ACME AECO 5 – Road Test

Article Credit: CX Magazine – Wes Bluff, Krank’d Audio Visual Productions

At Krank’d, we have a large inventory of profile lights. With our company focussed on theatrical lighting, they are one of our core products. We were looking for profiles, something that was LED, but particularly something that was high CRI, having a nice profile and framing shutters. We demo-ed a number of fixtures, including a couple of different ACME products, and we settled on the AECO 5.

We both provide design services for our own theatrical works with producers, but also work very closely with lighting designers and presenting companies. When choosing new stock, we have to keep in mind what these clients will best enjoy. With any product, there’s always a certain apprehension with something that you don’t know. So, we do a lot of groundwork with (especially local) designers to see what works best for them.

Krank’d started investing in ACME products back in 2018, starting with typical LED pars. And we’ve since grown from that all the way through from small format LED pars to zoom pars to bars to moving washes and now the moving profile fixtures.

The AECO 5 works best for us as a key light from front of house, with really pretty texture or gobos. The framing shutters, variable CTO and CMYK adjustments all make this a beautiful fixture for that purpose.

The colour mixing is excellent, and the high CRI engine really helps with natural pastel colours as well as the classic saturated colours that we all love. It is particularly good on the skin tones and not too green like some fixtures are. It produces quite a natural light. We do a lot of work in theatre, but it’s important in dance as well, when you’re looking for nice skin tones.

ACME-AECO-5-Lighting Fixture_1
ACME-AECO-5-Lighting Fixture_2
ACME-AECO-5-Lighting Fixture_3

The other main strength of the AECO 5 is the accuracy and repeatability of movement. We made them work very hard during our initial shoot out, putting a couple of objects in the room and recalling cues forwards and backwards. From that, we were very happy with the repeatability and accuracy of movement.

The shadows are in multiple planes. Like any moving lights, you’ve got to focus to which plane you would prefer. But we’ve certainly had no issues with it not being able to accurately recall particular pallets that we’ve stored in the console.

Concentrating on theatre work, we need all fixtures to be quiet. These units are no exception. We typically run them in their quiet mode in intimate venues, and people have been really happy that they don’t generate a particularly high amount of fan noise. We generally go in with full rigs of ACME fixtures, using both the AECO 5s and washes. And we’ve yet to this day had any complaints about fan noise where we have had complaints about other fixtures in the past.

The AECO 5 has somewhat of a uniquely designed road case: they actually travel laying down in their road cases rather than the typical toploader kind of design that we’re used to. But a lot of people prefer it: you can pick the unit up with two hands and handle it much easier.

The hook clamps are permanently attached to the fixture and then collapsed down when packing. So, you’re not having to remove omega brackets or anything like that. It’s really easy just to pick a fixture up out of a case and then either rig it on a bar or set it on the ground or change between the two. It also greatly reduces the ‘oops, we left the clamps in the warehouse’ factor.

These AECO 5 fixtures are very robust. And they live up to all of the expectations and all the requirements that we have for them.