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27 Aug 2015

Review: Robe miniPointe

More than expected

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I wasn’t too sure what I’d think of the miniPointe when it arrived. I wasn’t sold on the idea of a 140W discharge lamp fixture. Putting it bluntly, I didn’t quite get the point of it – that was until I switched it on.

miniPointe is a moving head fixture which has been “Designed for small venues” according to Robe. By “small” I think they mean venues in the 1000-2000 capacity region, since I reckon that’s about the right size room in which to use this fixture.

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The unit has a native three degree beam angle, which is quite narrow. You can further reduce this to zero degrees using the beam reducer – that’s a fancy term for ‘gobo with one small round hole in it’. There are in fact 10 gobos and three sizes of beam reducer, all stamped into a single aluminium wheel. While this means you can’t change the individual gobos, it does bring a reduction in weight.

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Further weight savings are found in the colour system which is a simple 13 position plus white dichroic wheel. No CMY, no second wheel, it’s all pretty basic. There’s a mechanical shutter which also offers strobe functionality with a variety of pulse open and closed selections, and a variable frost filter.

Perhaps the cutest aspect of the miniPointe is the dual linear prism mechanism. Each of the prisms can be independently rotated in the same or opposing directions, allowing for the beam to dynamically shift from one plane into the perpendicular opposite one. It’s hard to describe, but it looks cool and, in a time when we’ve seen nearly every effect out there, it’s a little bit different, which is refreshing.

I like value, and consequently I was pleased to read that the Osram Sirius HRI lamp has a 6000 hour life. That’s very good since it saves some serious dollars. Also on the dollar savings are the fact it’s only a 140W lamp – the complete fixture consumes less power than a Par56, so it’s cheap to run. There’s no ArtNet included, although Robe does offer an optional wireless CRMX module and RDM is supported. The on-board menu is a basic two line backlit LCD affair with four buttons. It’s not quite as elegant or interactive as RNS2, but it is functional enough.

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Control over the unit includes 16 bit options for position, colour wheel, focus and dimming, with eight bit control over other parameters. DMX requirements range from 17 to 27 channels. Movement is a predictable 540/270 degree pan and tilt range, and miniPointe can pass through both of these with alarming speed. The whole fixture only weighs 11.8kg, so it’s not surprising the head moves very fast.

Light output spec for the fixture is 400,000 lx @ 5m, which is pretty bright. I reckon 5m is about the minimum useable distance at which you can focus the gobos, so it’s a good measurement point. With a three degree beam though, you’ll certainly be able to project a lot further than this if your venue allows. Even with the frost engaged the beam is still pretty narrow, so I’d say miniPointe is definitely more about effect than functional lighting. I liked the results of using the frost and both prisms simultaneously – it yielded a sort of nebulous pulsing beam which looks really cool.

I had a really good time reviewing the miniPointe, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. In many ways it’s very basic, but with this simplicity is a level of purity. You don’t get bogged down in tweaking a million parameters, which means you can just get on with lighting the show.

  • Brand:  Robe
  • Model:  Mini Pointe
  • RRP: AUD$4,970 Inc GST
  • Product Info:  www.robe.cz
  • Distributor:  www.ulagroup.com

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