CHA-CHING... Vari-Lite Luminaires Hit The Casino
Published Tuesday, August 5, 2008
by Angelia Pinaga

DALLAS, TX – August 05, 2008 - Harrah’s Casino in Tunica, Mississippi recently purchased eight VARI-LITE VL3500™ Spot luminaires and 16 VARI-LITE VL2500™ Spot luminaires. Harrah’s Casino Tunica will use the luminaries in many different capacities although they will be mainly used for concerts and special events in Harrah’s Event Center, a 2,500-seat entertainment and concert venue.

The luminaires are the start of new beginnings for the casino. Harrah’s new luminaires have been meeting the needs of the resident team and meeting the needs of visiting artists as well. “As the industry has grown, artists that have come into our room have asked for bigger and better fixtures,” said Andrew Ginn, resident Regional Lighting Coordinator. “With our older inventory we were no longer able to meet the demands. Before the purchase of the VARI-LITE luminaires, we were spending several thousand dollars per month catching up on fixture maintenance.”

Here’s what Regional Entertainment Technical Manager, Greg Hackney had to say regarding their recently purchased VARI-LITE inventory for Harrah’s lighting needs.

 “Andrew and I just want to thank TMF Lighting and Thommy Hall from Vari-Lite for the demonstration of the VL3500 Spot luminaire and the VL2500 Spot luminaire. Back in September when I first told Andrew we had the opportunity to purchase some fixtures we had every intention of going with a Vari-Lite competitor. Then Andrew proposed us going with Vari-Lite. I knew of Vari-Lite as the leader in the industry but thought that this would blow our budget and we wouldn’t get the quantities we were looking for. So to be fair I told Andrew he had three months to convince me to switch. Vari-Lite really came through with their product demonstration. The VARI-LITE products far exceeded my expectations. The idea that “once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” absolutely does not apply in this case. The competitively priced Vari-Lite fixtures abilities far exceeded the other brands and no less can be said for the service Harrah’s has received during the decision and purchase process. Our VARI-LITE fixtures will be a source of pride and confidence for our venue and my team knowing that we have the best and no one can argue with that.”

Harrah’s unveiled their new lighting system for a comedy show, "A Night at the Improv,” that ran for the entire month of June. Ginn used four VL3500 luminaires downstage as a solid CTO wash.  “I am able to shutter the fixtures down to just the area that I need to light, which is one of the best features of the fixture.”  “I am using two VL3500 Spot luminaires on my cyc curtain with one fixture in magenta with a gobo rotating and the other in cyan with a gobo rotating in the opposite direction.”  Each fixture washes the entire curtain with no problem and shutters down to just the area that needs to be lit.  

The VL3500 Spot luminaire has a 13-element 6:1 zoom optics system covering a range from 10 degrees to 60 degrees. “I’m very impressed with how advanced the zoom system is on these fixtures,” stated Ginn. Ginn explains that an experienced technician actually came into the room and asked him if he was using a projector to create the images on the cyc curtain.  “This shows how advanced the zoom, color mixing, and shutter systems are on the VL3500 Spot luminaire compared to other popular fixtures,” concludes Ginn.  

“We are no longer limited by fixture quantities and outputs anymore,” said Ginn. “The output of these fixtures is phenomenal compared to their competitors. The optics (zoom, focus, CMY, color wheels, and gobos) far exceed what I expect from any moving fixture. The fixtures will allow us to extend our design ideas. We can now change the look and feel of our room by using our lighting.”

Ginn’s team consists of Greg Hackney, Regional Entertainment Technical Manager and Tony Leggett, Regional Production Coordinator. 
The team uses an Avolites Diamond 4 Vision to control all aspects of the shows and special events. The flexibility of the luminaires is key because each guest artist is welcome to bring any console they wish into the Harrah’s Event Center.

On any given night the room may offer a completely different look and feel than the previous night’s entertainment. “There are limitless looks and feels that we will try to accomplish with these fixtures,” said Ginn. “We like to set the bar high and provide our guests with productions they will remember.”

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