Chimera and Zylight have teamed up to produce a demonstration of the very clever Chimera active diffusion panel that has variable opacity and a dimmer-style control box.
Magic sheet goes bright and dark
The panels are filled with a gel that has metal particles suspended in a substrate. In their uncharged state the gel is opaque, and when charge is applied the particles line up and the gel gradually turns transparent. The level of diffusion available currently goes up to about 1.5 stops.
Power and DMX
Power is supplied via either a 9V battery or mains power, and connects to the unit via Cat5 ethernet cable. There are two different controllers: one is for local control only, hardwired into the diffusion panel. The other option is DMX enabled and can control up to 512 units – potentially useful if you’re running a studio lighting rig.
Sizing and integration
The units in the video above are pre-production versions, sized for 1×1 panels and a standard 4×4 blade. Chimera intend to concentrate on standard sizes like these first, before rolling the product out to custom fitted softboxes. It’s also possible they might end up manufacturing for other companies to integrate into their own product lines.
Wait and see in the summer
It’s still relatively early days, and these aren’t yet the finished article, but the technology looks very impressive. If Chimera can get up and running with manufacturing they hope to have an initial product line in place by the summer. We’ll be looking forward to checking them out.