|Philips Selecon and Vari-Lite showcase LED advantages at temporary Fringe theatre|
|Wednesday, October 1, 2014|
This year saw the Philips Selecon RAMA LED Fresnel, which features full warm white output, make its Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut. The luminaires took up residence over the festival period in one of the Fringe's most exciting venues, C south, part of leading Edinburgh Fringe venue producer C venues, where a range of theatre companies put on up to 12 productions a day. Another new addition to this year's rig was the Vari-Lite VLX Wash. Together the luminaires blended seamlessly with the numerous Tungsten fixtures, providing the various productions with a plethora of LED associated advantages.
While the RAMA LED Fresnel luminaires took care of the warm and cool Front of House wash light two VLX Wash luminaires were installed as key light FOH with two additional luminaires providing back key light.
"Both the Selecon RAMA LED Fresnel and the Vari-Lite VLX Wash luminaires have beautiful dimming curves," says Owen Horton, theatre manager at C south. "They dim all the way down to zero without a bump at the bottom."
The RAMA LED Fresnel also has the advantage of requiring only a single channel of control, just like a regular tungsten Fresnel. Because of the high CRI of the 3000K LED engine, regular lighting gels, diffusers and frosts match exactly in the LED Fresnel against placing those filters in an older tungsten Fresnel. It therefore easily blends with the adjacent tungsten and LED beams to provide even illumination across the wide C south main theatre stage.
Not only that but crucially both the VLX Wash and the RAMA LED Fresnel help to minimize the heat output and power consumption of the venue as Horton explains, "The low power consumption of both these luminaires is vital for C south as the venue is ordinarily a church and available power is limited," continues Horton. "The VLX Wash and the RAMA LED Fresnel draw just 120W each. This means we can put the whole rig on the existing supply, which also runs the audio and the catering outside. Plus, they don't generate much heat, even after heavy usage, which helps keep keep the audience and performers cool. In the case of the RAMA LED Fresnels, we haven't had to change burnt out gels either."
The VLX Wash and RAMA LED Fresnel luminaires have proved extremely popular with all the different theatre companies. "Their versatility has been fundamental in the success of our designs. Because there were so many different shows and because many shows only have five to ten minutes to set up, it's been incredibly useful not having to run up and down ladders and refocus lights. We simply load the showfile and go. The VLX Wash removes the need to change the color filters, and with the RAMA LED, LED color correction gels allow us to achieve the exact colors that we want from the white output LEDs. The VLX Wash also offers a wonderful fill light, without any flare."
Because of its internal beam homogenization system, the VLX Wash has smooth, natural color mixing, and does not feature any "color shadowing" effects.
"Many performers don't like having LED luminaires at FOH because they're so much sharper and brighter in the face than incandescent fixtures," concludes Horton. "However, the VLX Wash has a more forgiving output, and can also sweep over the audience without blinding anyone, unlike many other LED moving heads. Some show lighting designers were initially hesitant about using LED FOH, but all have been very happy."
Richard Williamson, head of production at C venues, adds "We've been working with Philips for four years now, and being able to try out the LED luminaires has been great. The benefit of having low power and low heat-generating LED luminaires is fantastic, especially in Fringe venues, which tend to be temporary theatres with limited power and ventilation. We already use a large number of the Selecon Acclaim range of Fresnel luminaires in our theatres and it's been brilliant integrating the new LED fixtures. We're very appreciative to Philips for all their help."
Hartley T A Kemp, artistic director of C venues and international lighting designer, comments, "It's good to see new generations of designers and technicians being given the opportunity to try out the latest kit. LED and moving lights can make a lot possible for Festival venues, including minimizing energy use, keeping the heat down when rigs are used all day, and offering designers more options for refocusable specials and a much wider choice of color which is ideal for theatres that may see ten or more shows performed every day during the Fringe. It's been great to showcase this new kit in a Festival setting, and we would like to thank Philips for their continued support."
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