With TraXYZ, followspots become autonomous

After the launch of its followspot system driving projectors in 3D, Follow-Me push further the limits of its concept with total automation without any operator.

Used as first exclusive at the Efteling theme park in The Netherlands, the TraXYZ system makes the follow-spots use on the Caro show automatic and easy.


Each artist wears a tag to be identified and followed by all or part of the light kit in complete autonomy. As an extension to the Follow-Me software, this TraXYZ module allows you to get an accurate view of all events happening on the stage directly on the screen and to recover full control manually if necessary.

At work on the last Rammstein tour, a Follow-Me system allows the use of about fifty projectors as a basis for automated follow-spots aiming at the 6 musicians of the German group, on a “kolossal” stage.

The main difference with other 3D tracking systems is the screen representation. Where the majority of competitors only shows the result of computer computing targets in the environment, Follow-Me receives accurate information from its sensors and constantly monitors their movements on stage in real time, aided by a true camera vision.

An optimal configuration of the Follow-Me includes a server, an RJ45 connection strip, two 3D mouse or trackball devices and a mini-console.

The TraXYZ kit includes a dedicated server, several tags called ‘Trackers’ and 3D receivers or ‘Anchors’ hanging around the stage.
The high-precision sensors allow “Anchors” receivers to know the character coordinates using the tags and to communicate them to the Follow-Me software. Thanks to this information, the movements of the automatic projectors and their zooms’ data are corrected in real time to always keep the artists inside their beam.

The TraXYZ Module is an extension to the Follow-Me system, which can operate autonomously with an operator, a specific computer server, and manual tracking modules such as a 3D mouse and mini-light control consoles.
The tag is about the size of a car remote, fits in a pocket or attaches with the belt clip. To ensure maximum accuracy when the person is moving, it is recommended to wear two tags at different places, such as the sides of the hips.

The ‘Tag’ and ‘Anchor’ units displayed here at Prolight + Sound show the compactness of TraXYX tags and receivers.

This also makes it possible to calculate the motion predictions by analyzing the orientation of the equipped artists in 3D. These sensors, equipped with a long-lasting battery rechargeable thru their micro-USB connector, will then give an accuracy of a few centimeters back to the software.

Just like the Follow-Me software, the TraXYZ extension uses the PSN protocol to exchange 3D positioning information in X, Y and Z values. The power of the software makes it possible to process up to 50 tags at the same time, depending on the receivers’ mesh size. and to match stage of different heights.

The proprietary sensors, designed to work outdoor, have to be positioned in a spider web figure around the stage. Ideally, they will be hung underneath the mother grid, below the spotlights and at the ends of the stage. Wired in RJ45, a specific POE switch will be needed to power them.

The basic TraXYZ kit…

…with its charging suitcase holding some black tags and one of the white receivers to be positioned around the stage.

The Follow-Me software has been updated to be used with these new tags in its future Follow-Me 3D version. Beam calculations now include height for tracking artists in all situations, including different levels stages. Thanks to the increase in the number of possible calibration points, a more targeted 3D mesh is possible.

This increased accuracy and the use of corrected libraries allow the zoom, intensity and iris values of each projector to adapt to the aimed target, just as a true follow-spot techie would do. The prediction algorithms have also been refined, supported by a much finer 3D representation. Thus, to calibrate the 3D mesh more quickly, the system automatically calculates the surfaces from a few reference calibration points set by an operator.

Coupled with the Follow-Me software, the operator can control the automation and control the projectors himself at any time.

The Follow-Me server is inserted into the lighting control circuit. Depending on the parameters to be controlled, the lighting console takes in charge most of the projectors’ channels, leaving the intensity, pan tilt or zoom to the tracking software, which decides to take control back or to affect directly this or that moving head to a specific target. It can also impose thresholds of intensity or X & Y data differences not to be exceeded.

Officially launched in November at the LDI, Follow-Me 3D and TraXYZ will soon be available from worldwide distributors.
The complete TraXYZ pack will come with 20 tags (Tags) and 16 sensors (Anchor), plus one POE switch, ready to connect to the Follow-Me server.

More information on the Follow-Me Website


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Text and photos : Tristan Szylobryt

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