VARI*LITE with the "Bob That Head" Crowd
Rascal Flatts Tour Geared Up With Vari-Lite Luminaires
Published Wednesday, July 9, 2008
by Angelia Pinaga

DALLAS, TX - July 9, 2008 - Life is a highway when you’re the top selling artist in all music genres. Grammy Award-winning country music group Rascal Flatts is currently on their “Bob That Head” tour carrying 60 VL3000™ Spot luminaires and 48 VL3500™ Wash luminaires.

“Since I started doing lights 22 years ago I always wanted to use Vari-Lite luminaires and have a complete rig of Vari-Lite product,” said lighting designer Andy Knighton. Andy’s wish came true with an all Vari-Lite rig. Knighton has a remarkable lighting team as well. “I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by a hand-picked team from dealer Bandit Lites,” said Knighton. “Excellence comes to mind when I think of my Rascal Flatts team.”

Knighton’s team designed lighting for the super-sized set mastered by Bruce Rodgers of Tribe Designs.

The team had their work cut out for them. From top to bottom the show is a mecca of visual and audio surprises. “I first wanted the horsepower necessary to provide adequate lighting in a heavy video world,” said Knighton. “Horsepower” is the best way to describe the rig,” added Knighton. The luminaires had to compete with and complement LED walls with video.

“Secondly, I needed to satisfy the criteria for live video and camera,” said Knighton. Some of the shows are set on lawns in amphitheaters where the audience is captured on screen with the band. “I placed some of the VL3500 Wash luminaires out on the lawns of the various amphitheaters to provide an exciting atmosphere outside,” said Knighton. “Outside environments often are without haze, yet the Vari-Lite luminaires still provide beams. The luminaires are not so excruciating to look into when you hit the crowds in the face yet the crowd is fully and uniformly lit.”

And lastly, Knighton needed to set the lighting groundwork for the aerial portions of the show. The VL3000 Spot luminaires provided texture with gobos to all the aerial looks and to the set. “The optics are great on this luminaire,” said Knighton. “If you’re not careful, one can see fingerprints on the gobo projection.” “How cool is that?” added Knighton. ”Exceptional beam options are capable with the narrow lens on the VL 3500 Wash luminaire.” “I used the luminaires to simulate sky trackers.” This lighting is strong and creates a feeling of motion for the audience.

Knighton says that within his five-year tenure with the group, Rascal Flatts consistently puts on a powerful performance which is also reflected in their production. The lighting had to match these demands. “The show has large lighting rigs spreading from one end of the arena to the other,” said Knighton. “We are running twelve universes. “The Vari-Lite luminaires are bullet proof, powerful and reliable. I think the luminaires describe themselves better than I do. There are endless options available during programming so I don’t have to repeat the same look throughout the show.”

Knighton also likes the flexibility that Vari-Lite luminaires offer. “Satisfying various criteria for live versus television is important in one unit and Vari-Lite provides these criteria without question,” said Knighton.

Knighton adds a few tips for up and coming lighting designers. He states that the designer should select products that have a standing reputation and a strong company behind them. “Reliability is more important than all the bells and whistles that accompany a unit,” said Knighton.

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