A Quarter-Century of Source Four from ETC

In November 2017 at ETC, all the lights are on Source Four – after all, the spotlight series turns 25. The product has been continually developed over the years, but all the versions have one thing in common: the energy saving characteristics of the patented HPL lights and the faceted dichrotic reflector. These two components helped the lighting industry take a big step forward.

Source Four – the ETC’s beginnings 25 years before

First presented at the LDI in 1992 in Las Vegas, the team at ETC didn’t immediately believe they had a big hit with the spotlight. That morning, the American company had three new products along for the presentation: a sensor dimmer, an obsession console and also that new spotlight Source Four. Ellen White, Outreach and Training Specialist at ETC, remembers that the team believed, the dimmer and console would “cause an uproar with the professional visitors.”

But things worked out differently. In the end, it was Source Four that convinced most of the professionals. The innovation: the lights developed by ETC were much brighter than the competition at the time.

When I first saw the Source Four, it was just an HPL lamp, glass reflector, and a lens on an optical rail in Dave Cunningham’s lab. But it was 40% brighter than a 1000W FEL and used only 575W of power. I was awe struck. It was even more fun to watch the looks on the faces of the LDI attendees when we launched the product a year later.”
ETC-CEO Fred Foster about the first contact with Source Four

“Shining example” for use on the stage

Many years later, ETC has sold nearly 3.8 million Source Fourt spotlights and this has led to a whole family: Source Four Mini, Source Four Zoom, Source Four Fresnel are just a few examples. Even the new generations, Source Four LED and Source Four HID create a clean, white beam for convincing projection quality, sharp, clear depictions, and a bright, even light field. In addition, the Source Four LED series is convincing with its broad color palette that can keep up with the LED lighting solutions from the competition.

The EDLT lens tube option for 19º, 26º, 36º and 50º field angles enable sharp, clear, and highly contrasting Gobo images. Even the Source Four Zoom offers several advantages: uncomplicated operation with one hand. This way, technicians can focus with one hand and do adjustments while holding onto the ladder with the other. This makes Source Four an excellent fit for stage use.

ETC was founded in Christmas Eve 1975 by the 18-year-old college student Fred Foster, his brother Bill Foster and their friends James Bradley and Gary Bewick. The company was born out of the idea of building a new spotlight for the Metropolitan Opera House. This has resulted in ETC's first spotlight - the Mega Cue. Twenty years later, Foster actually sold a spotlight to the Metropolitan Opera House.

Meanwhile, ETC is a globally operating company with over 1,000 employees in 10 countries.

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