Lutron & Kaleidescape Take Theater Lighting to the Next Level
Of all the things I love about the Kaleidescape movie-player ecosystem, perhaps my favorite is all the automation cues included in the content, which you won’t find on any other movie service. In short, Kaleidescape embeds metadata into all of its movie downloads that gives your control system access to all manner of meaningful information, including the aspect ratio of the film, when the opening and closing credits begin, intermission, and so forth.
Why is that cool? Well, by sharing this information with your control system, Kaleidescape allows your dealer to set up some really dazzling automated events, from screen masking control to lens selection to drapery control to—and this is my favorite of all—lighting control. The instant you press Play on a film, the Kaleidescape system sends a trigger to your control system that adjusts the lights in the room to a preset level, then raises them again (over a period of time of your choosing) once the list of names starts scrolling after the movie.
Mind you, that functionality has been in place for quite some time. But it just got a lot more robust and easier to integrate for systems that rely on Lutron’s flagship HomeWorks QSX processor. Kaleidescape can now communicate with Lutron’s most advanced lighting system by way of something called LEAP (which stands for Lutron Extensible Application Protocol, by the way, and replaces Telnet as the communication language for Lutron’s lighting processors), which has two particularly interest applications for home cinema aficionados.
Firstly, you no longer need an advanced home-automation protocol to tap into this lighting control wizardry. If you do have a third-party control and automation platform like Crestron or Control4, however, LEAP makes the integration much more
straightforward and automatic, and unlocks some new potential.
I spoke with Zachary Schroeck, Director of Product Management for HomeWorks, who told me, “What LEAP does is gives you a secure certificate-based access to the system. That gives Kaleidescape the ability to automatically extract the system configuration data directly from the Lutron processor. It allows the system to import area trees, zone names, button engraving, all of that.”
In the past, Schroeck told me, that’s the sort of information you would have to enter manually, one at a time, without the same level of security and with a lot more labor. That sort of thing can lead to mistakes that take time to track down. But with LEAP, the integration process is much more intuitive and efficient.
Another really cool aspect of this partnership is that it gives Kaleidescape complete access to Lutron’s intelligent, human-centric natural lighting system, known as Ketra.
That not only allows you to adjust the precise color temperature of the lights in and around your luxury home cinema (and elsewhere throughout the home, for that matter), it also means you have a much broader range of available lighting levels.
“One thing I know that Kaleidescape is excited about,” Schroeck told me, “is that we have excellent dimming performance down to 0.1 percent with Ketra. So, that gives you the ability to have theater lighting on during the film but bringing it down to a super-low level, whatever works in the space. With the full color-spectrum control, you’ll also be able to change the color based on what kind of film you’re watching. At some point, I think we’ll even be able to potentially make it dynamic with the film currently being played. There is a lot of exciting potential when you think about the marriage of Ketra lighting capabilities with the cinema experience of Kaleidescape.”
Dennis Burger is an avid Star Wars scholar, Tolkien fanatic, and Corvette enthusiast who somehow also manages to find time for technological passions including high-end audio, home automation, and video gaming. He lives in the armpit of Alabama with his wife Bethany and their four-legged child Bruno, a 75-pound American Staffordshire Terrier who thinks he’s a Pomeranian.