Getting to Know the LED Ellipsoidal Generation – A JimOnLight Series Introduction

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I’ve done a lot of shows in my career so far. I’m lucky as hell, don’t get me wrong – but because of it, I feel like I have a real “bond” with incandescent and high-intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) that we use in this industry. It’s almost creepy sometimes – in my head, I know how a good ol’ no-color Source Four looks in a dark theatre. I know how an Altman 360Q looks in a theatre sitting next to it, too – and how it looks sitting with a Shakespeare, also uncorrected, next to a Source Four. As I close my eyes to write this, I can see how an old Strand 30-degree feels inside of a theatre or outside during an outdoor performance, and how a tried-and-true PAR64 can burns so beautifully bright and amber when it’s going through red shift during a nice slow fade-up during a song in an arena. Even awesome old Kliegl 6×8’s have a good beam still, as long as the optics are changed from those miserable step lenses!

As a side note, I listened to Vesa Honkonen tell a story when I was attending graduate study in Sweden about “trusting” the light from a certain type of reflector, and how that trust cost him time and money on a project.  So as a bit of an aside, with every statement is an equal anti-statement!

I have gotten to know the fixtures in our industry very well because I’ve been fortunate to use them in a real variety of performance situations and installations. When you get to know something like an ellipsoidal fixture with an incandescent lamp in it and you use it over and over and over again, you get to trust the fixture.  I can say with ease that I trust the light that comes from the business end of a Source Four; at the same time, I trust the light that comes out of an Altman 360Q as well, whether it has an HX601 lamp in it or an old FEL lamp.  As a designer, as an artist — I know what that light from an incandescent lamp in one of the “typical” variety of ellipsoidals is going to do for me in a scene on actors of any skin tone, or on a presenter during, or on film and video, and whether it has a chunk of R26 or L181HT in it.  I know that kind of light.  I trust that light.

In the world we live in now, incandescent lamps are slowly becoming forcefully shunned by a growing portion of the lighting industries as a whole (and politicians, sadly), with LED replacements becoming the forced norm by pretty much all of the companies that at one time were pushing an incandescent based fixture.  These companies are all now driving quickly on the road of a really good trend: to produce a fixture that provides the same kind of light or better than that of an incandescent lamp based fixture with a lot less power consumption and without losing any light quality.  Sounds easy enough, right?

There is a strange, edgy, “new car smell” feeling towards the new strains of LED fixtures making their births into the industry.  We are inundated with them at the trade shows in our business, just like we were with the incandescent conventionals.  Manufacturers, this is perfectly acceptable, and I think that it’s one of your biggest assets in this industry.  It’s your job to make us trust your fixtures, through hands-on videos and “shoot-outs” between incandescent and LED fixtures out there.  My informal surveying of conference attendees over the last three years has seen many responses like “TOO MANY LEDS” and “If I see another crappy wannabe LED fixture at another trade show, I’m going to die.”  Believe it or not, this is a really good thing — it provides an opportunity for the exceptional equipment to rise to the top of the Diode Ocean, as I like to call it.  Lately, these exceptions are overcoming their inferior rivals, much to my happiness.

Users, we have a job to do, too — we have to give the manufacturers the chance to trust LED light.  We have to learn how it is different than its incandescent counterparts.  We’ve had all of these decades to learn how to work with incandescent light (and HID light too, for what it’s worth), and we know it.  We trust it, and we love it.  But why is that?  It’s because it’s what we know, and it really is that simple.  Once we give the LED ellipsoidal generation a chance, you know we’re going to trust that too.  This isn’t to say that LEDs are done developing, this obviously isn’t true.  But I am noticing some unbelievably incredible advances in LED engines and output technology lately, especially after LDI in October 2012, and I have to say that I am finally ready to learn to trust LED conventional ellipsoidals.  It’s hard not to at this point to see that LED ellipsoidals are becoming the obvious choice, with the color temperature tuning we see now and the low power requirement that they provide — and to argue against energy consumption and power conservation is just not in my DNA.

Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to be comparing the LED conventional ellipsoidals we see in Entertainment to their incandescent counterparts over the next month, starting with ETC’s new Source Four LED line first, followed by Robert Juliat’s Zep and Tibo ranges, then moving on to the RevEAL Profile from Prism Projection, and so on.  In the mean time, let’s take a look at the characteristics I’ll be examining that I find important to applying trust, at least on paper – you can argue that there are more to see, but for the sake of argument, let’s start with:

  • Cost Comparison:
    What kinds of costs are we looking at over the course of an LED Ellipsoidal lifetime?  How different is it, really?
  • Light Output, or Perceived Brightness:
    How does it compare to a comparable incandescent conventional?
  • Spectral Analysis:
    What is the white light in the beam comprised of with respect to wavelength?
  • Power Consumption:
    When you put an LED ellipsoidal up against an incandescent lamp at 575W, how does it perform?
  • Weight:
    I have to stick these in a truck and on a truss at some point, so what is the difference I need to know?
  • Controllable Properties:
    Obviously I have only a few with an incandescent fixture, so what comes stock in an LED ellipsoidal that makes a difference?

Let’s go on this journey together.  When we work on something together as an industry, we get to make it how we want it to be, and manufacturers listen.  Once we started to get involved with the ways that incandescent lamps were developed and lighting designers started demanding better control over design and engineering of incandescent lamps, they improved.  All we have to do now is learn what the LED Ellipsoidal generation can do for us, and we can really make a difference.

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I Just Finished Lighting A Show in Phoenix.

I do a decent amount of corporate work as a lighting designer.  I very much enjoy being able to bring art and design to a corporate function, and I also enjoy being able to play with moving lights and make pretty stuff.  I mean, who doesn’t?

This last show I finished here in Phoenix is different though – I have to say that they were the most amazing, kind, and passionate group of people I’ve had the pleasure of lighting in quite some time.  You see, this conference was about nurses and doctors who deal with patient wounds, and making sure people heal.  Let me tell you, they were passionate about their jobs.  I got to listen to a nurse from the US Air Force talk about treating battlefield wounds in Afghanistan, a nurse who volunteered in Hurricane Katrina treating wounds, a nurse who treated patients in China after the monster earthquake they had last year, and many others.  This show touched my heart.

I also got to work with a ridiculously talented group of people – a production manager who kept his stuff together and took no crap, a great video director who made the dissolves look amazing, absolutely delightful camera ops, graphics folks who knew their gig well, and an audio lead (and his amazing A2) who made the show sound crystal clear.  Sometimes I wonder how I get so lucky working with good people!  It’s so fulfilling to work on a great team.

I do have a very post-event hilarious story…

The story goes that in my plot I designed ten Vari*Lite VL3000’s on top of varying heights of 20.5″ truss, as you see in the pictures.  What I actually got were Mac 2000 Profile II electronic ballast heads, which was fine with me, as I like using them.  I was setting up FOH and getting the console patched (which was another story that involved a Hog II operating firmware that hadn’t been updated since 2006) while my electricians were placing the Profiles atop of the truss towers.  Of the ten units on top of towers, there were three Profiles that were just being mean to me – they were all doing the exact same thing, being unresponsive to pan and tilt.  A call to 4Wall later and three new units come to the Convention Center along with a 4Wall tech.  Before he got there, my guys had checked data cables, DMX addresses, and myriad other things that I was wracking my brain to try to solve.  I checked the patch, I checked the console output, everything.  I’m stressing because we have rehearsal in an hour, I have a megaton of heads and LED units on this show, and I want to make sure the client is happy.

Lo and behold, when the 4Wall tech arrived onsite to bring me new gear, I scurried up the truss tower to check out a few things (I’ve been at FOH this whole time), and on my way up the truss tower I realized that the three units that weren’t working because they weren’t Mac 2000 Profile II units.  It turns out that some of the gear I got from the production company (NOT 4Wall – we did some 4Wall rentals and some existing gear) were mislabeled when the stagehands installed them – three of the heads were Mac 2000 Performance units stuck in Profile II cases.  Boy, don’t I feel like an ass.

Another day, another city, another show.  Now I have another story to put in my book.

Check out some pictures of the show – it really turned out beautifully (in my humble opinion of course), and better yet, the people who needed to be happy were happy.

Five Decades of Lighting – USITT 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – Consoles Edition

One of the more awesome things I saw this year at USITT was the Lighting Commission’s exhibit on lighting equipment history – “Five Decades of Lighting.”  Todd Proffitt (@tm204) and Josh Williamson (@joshwilliamson) were involved with this exhibit, and I think they did an outstanding freaking job of putting it together.  I’m sure I’m not including many people who worked to make the thing happen, but nice exhibit!  I broke this up into two posts:  one on consoles, and another post tomorrow on fixtures and other equipment.

You might notice that these images of lighting control surfaces is not in any kind of chronological order – this is actually intentional.  Take a look and see if you can identify some of the characteristics of the various consoles over the course of the years.

The “Five Decades of Lighting” exhibit had fixtures, dimming, and consoles from the last five decades.  It was pretty great to actually get my hands on an old Light Palette Two – what nice wood detail work!  Can I order a Hog III with the cherry and maple inlay?

Also, it was awesome meeting Fred Foster from ETC and hearing him tell stories about the first consoles he designed, and the funny little tidbits he was sharing.  You’re pretty cool, Fred Foster!

Check out a quick video I made of the console section, followed by a ton of images.  Literally.

USITT’s 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – 5 Decades of Lighting – Consoles from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

The Strand 300 Series lighting console (I’m a big fan of the Strand 520i from back in the day):

the Obsession I (before it became the Obsession II):

a Luxtrol autotransformer unit.  Come on, you’ve seen these, yeah?  We always had one in undergrad powering the tech table lighting:

“That’s not a lighting desk.  THIS is a lighting desk!”  (the Light Palette Two).  I mean, literally a desk.  You can also fly the Starship Enterprise with that console:

Light Palette Two built-in keyboard:

The Light Palette Two, front side:

Lighting Methods, Inc’s little two-scene preset:

The Kliegl Performer – yes, that’s a cassette tape:

an old Kliegl Bros 2-scene preset, and a Century Lighting Edkotron controller:

Everybody knows the Express series – here’s a 250:

The ETC Vision – also see the Microvision FX, which wasn’t at the show, but you could hear the jubilant cries of “MICROVISION FX!” from the conventiongoers:

The ETC Idea – another of the early ETC desks that people came to know and love:

The ETC Eos – so sleek!

This thing – this is amazing.  This is the ETC ELC (Entertainment Lighting Control)

Super Bowl Halftime Show – Starring The Who, and THE LIGHTING!

I just heard on NPR last night that 106.5 million plus people watched the Super Bowl on Sunday – more people than any other event on TV in the history of the world.  The last thing that had that kind of viewers was the final episode of M*A*S*H*, back in 1983 – 105.97 million.

(for those of you kids who have no idea what M*A*S*H* is, it was a show about surgeons in a war zone)

One of the things that is still getting some major press is the big spectacle half time show, starring The Who:

For those of you who are like me, I paid more attention to the lighting design for the Super Bowl half time show than I did The Who – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think they rock.  They did at least when they were younger.  Who did rock this time was the lighting design team and suppliers for one of the biggest shows of the year – and the rumor is that the entire rig had a total of six minutes to get on the field and working.

Oh – and pre-viz/lighting design for the Super Bowl Half Time Show?  It was done in Cast Software’s wysiwyg Suite!  OH YEAH!  (That’s right, I love it, you love it, and it is the epic awesome.)

The Super Bowl XLIV Lighting Team – definitely not an exhaustive list, and my apologies for the hundreds of people who got left off the list:

Lighting Designers:  Al Gurdon
Designer:  Bruce Rodgers of Tribe
Lighting Directors:  Bob Barnhart and David Grill of Full Flood
Programmers:  Mike “Oz” Owen, rocking the Vari*Lite Virtuoso, and Pete Radice
Rental Company:  PRG USA and PRG Europe
Lighting Crew Chief/Gaffer:  Richie Gorrod
Media Programmer:  Jason Rudolph

An update from Jason Rudolph himself – thanks a lot, Jason!

Lee Lodge was the creative producer handling content, which was made by Loyal Kaspar out of NYC.
XL video was the video vendor. The stage was made of 3000+ MiStrips, driven by 2 HD hippos provided by VER, Matt Waters was the server tech.

From XL Video, Ken Gay and Bob McGee were the project managers. Mike Spencer was the system engineer. Luke Pilato was the head system tech. Led techs were Rodrigo Azuriz, Trace Deroy, Douglas Eldredge, David Imlau, Fernando Gutierrez Llama, Curtis Luxton, Stephen Otten, Eric Petty, Rod Silhanek and Don Stevens.

An update from Margaret, who sends the URL of Loyal Kaspar, the company who did the video content – http://www.loyalkaspar.com

Update - Jason Rudolph writes back (Feb 11, 2010) [Thanks, Jason!]

I can tell you this, the LED fixtures in the rig were Color Blocks, most of the fixtures were VL3500 wash units with the clear lens installed, on the stage were Color Blasts, and Iwhite color blasts.  Atomic strobes all over, and a few lightning strikes for good measure.  There were also a few Alpha Beam 1500s in the rig, but I’m not sure where they were.

Oz programmed on a Virtuoso VX, I was on a DX2.

We had 2 HD hippos, and one HippoCritter for pixelmapping the Color blocks, which we only used for one song, its output was merged with the console output so that we had both as an option.

If you know any people who worked the crew, give them a shout out in the comments – what a terrific job they did!

I am expecting an equipment list soon – I will update this post as soon as I get it from my source.  But for those of you who didn’t get to see this amazing lighting feat, below are two videos, part one and part two, of the half time show.  Enjoy!

(Thanks, Times Online, for the image of The Who!)

The Hula Skirt: Low Tech Solution for A High-Tech Pain in the Rear

Here’s the scenario:

You’re loading in the XYZ Company’s big corporate show into Anytown, USA’s huge convention center.  Let’s just say for gitz and shiggles that the room is a few hundred feet long and a few hundred feet wide, and the only real cost effective way to light the general area when not using the show’s production lighting is to use the high-bay fixtures (the big metal halide scoops) for room lighting.  You could add a bunch of lighting specifically for the house to the rig, but that’s usually never in the budget, so you’re forced to use the venue’s general illumination lighting.  Inevitably, this usually:

  • leads to the general room lighting looking like a huge pile of crap
  • completely ruins the mood you were trying to achieve
  • washes out your video screens because the room lighting is never in the right place for video
  • or a combination of all of the above

Now in the past, I’ve always tried to use a combination or turning certain zones off in the venue which has the tendency to leave important parts of the room dark and swearing at all of the universe as a whole, which usually solves nothing.  A company called Shadow Management has come up with a very low-tech solution to the problem of annoying convention center lighting getting in the way of all your great design ideas – why not cover it up, block off what is annoying you, or even color the entire system of houselights to meet the design requirements of your production?

Meet the Hula Skirt:

The folks at Shadow Management have really solved this problem at the “well, duh” level, which I like very much.  Either cover the darned lights up or use them as colored toplight!  Makes pretty good sense to me!

Check out some images, all taken from the Shadow Management website:

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Series 400 Makes U2’s 360 Tour Work

I just got an email from Kirsten at PRG about their Series 400 data and power distro system, which is being used on the massive mondoginormous U2 360° Tour.  Check it out!

prg u2 series 400

PRG’s Series 400 System Powers U2’s 360° Tour

New Windsor, NY—July 20, 2009—The unprecedented scale of U2’s 360° Tour required a power and data network that would handle long distances; be quick and efficient to install; provide high network speed; and be rock-solid. Systems Crew Chief Craig Hancock worked with Show Director/Designer Willie Williams from the early design phase of the production to engineer a network that would satisfy all of these requirements.

The backbone of Hancock’s network design is the PRG Series 400™ Power and Data Distribution System. Describing his approach to laying out the system, Hancock said, “I started working on the lighting system and layout of the power and data network about seven months ago with Willie and Jeremy Lloyd and Nick Evans of Mark Fisher’s Studio Fisher. I then worked with PRG, especially Chris Conti, to get where we are now. I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it and Chris made it into reality with Series 400.”

“The networking system for the U2 360° tour is daunting when you first look at it, but it is actually fairly simple, just on a very large scale,” noted Conti, PRG’s S400 Product Manager. “There is an S400 trunk cable run to the FOH control position, providing the power for the consoles as well as running the DMX from the consoles to the S400 system. Then fiber optic cable distributes the data around the system, a total of eight 350’ runs.” There are a total of 24 universes of DMX with custom dimmer carts at the bottom of each leg of the structure. There are a total of four carts up on the catwalk in the roof structure that handle the power and data for the lights in the roof as well as in the pylon (the central vertical element of the set). DMX is sent from the top of the pylon out to the seven satellite lighting positions that are in the seats around the top of the stadium.

Hancock, who had previously used the S400 system on Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour, knew the abilities of the system. “The great thing about having the PRG Node Plusses and the S400 Fiber Switches is that they all work in line with the Series 400 system; it allows so much flexibility. I can use external equipment like dimmer racks and other gear with no headaches at all.” Cue reaction time was also critical to Williams and Hancock. “With the sheer scale of the structure and having the satellite lighting positions around the stadium, we were very concerned about the network speed and the reaction time. The Series 400 system moves Art-Net around which allowed us to have no delays in cue reaction time,” Hancock said.

The final piece of the system was the inclusion of City Theatrical’s SHoW DMX wireless DMX explained Hancock, “When Chris came onboard in March it was invaluable because he brought in the SHoW DMX. I think that the wireless DMX solved a big issue and has worked well. I didn’t really see how we were going to run cabling through the crowd every night.” For Hancock the final network system has overall ease of use and is reliable. It is what he wanted, a power and data network that is the backbone of the lighting system for Williams’ sophisticated design.

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

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Madonna Roof Collapse News – Two People Dead

First, before any of this news gets read, my thoughts and condolences go out to the families of 23 year old Charles Prow and 53 year old Charles Criscenzo, the two technicians killed so far in the Madonna roof collapse that took place on Thursday – my wife posted the initial article on Thursday.  Reports are sketchy as to the number of injured, but I have read that it’s between five and eleven serious injuries and 35 to 45 shock and minor injuries.  I hope they all recover quickly.

Here’s what I know so far – a roof structure on Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, France collapsed.  Obviously there is an investigation on this tragedy, but the buzz being ported around is that a crane hoisting the roof also failed, apparently while it was being hoisted up.  The city councilman Maurice Di Nocera said that the roof structure on the stage “started shaking and collapsing” gradually.

I hate this kind of news.  I’d much rather talk about pretty much anything other than people getting hurt and killed while trying to install entertainment.

Just a common sense reminder for anyone working with any kind of lighting gear (or any kind of gear period), no matter how expensive – if you’re about to be in a situation where gear is going to be damaged and you could be hurt, get out of that situation right away.  Equipment is insured and can be replaced or sent to the shop.  Your precious life cannot be benched.  I would bet a kidney that any manufacturer or supplier out there would rather see damaged gear than attend a funeral any day.

I have a little bit of video on this tragedy – one from the BBC, and another from YouTube.

The company hired to put this rig up was ES Group out of London.

PRG’s Bad Boy Is Hitting the Road with U2

u2 bad boy prg

Willie Williams is going to be rocking a hundred and ninety six of PRG’s Bad Boy fixture!  I just got a press release from Anne over at PRG – check it out!

Media Contact:
Anne Johnston
845-567-5871
ajohnston@prg.com
PRG’s Bad Boy surrounds U2

New Windsor, NY—July 10, 2009—Immediately upon entering the venue, audiences attending U2’s 360° Tour will realize that they are about to experience a truly unique event. “The goal always for me is when the fans come into the stadium they see something the like of which they have never seen before,” explained Willie Williams, Show Designer & Director. Working closely with Architect Mark Fisher and Production Director Jake Berry, Williams has realized that goal and created a structure that is the largest ever designed for a concert tour. The sheer size of the set created a challenge, in that the fixture positions were a significant distance from the stage. So, Williams turned to the PRG Bad Boy™.

“The throw distances that we are dealing with are much longer then you would normally ever deal with for all the lighting positions, never mind the lights around the stadium,” said Williams. “Even the closest lights to the stage are an 80-foot throw and the ones on the legs are nearer a 100-foot throw. There is no way you could use old school moving lights, plus I needed a light that would not just reach and wash but would be able to have texture.”

In December, PRG arranged a fixture demonstration at Wembley Stadium so that Williams could evaluate the Bad Boy and other lights in a real world environment. “What I found interesting about the light is that PRG started with the application in their fixture design, which was to create a light for large scale shows, arenas, stadiums,” said Williams. “That has been their master stroke, to start with what the light is intended to do and really work towards that particular goal. When you are at the back of Wembley Stadium, you need a light with the gas to get to the stage.”

Williams decided to use the Bad Boy as his only automated light for illumination, with his final design calling for 196 fixtures. The Bad Boy easily handles distances from 80-feet to 400-feet. It was a bold choice to base an entire design around only the Bad Boy and Williams had to wait until the lighting system was powered up for the first time at the Barcelona rehearsal venue to know for certain that his idea would work. “Even when I got here, we still had a few days before the system was turned on where I was biding my time. I was a little antsy waiting to see what these things would do under show conditions. I think it is fair to say they are absolutely remarkable.”

Lighting Director Ethan Weber understood Williams’ initial concern. “There is nothing else—spot, wash lights—everything you do is with the Bad Boy and coming into rehearsals it was a light none of us had ever used before,” said Weber. “When we turned them on it was pretty obvious it was the right way to go. We have all been very impressed. Many of the fixtures are a few hundred feet from the stage and not only are they very bright but their zoom allow us to go from pinspotting the band to lighting a stadium audience with relatively few fixtures. I don’t know of any other light that can do this. So far they’ve been very reliable—impressive, considering we’ve had them on for long hours in the Barcelona sun.”

Williams’ lighting design is fairly straightforward, considering the complexity of the overall production design. While Weber handles all the automated fixtures, lighting associate Alex Murphy calls all the followspot cues for the 25 spots, and controls the LEDs in the set with the PRG Mbox™ Extreme Media Server. PRG’s Concert Touring group supplied the entire lighting package for the tour, which also included the PRG Series 400™ Power and Data Distribution System. The S400 combines power, DMX and Ethernet data through a single custom-designed trunk cable. The data system includes Ethernet switches with the ability to route any DMX universe to any DMX output connector in the system, along with complete electrical isolation. As a result, lighting systems can better accommodate the growing need for data and use less cable and technicians can re-route signals from the user menus without making physical changes to the system.

The power and data system for the U2 Tour was designed by System Crew Chief Craig Hancock, who worked closely with Jeremy Lloyd and Nick Evans of Fisher’s Stufish studio integrating the lighting system into the actual structural system. Chris Conti, PRG product manager, also worked closely with Hancock on the layout. Conti explained, “All together we have a total of 24 universes of DMX. We have S400 racks at the bottom of each leg of the structure, which are in custom dimmer carts that Craig designed. They also contain S400 main breaker racks, dimmer and relay racks, strobe distribution racks, communications, etc. There are two carts of S400 and two dimmer carts up on catwalks in the roof structure that handle the power and data for the pylon.”

That balance between complexity and simplicity is the key to Williams’ sophisticated designs success. To maintain that balance, everyone needed to be on the same page, working towards the same result. Tim Murch, PRG account executive, noted, “They really have brought together wonderfully qualified people, starting with the incredible Jake Berry and of course Willie and Mark. It is incredibly well organized; thanks in large part to them. It is a very heads up situation with coordination between every single department.”

Williams is very pleased with PRGs efforts on behalf of the tour. “At the end of the day it is about people and if you don’t have the right people it is just not going to happen,” he stated. “I am absolutely delighted. They have been really good. Both Tim Murch and Robin Wain (PRG account executive) have been fantastic. You can’t do this by second guessing; I just have to have complete faith that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing. You really have to trust.”

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

u2 bad boy prg

Wybron’s Transition and Autopilot in Amarillo, TX

wybron

Wybron put out a press release that I just now got – darn them internets!  They just helped a church in Amarillo, TX make some magic in a very unconventional worship hall setup – arena seating!

WYBRON’S TRANSITION, AUTOPILOT ILLUMINE TEXAS CHURCH

When Trinity Fellowship Church of Amarillo, Texas, set out to design a new 4,000-seat sanctuary, it chose a stage in the round – a unique feature for a house of worship.

“We wanted to keep it more intimate. We didn’t just want to expand like a proscenium stage where you have people several hundred yards away,” said Russell Kollaja, Trinity’s lighting designer.

This creative space called for creative lighting, and Wybron played a part with its Autopilot II performer tracking system and Transition fiber-optic illuminator.

As the focal point of the nearly $40 million dollar facility, the 46-foot stage needed to be exceptionally well lit. During the music portion of a service, four lights needed to follow each of the two worship leaders standing on either side of the stage.

In an ordinary building, that might have required eight followspots, but that wasn’t practical for Trinity, said Paul Braile of Top Dog Spotlighting. In this circular room where audience members face each other, the followspots would have been visually distracting to worshippers, blocking views of the room’s several video screens.

“You would need to install truss spots, and that would be downright ugly,” Braile said. “Autopilot was absolutely the perfect call for this church.”

With Autopilot, the two worship leaders remain perfectly lit as they move around the stage. And when the music’s done, Autopilot tracks the pastor as he addresses his message to the 360-degree room.

With the area above the stage more open and visible to the audience, designers decided on something breathtaking: a twinkling fiber-optic starfield created by six Transition fiber-optic illuminators.  With fiber-optic cable inserting through a draped dark cloth, it almost feels like looking up at a night sky, Russell Kollaja said.

“It’s calming and soothing. You don’t look up and see the air ducts, you don’t see cables,” he said.

The entire lighting rig includes about 200 moving lights, with about 20 of them connected to Autopilot, said Niel Galen of Lighting Design Group.

Galen’s firm has worked with the church for several years, ever since the firm helped light the sanctuary for some television specials on marriage. The new rig can also be modified for TV use, Galen said.

“I think it turned out great. The people at Trinity are very happy; they have a killer system that has incredible flexibility for any number of different things they could do down the road,” Galen said.

The church also utilizes Wybron’s Nexera color-mixing luminaires in the children’s area of the campus as well as its west sanctuary. The Nexera combines CMY dichroic color mixing with a powerful light fixture available in profile and wash models.

For more information about Wybron, call (719) 548-9774, e-mail info@wybron.com, or visit www.wybron.com.

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PRG’s Bad Boy is Rocking Eurovision

Joan Lyman Melzig

I just got a press release from PRG – Bad Boy is rocking the crap out of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009.  Check out the press release:

PRG Bad BoyTM boasts biggest show to date on Eurovision Song Contest 2009

New Windsor, New York – May 16, 2009 – The annual Eurovision Song Contest, now in its 54th year, is one of the most-watched television productions in the world, with estimates of some 200 million viewers. The format began simply enough back in 1954 – a live broadcast of the members of the European Broadcast Union competing to win the title of Best Song in Europe, with the winner bestowed the honor of hosting the contest the next year in their home country. The production has since reached astounding proportions, now with 42 countries competing in three live broadcasts – two Semi-Finals and one Final.

When Russia won Eurovision in Belgrade, Serbia last year, Russian show producers were immediately driven to make the 2009 production in Moscow the biggest and most breathtaking in Eurovision history. The live broadcasts for the Semi-Finals were held on May 12 and 14 and the Finals on May 16, with viewer numbers skyrocketing to new heights, thanks to a live feed online via www.eurovision.tv.

The equipment list is impressive to say the least, with an astounding 2,000 square meters of LED, but the real talk of the show has been the 72 PRG Bad BoyTM luminaires. Since the fixture hit the shelves at the beginning of this year, it has been seen on major tours from Oasis to Britney Spears and on television productions such as the Grammy Awards and The Celebrity Apprentice.

The fixtures are installed around the entire rig and positioned directly over the stage. Rich Gorrod, lighting gaffer, who has been on-site in Moscow since March 31 said, “They’re absolutely spectacular. They’re bright as hell, giving the Syncrolites a run for their money, with lightning snap color and gobo change. Plus the zoom is unbelievable, from pencil beam to super wide, and most of all they’re incredibly reliable. They’ve been running 18 hours a day for the last four weeks – which says a lot for such a new light. They just do everything that it says on the tin – fantastically well. We’ve brought two techs to Moscow just for the Bad Boys and they’ve been bored to tears!”

Lighting Designer Al Gurdon (MTV Europe Awards, Robbie Williams) is equally as pleased, citing, “They’re simply a dream come true. We have loads of LED, and these still stand out with no problem whatsoever. They look amazing on camera and deliver these vibrant, saturated colors that I want with incredibly smooth and fast precision. A show of this magnitude demands quite a lot from its equipment, and the Bad Boy has proven itself to be a champion.”

The Bad Boy is a hybrid luminaire that combines the qualities of a traditional automated fixture light with a large-venue fixture.  “It was one of the first things specified for this production,” said Eruovision Production Manager Ola Melzig.  “I first saw it at PLASA last year, and I could immediately tell that it was designed with today’s shows, which often involve high-brightness LED screens, in mind.”

The Bad Boy is definitely standing out on the Eurovision stage, with a powerful 48,000 lumens.  Its high definition optics work perfectly for television – yet another reason they were specified.  In addition to the optical clarity that comes with using high-quality lenses, the Bad Boy features also include smooth, fluid control of focus, zoom range of 8:1 (7° to 56°), and imaging thanks to high-speed servo motors and full-field 0 to 100% dimming.  The Quantum Color® system utilizes individual color filters providing variation in both saturation and hue, resulting in a much broader and vibrant range of saturated colors.  Plus, the Bad Boy was designed with energy efficiency and carbon footprint standards in mind.

“We at PRG are very pleased to play a supporting role for the Eurovision Song Contest,” says Anne Johnston, Vice President of Marketing for PRG.   “It is exciting to see this many Bad Boys on such a grand stage with a worldwide audience. We were thrilled to see the Bad Boy was enjoying so many rave reviews from the hard working crew and designers. The production is a massive undertaking and we are proud to play a role.”

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

Oh, isn’t it beautiful?  BASQUE IN IT!