MERLIN - Born to Be Bright

Robert Juliat Unveils New Followspot at PLASA2014

Amid an air of anticipation and many excited whispers in the press, Robert Juliat chose PLASA London 2014 to unveil its latest followspot.  Merlin, revealed both its name and its presence on the Robert Juliat stand, which it shared with its exclusive UK distributor, Ambersphere, to give visitors the first opportunity to see the new touring model.


A complement to Robert Juliat’s extensive range of premium spots, Merlin is the culmination of an ambitious project to produce a powerful, rugged followspot for the touring market. With an output that belies its 2500W HMI lamp and a massive 3°-12° beam range, Merlin covers both long and medium throw ranges in one unit. Merlin delivers a performance that outshines the ever-increasing power of LED lighting and videowall backlighting, while newly designed bodywork ensures Merlin is easy to install and maintain, tough enough for the road and supremely tourable.

Merlin has been created to reflect the specific requirements of those working in the touring, live music and large event market – indoors and out.

Designed to complement Robert Juliat’s Grand, Compact and Ultra-Compact ranges, Merlin is the result of in-depth consultation with rental companies, lighting designers and professional followspot operators. Easy to transport, install and maintain, the new model incorporates Robert Juliat’s superlative optical and ergonomic qualities into a robust package that beats the rigours of touring. Merlin is the rugged four-wheel drive complement to Robert Juliat’s range of followspots.


• Improved Durability
• The touring machine for rentals
Merlin features a revolutionary and rock-solid design which is perfect for touring events and rental companies. Mixing a stainless steel housing with strong aluminium frames, its construction delivers the ultimate combination of strength, weather- and rust-resistance. Integral lifting points and a dedicated flightcase that stacks into touring trucks aid transportation and installation still further.

• Improved Output
• Huge output from a 2500W lamp
With an HMI lamp and a 16A power socket, Merlin’s 2500W power consumption produces a mighty light output near equivalent to a 3000W Xenon source. The HMI lamp dispenses with the dangers of touring with a Xenon lamp while its hot-restrike ability is crucial in the event of any power supply issue.


• Improved Beam Angle
• Exclusive 3° to 12° zoom with a 4:1 ratio
Key to Merlin’s design concept is the delivery of a maximum zoom range with a powerful output using only two handles for easy zoom and focus change. Double condenser optics give an increased efficiency with a 4:1 ratio coefficient range that ensures both a wide and narrow beam can be achieved within one unit.

Large arenas have popularized the thrust stage which brings performers closer to their audience amid the enormous open spaces. This places huge demands on followspot capability, yet Merlin’s incredible 3°-12° beam spread can pick out a performer at the opposite end of the arena and follow their approach to the near side in a single sweep. No need to bring in a second followspot; no need to transport additional followspots or lens tubes. Equipment and transportation costs are reduced along with installation time – features that hold universal appeal for rental companies.


• Improved maintenance
• Onboard electronic PSU
An onboard flicker-free electronic power supply unit is integrated into Merlin’s bodywork dispensing with the need for separate ballasts and flight cases. Plug and play installation is augmented by easy removal of the ballast for servicing.

• Improved cooling system
Merlin has a unique, rugged cooling system design for long term use in the most demanding performance environments.

• Improved Energy Efficiency
• RJ EcoMode
A key feature of Merlin’s role as an energy-efficient and sustainable followspot is RJ’s all-new Eco Mode. This new feature enables a reduction in power consumption when Merlin is in stand-by mode, for example before the show or during the interval. EcoMode can be automatic or manually activated or disabled completely and is invaluable in cutting costs and preserving components.


• Improved controllability
• Fade to Black DMX dimmer module
Sharp, co-ordinated operation is vital for any show and high-octane tours can often put high demands on local crew. These can be eased by motorised DMX control from the main control desk especially when synchronised fade out or black out is required.

But motorised dimmers can be hard to procure and conversion costly. Robert Juliat has designed Merlin to accept an optional dimmer accessory which simply plugs into any manual Merlin spot to allow perfectly synchronized, DMX-operated, fade-to-black directly from the control console. Parameters can also be adjusted for use as a limiter.

• Improved feedback
• RJ Diagnostics System
The RJ Diagnostics System ensures optimum operation capacity, providing a wide pallet of feedback information to the followspot operator and to the maintenance technicians, such as thermal safety, lamp life, etc. Merlin is also RDM-ready with easy RDM and wireless DMX connectivity.


Standard features, plus much more:
A full range of standard features includes favourites like a gobo holder, fully closing iris, horizontal and vertical shutters and a progressive frost glass, alongside new accessories like an improved dimmer shutter with feedback information, an easy-to-install followspot sight and a crew-pleasing USB connection for attaching a phone charger or reading light.

Designed and made in France:
Every part of Robert Juliat Merlin has been designed and built in-house at Robert Juliat’s newly extended production facilities at Fresnoy-en-Thelle near Paris. Robert Juliat takes great pride in retaining 100% control of all aspects of its manufacture from design to production.


Its reception at the show indicates Merlin is set to be a great favourite with rental companies which rely on durable hardware, flexibility of purpose and great performance time and time again. Designed for long and medium throw applications, Merlin is perfect for large arena settings such as London’s Wembley Stadium and O2 Arena, Paris’ Stade de France, and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium to name but a few.

To follow our Merlin online and keep up to date with new developments as they arise, visit the RJ Merlin microsite at