Founded outside London in 1972, Zero 88 products have been the technological brains behind great lighting designs for theatrical productions and live events for fifty years.
The founding of Zero 88
Recently graduated engineers from Brunel University, Peter Brooks, Chris Fenwick, Richard Thornton-Brown, Alan Munton, and then Freddy Lloyd started their company in the attic in 1972.
We drive patented and award-winning innovations. The first console Zero 88 launched was the Lightmaster 601 in 1973. The Lightmaster 690 & 691 followed in 1975. The Lightmaster range of consoles were the first with Effect Cartridges. Now to change the effects you tap on a touch screen rather than buy a new effect cartridge!
MDC (Multi Dimensional Controller) launch
We are pioneers of computerised lighting control. Zero 88 launched the Multi Dimensional Controller (MDC) in 1980. It was the very first microprocessor-based controller in the discotheque market.
Lightmaster 1200 launch
We made the best tools in the market for our target audience then, and we continue to do so now and will in the future. Lightmaster 1200, launched in 1982, was Zero 88's first memory system. It provided two-preset control for 12 dimmers and 15 scene programmable memory. These were aimed at smaller venues, colleges and amateur theatre groups, some of which are in use to this day.
The early Lightmaster consoles of the ’70s were followed by the arrival of the Eclipse in the mid ’80s, a huge console famed for its in-built cigarette lighter (a sign of the times!) which sold to many high end users. The 120-channel desk at Wakefield Rooftop Gardens measured 9ft long - you practically needed roller skates to operate it!
Production move to Wales
Zero 88 moved production to Cwmbran, Wales in 1989.
"Why South Wales? "Because it was the nearest development area to a channel port" explains Peter Brooks. "We couldn't get the space and the people to expand in St. Albans." They started looking as far back as 1988, in the spirit of rampant Thatcherism, but in St. Albans could neither recruit the people nor find affordable property.
Betapack has served the industry for over 30 years with robustness, versatility and value for money. Betapack can be 19” rack mounted, installed or made portable. Its legendary reliability and durability make it the dimmer of choice for many thousands of venues worldwide.
Betapack was updated in 1997, 2006 and 2020.
First website launches
PLASA 1997 saw the launch of the Zero 88 website. Nowadays our website is the place to go to learn more about our news, products, projects and visit our support and online forums.
First fixture library release
Zero 88 released Sirius 250/500, along with our very first fixture library release that was announced at PLASA in 1997. We accomplish this thanks to an intense passion for the industry and our customers.
Frog & Fat Frog launch
The start of the new millennium saw the arrival of the prolific range of Frog consoles, the first affordable combined moving light and generic console. Designed with a funky name and logo and green front panel, the Frogs provoked discussion and certainly got the company noticed - Zero 88 was coming of age.
The Zero 88 Community Support Forum's first post was published in 2003. We are dedicated to supporting the needs of our customers as "the show must go on." This is why our forums have grown to the active platforms they are today - where we provide you with support.
ZerOS first launched
First launched as "Frog2 OS", the software provided a graphical interface designed for touch screens. The software was renamed to "ZerOS" in 2008 - the start of making ZerOS into the robust, award-winning and patented software that it is today.
First training videos (for Leap Frog)
A blast from the past… The first Zero 88 training videos date back to 2007. They were a DVD included in the box.
Launched our first mobile app
As pioneers of computerised lighting control, we use the latest innovations to make interacting with your lights as easy and intuitive as possible. We launched our first mobile app for lighting control, the Windows PDA app, in 2008. As we did back in the day, we will continue to drive innovation in the future.
First product with RDM
The Jester ML series was Zero 88's first product that utilised the RDM standard. Launched in 2008, it marked the first fully integrated RDM implementation in a lighting console! Nowadays ZerOS consoles continue to use the RDM protocol in the form of the award-winning RigSync software.
Zero 88 has stayed closely connected to its devoted fanbase for decades. We first tweeted in January 2011 and posted to Facebook that same year. As we did in the past, we will continue to keep you updated in the future.
FLX was launched in 2015 and won an Innovation Award. Designed to save you time and maximise your creativity, this lighting console is fully featured, portable and easy to use.
FLX S launch
We make products that specifically target the needs and use cases of our customers. FLX S consoles, originally launched in 2017, are easy to learn and simple to use - delivering all the features you need at an affordable price.
SMT installation begins
The Surface Mount Technology solution we have implemented gives us improved flexibility and control over our processes whilst accelerating our NPI [new product introduction], improving velocity and optimising designs.
We make the best tools in the market for our target audience. RigSwitch was first launched at PLASA 2019. Our remote controlled power switching solution is suitable for any size venue, utilising a broad portfolio of power management technologies.
Zero 88 will take its place alongside Vari-Lite and Strand
The show does indeed go on! From May 2021 onwards, Zero 88 took its place alongside the iconic Vari-Lite and Strand lighting brands to deliver a complete entertainment-focused, “greater together” solution.