The PLCyc LED is Practical and Educational at the Highlander Auditorium
Technical Director Bill Cox receives lottery funds for 16 PLCyc LED luminaires
Thursday, January 24, 2013
by Philips Strand Lighting

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Established in 1972, The Baldy View Regional Occupational Program (BVROP) provides career technical education to high school students who are interested in improving their preparation for higher education and the workforce. Working with the Upland Unified School District, the BVROP utilizes the Highlander Auditorium as a primary teaching location with Technical Director Bill Cox leading the instruction. When the BVROP allocated lottery funds, Mr. Cox used the opportunity to upgrade his lighting system with the purchase of 16 PLCyc LED luminaires from Philips Strand Lighting and Philips Selecon.

“I have been a Vocational Instructor of Stage Design and Technology for the BVROP over the last 15 years and we run the program at the Highlander Auditorium,” began Cox. “The facility actually sits on the campus of Upland High School and I manage it on the behest of the Upland Unified School District, so when the BVROP approached us with a generous allocation for a lighting equipment upgrade we were extremely excited because there are a lot of stakeholders in the facility.”

With three levels of programming which include community service, educational, and commercial rental, the Highlander Auditorium has approximately 150 event production days per year. In the state of California, power consumption is a high priority in all educational facilities and with its busy schedule, the Highlander Auditorium was consuming more energy than any other facility on campus.

Cox explains, “Since the auditorium uses more power than any other facility on campus, we had been under some pressure from the school administration to find ways to conserve energy. So when the BVROP offered us the funds if we could find lighting technology which could also be used in the vocational programs as a teaching tool as well, we leapt at the opportunity.”

As they began looking into which technologies to implement both for educational opportunities and power reduction, Cox found his answer in the PLCyc LED luminaire from Philips Strand Lighting and Philips Selecon.

“While I was working as the Technical Advisor on a different project, Philips Strand Lighting approached us with their new products and technology and the conversation soon turned to my interest in LED which I had been looking at for several years. I am sometimes slow to warm up to any new technology because I want to make sure its shelf life will last longer than the ink on the check, but all that changed when Forman & Associates first showed me the PLCyc LED luminaire.”

A breakthrough in cyclorama lighting, the PLCyc LED luminaire delivers smooth and even cyclorama lighting in a compact and light weight design. Using a maximum of 120 watts, each unit can replace the equivalent of a traditional 4-color, 500-watt per cell, cyc light. A typical cyclorama can also now be powered from a single circuit using the convenient PLCyc LED Powercon cabling system for power in-and-through applications.

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“After seeing what the PLCyc LED could do, we moved forward with the purchase of 16 luminaires and hung them on 30-inch centers to cover our 50-foot wide cyc in the Highlander Auditorium. When we first fired them up in the space we were floored. The fixtures give us exactly what designers want to see. We just did Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan and in its pre-show look we had a very vivid red which was a brilliant, bright red. The PLCyc LED fixtures made the cyc pop and people really took notice without knowing that we were using an LED cyc light instead of our old cyc fixtures, which to me is the true test. It looked great.”

With the PLCyc LED overcoming the practical theatrical applications needed for the Highlander Auditorium, the luminaires still needed to show their usefulness in the career technical education programs of the BVROP as well as to demonstrate their cost and power savings to the Upland Unified School District. As Cox explains further, the PLCyc LED fulfilled both of these at one time.

“I am using the new lights to teach ‘Color Theory’ and how a basic theatrical lighting system works, and the first question I have the students ask is where is the power and how much do they have. When I take the PLCyc luminaire along with one of our old cyc lights, we look at the two fixtures side-by-side and it’s interesting to see the light bulb go off in the students head as they realize they are looking at a 1500-watt lamp compared to only a 120-watt lamp without any real performance differentiations. This is also what sold the Energy Manager with the Upland Unified ISD as we have gone from 24 1500-watt cyc units to only 16 120-watt fixtures and that’s amazing.”

Now that the PLCyc luminaires have proven their ability to reduce power consumption, as well as provide a valuable teaching tool for the Baldy View ROP career technical education programs, Cox is also finding yet another advantage to the PLCyc; their practical application for a theatrical roadhouse.

Cox concluded, “The PLCyc LED is perfect for teaching ‘Color Theory’ and we are excited about the energy savings, but for us this is a win-win on several levels including the ability to use them in a broad-based theatrical environment without having to change color quarterly in our cyc units. When you are a theatrical roadhouse, there is a lot of extra labor involved as far as utilities and maintenance, and other than the annual dusting, these fixtures can really be care-free. From a practical theatrical application that means a lot because there is simply less to worry about. I am a real fan of these lights.”

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