When Lighting Designer Ian Davis started planning upgrades for Irving Plaza's automated lighting system he laid out three main criteria.
* The fixtures must be able to throw a wide beam at a very short distance.
* The fixtures must be flexible to accommodate a wide variety of shows.
* The fixtures must last...and last...and last.
The automated luminaires meeting the criteria were the VARI*LITE® Series 3000 luminaires. Ian hung six of the VL3000 Spot luminaires in a horseshoe configuration above the stage with a VARI*LITE fixture in each corner and two more along the backline. Ian added two more VL3000 Spot fixtures in front of the stage, pushed to the side as far as possible.
With only 15 feet from the ceiling to the stage floor of the historic facility, Ian needed a fixture that would allow him a really wide beam at a very short distance. The incredible 6-to-1 zoom range of the VL3000 Spot luminaires became a deciding factor, along with Vari-Lite's reputation.
"A big reason I chose the VL3000 fixtures is because VARI*LITE gear has a good reputation for being able to stand up to years and years of usage," Ian said. "The fixtures will probably be in here for the next 10 years at least. I wanted to get the best fixtures that I possibly could for the budget I had."
The fixtures were provided by Sonic Circus
, which purchased the units through VARI*LITE dealer Starlite Productions
of Cherry Hill, N.J.
There were two reasons that the fixtures' reliability, flexibility and ease-of-use is critical. Irving Plaza plays host to about 250 shows per year, including up-and-coming artists as well as numerous eclectic acts of various sorts. From March 10 through April 2, Irving Plaza will host shows every day. The second reason is because Ian is the lone lighting crew member. There's just no time to be adjusting or working on lights.
For a recent Betsy Johnson fashion show, Ian brought the two front lights out into the house, and chose images from his gobo selection to create some really nice beam looks.
"We host all kinds of shows," Ian said. "Every show is different, so the fixtures are constantly being used in different ways. Sometimes they're used for simple static looks with different colors and scenes. Other times, I zoom them wide to create an atmosphere for the whole stage area. Or, I can use a narrow beam to project some nice, crisp beam looks."
Ian plans for the VARI*LITE units to be long-term fixtures at popular venue. His creativity with the VL3000 luminaires has only begun.