After long rumor and speculation about whether entertainment-lighting leader ETC would enter the LED market, the company has announced their acquisition of the Selador™ product line from Selador co-founders Rob Gerlach and Novella Smith. "We didn't want to make a 'me too' RGB or RGBA product that didn't provide the kind of significant innovation in lighting we strive for," says ETC CEO Fred Foster. "With its exclusive x7 Color System™, the Selador product line produces a far superior quality of color and light to anything that we had seen before in LEDs."
Great people were the other essential part of the equation. As ETC Marketing Manager David Lincecum explains, the company was immediately impressed not only by the innovative Selador products but by the people behind them: "When we understood how Novella and Rob had thought about the design of LED fixtures -- looking at them from a designer's point of view rather than a technologist's point of view -- we saw that these were the right people to join our efforts at ETC. We are proud to be able to take their ideas to our customer base and the greater market."
Gerlach sees ETC and Selador as an ideal match: "There are so many things we have wanted to do with our product line, and we just haven't had the resources to do it, and suddenly the capability for Selador products to fully blossom and continue to innovate and expand is much greater. The product offerings that Selador and ETC combined will bring to the marketplace are orders of magnitude more promising than anything we could have done on our own. We worked very hard to develop a line of products that are unique and an exceptional value, and I think ETC is already positioned in the same way in the marketplace. Customers recognize that ETC represents very high quality and very good value for the investment, and I think Selador perfectly aligns with that."
Smith adds that ETC's mission in advancing the artistry and functionality of light matched Selador's goal: "LED lighting as a thing of beauty as well as a thing of utility."
Selador's x7 Color System™ seven-hue technology produces a light and color quality that conventional LED systems cannot duplicate. This unique color system produces bright broad spectrum whites and intense colors equally well, rendering pigments and skin tones in more a natural way.
The Selador x7 Color System also finds its perfect counterpart in ETC's control offerings. "ETC brings to the table a unique capability to make the control of LED fixtures easier, more direct and user friendly, and that is the key to making the tool really work for the designer. We have already integrated color matching and HSI (hue, saturation and intensity) control of Selador products into the latest software releases of our Eos® and Congo® lighting control console lines. Our architectural systems will follow shortly, and we will continue to innovate in the areas of color management in these products," says ETC Marketing Manager David Lincecum.
Selador's line-up includes the Paletta™ and Lustr™ products, just introduced at LDI 2008. "Paletta fixtures' unique blend of seven colors of LEDs was selected to provide the depth of color you are used to from your favorite saturated gels. The Lustr line uses a different blend of colors that are optimized for producing broad spectrum whites and tinted colors – solving the traditional LED problem of making people look unnatural. Lustr is also ideal for studio lighting as a key or fill light and can produce the subtle, tinted colors that lighting designers value so highly," explains Smith, herself a veteran lighting designer.
At the same time that ETC is revealing this purchase of the Selador product line, they are also debuting the latest Selador product: the high-output color-mixing Vivid™ LED fixture series. The Vivid series combines the Selador x7 Color System with powerful K2 emitters from Luxeon™, for the highest output available. "Our new Vivid LED fixtures give you high brightness and intense colored lighting for much longer throws, while matching and blending with gel colors and tungsten fixtures. It's the best of all worlds for many stage lighting rigs," says Gerlach.
ETC was particularly impressed by the extent to which Selador LEDs blend so seamlessly with other lighting in a rig. Says Smith, "With Selador technology, it's hard to tell the LED light from the conventional stage lighting." Gerlach adds: "It's digital lighting that doesn't look digital. And this goes beyond just the color-mixing. A big part of that is the control system built into the Selador fixtures – for really butter-smooth dimming and good fade-matching to ETC Source Four® fixtures and other conventional lighting equipment."
The ETC/Selador agreement means that ETC will now own, manufacture and distribute the Selador product line. Gerlach and Smith have been retained as exclusive consultants to ETC to develop more products from the line. ETC plans to dedicate a substantial portion of their R&D budgets to LED technology and the development of enhanced control and power infrastructures for LED systems. Smith says, "We're really looking forward to ETC's taking LED technology to the next level."
The Selador product line will be distributed and serviced through ETC's well established dealer and representative channels. Selador fixtures will be sold in the U.S. immediately and are expected to be introduced in the European market during the second quarter of 2009.
The ETC/Selador deal also involves the licensing of the Philips Color Kinetics™ patent portfolio as well as other patents owned by David Cunningham.