using one large reflector with a cluster of LED’s in the center found in the PATT 2017, the PixelPATT uses 7 smaller reflectors with RGBW LED’s uniquely separated to better support pixel mapping in a slimmer, light-weight design. Still keeping the same great aesthetics and unique looks of the PATT family but with the added benefit of pixel mapping and other unique effects available in multi-led fixtures.
The PixelPATT uses 7 30-watt RGBW LED chips, each housed in 200 millimeter highly reflective, aluminum gold-brown coated parabolic reflectors with a signature aluminium mesh in the front. Each LED driver is covered by a spherical-like diffuser to evenly distribute the light throughout each reflector. Even at its brightest output, it surprisingly still gives the unique halo type dispersion of light found in the center of the reflector like its larger tungsten counterparts.
The PixelPATT offers a wealth of onboard features and effects for both pixel mapping and for use as a static light in various different types of environments where the light needs to look good whether it’s on or off. Each LED pixel offers individual control through multiple protocol personalities along with great onboard pixel effects for colors, strobe, patterns and the like. It includes functionality for stand-alone mode but does not support master/slave modes unfortunately. The fixture offers both RBG and CMY color mixing modes with 66 pre-defined colors on a dedicated virtual color wheel channel for easy programming. Users will also find variable CTO control as well as a tungsten effect simulator and variable strobe from 0-20hz.
Now the PixelPATT cant just be hooked up to a dimmer like the tungsten-sourced PicklePATT. To maintain its sleek design, the PixelPATT’s driver (the PATTDriver) is actually separate from the fixture itself, making the PixelPATT significantly slimmer than the PicklePATT and PATT 2013.
The PATTDriver houses the onboard menu with LCD display, 3-pin and 5-pin DMX connections, 2 RJ45 ethernet connections for multiple units linking through ArtNet and other addressable protocols, while outputting everything to the pixelPATT unit through one 4-pin data cable. The PATT driver gives the PixelPATT 6 DMX personalities, ArtNet and sACN functionality with MANet support. Unfortunately, only one PATT driver can drive only one PixelPATT unit.
Rigging & Programming
Since the fixture is lightweight, it’s very easy to rig. Even though it’s easy to rig. Adding the PATTdriver separately comes off as an extra set of steps that can add up. Will users see that as a big deal? Probably not. From a personal standpoint, I think these fixtures look great on the optional Tripods, which makes setup extremely easy since the drivers can be ground operated.
Programming this fixture was generally easy, it really depends on what your rig is like and how you want to use the pixelPATT. The onboard effects are great activating on DMX, and the virtual color wheel makes color mixing a breeze as opposed to referring to the manual for DMX value or fine-tuning the colors in the color picker of the console.
Pixel mapping from the console is also easy, some consoles may not respond to the CMY modes well but getting the desired result is easily achievable for the most part. The hexagonal pattern of the diodes make linear pixel patterns sort of odd if you’re trying to use these fixtures in a large cluster with effects extending across multiple pixelPATT’s.
First off, the Robe PixelPATT is extremely lightweight, easy to rig, and easy to get up and running (depending on your pixel mapping programming). Even though it’s lightweight, the build quality is still impeccable. It’s built “just like the way things used to be” compared to some antique fixtures I’ve put my hands on. Using convection cooling, the fixture doesn’t have any fans so there’s no noise, but the fixture does get relatively hot quickly.
The brightness of PixelPATT keeps along the same lines of tungsten output fixtures. It does have a brighter advantage over tungsten lamps for pixel mapping, but it’s not a strobe alternative. It’s not overbearingly bright but still has a great output for a soft touch of light to the environment like a tungsten lamp would. White has the highest output, but blue has the weakest output on the pixelPATT.
Most theatre LD’s have voiced that LED is still quite far away from simulating a true tungsten lamp effect, but on the PixelPATT the tungsten lamp simulator works impressively well. Either way the fixture just looks so damn good doing what it does best, even when it’s off it looks great.
Summing It Up
The Robe PixelPATT delivers pixel mapping with retro aesthetics so well that look great on stage as a decorative piece or a unique pixel mapping piece. The environments this fixture could work well in are endless. It’s an eye-catcher and a great option to consider for rigs looking to have something uniquely special.