Ayrton was delighted to supply producer and lighting designer Jens Hillenkötter with its very latest luminaire, the unique laser-sourced, IP65 rated Cobra, for the celebrations of 75 Years of Lower Saxony in Hanover, Germany.

Cobra’s speckle-free laser source is designed for rendering a D65 white point that allows perfect colour reproduction. Its incredibly narrow 0.6° beam angle and extreme range of focus allows the beam shape to be adjusted to suit the operating distance. It has a 170mm frontal lens and a 0.6° to 23° zoom range. An IP65 rated, minimalist body with continuous pan and tilt are just some of the features that make Cobra unique.

Postponed from 2021, Niedersachsen Day celebrated the 75th anniversary of Lower Saxony and culminated in the long-awaited evening spectacular at the iconic waterside location, Maschsee, the largest body of water in Lower Saxony.

 “Maschsee is a very large outdoor waterside area with the capacity for 50,000 – 80,000 spectators. I therefore needed fixtures that were IP65 rated (I never use domes!) to cope with the waterside environment and very bright so they could cover the large throw distances,” says Hillenkötter. “It’s quite complicated to do a show on water and was extremely difficult to find crew and equipment – especially if it is IP65 rated – in this post-pandemic age, which put a little extra pressure on us, so I was looking for fixtures that gave me a good choice of colours and the biggest tool kit I could find in a single light!”

Hillenkötter had heard ‘rumours’ of a new Ayrton fixture and was extremely happy when Ayrton’s Michael Althaus organised an exclusive demo of Cobra for him close to his home town.

 “My first impression of Cobra was “Wow! That’s small! How can something so small, neat and lightweight produce a super-bright beam?  I immediately liked the design, the size, the lightness of it and, when we turned it on, it really was a super-bright white light! It was like nothing I had seen anywhere else. It has a lot of other tools too which others don’t possess – lots of gobos for example.

 “That’s the biggest fascination for me actually – the possibility of using gobos. I seldom use gobos because they are not very effective over the 400-600m throw distances that are normally involved in the work I do. But Cobra is so bright, and its optics give such good variation, that the gobo projection is superb and makes it a viable option for long distances. The choice of colours is excellent, the zoom range is impressive and you don’t lose much light output compared to others.

“70% of what I do is for outdoor special events which often take place in-the-round, so I also like Cobra’s 360° continuous pan and tilt feature which gives me endless dynamic variation and adds to my palette of lighting tools. All these factors meant Cobra ticked all the boxes for me.”

 Hillenkötter chose to use 40 of the Ayrton Cobras as his main fixtures to light the Grand Finale of the evening: an exciting crescendo of lighting, video, music, drones and fireworks – in this city famed for its fireworks – which told the history of the country and its people.  “We sited the Cobras very close to the water on nine floating platforms and used them to back light the water screens with gobos, colour and movement for added dynamism. They projected incredibly clearly over the 300m distance.

 “I also used the Cobra to produce incredible beams that swept the sky with unbelievable throw distances. The demo had been impressive but to see Cobra in its natural environment was amazing – it’s unbelievable what the output gives you – we received a standing ovation!”

Working outside in changeable weather conditions and with, at times, thick smoke from fireworks was no problem for Cobra. “It was so impressive to see how stable the lights were and how the near-parallel beams were so clear in the sky. But they can be subtle too – I particularly like the super-big lens which I utilised as an ending for the show – not for illumination, but as ‘eye candy’ in the background, all of which could still be seen at 300 metres,” concludes Hillenkötter. “I was absolutely fascinated by these lights and I have already spec’d them for use on two more shows in July.”


Text: Julie Harper
Photos: © Maike Giese© Felix Fink© Rene Henkenius, © Maike Giese

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