VLX™ Wash luminaire featured prominently in 3-day music festival
Published Monday, November 16, 2009
by Bryan Matthews

On September 24, 2009, F1 Rocks™ Singapore kicked off a 3-day musical festival surrounding the Formula One™ night race on the F1 circuit. During the event at Fort Canning Park, 11 international music stars performed outdoors in front of approximately 30,000 concert-goers. With many unique challenges ahead of them, lighting designer Ross Williams and lighting equipment provider, The Show Company, relied heavily upon the new Vari-Lite VLX™ Wash luminaire to shine as bright as any star on stage.

“The F1 Rocks concert is quite different from my past projects as there were 11 different acts using the same stage for three nights,” began Williams. “This is a challenge and the lighting design and solutions have to be flexible enough to cater to the different needs of the performers.”

“Being a front runner in the rental and staging business we are always in the lookout for solutions that will wow us,” added Jospeh Gan, a director with The Show Company. “We first saw the prototype of the VLX at Frankfurt earlier this year and the Vari-Lite development team has delivered a product that, in my opinion, is presently the best automated solid-state lighting fixture on the market.”

The massive 5-story stage at F1 Rocks was one of the most elaborate set-ups the Fort Canning venue had ever seen. A total of 18 VLX™ Wash luminaires were positioned at the front of the stage to complement the LED backdrop and sidewalls. In addition, eight VL1000™ ERS, 30 VL3000™ Wash and 52 VL3000™ Spot luminaires were also used to create and complement the effects on stage, adding to the excitement and wowing the crowd.

Williams continued, “The idea behind the design was to create an exciting lighting rig which would encompass all the requirements of the visiting artists and design teams, whilst maintaining sufficient flexibility to create individual looks and feels for each genre. This was a great challenge given the lineup featured over the three nights, and their respective demands.”

By combining the benefits of LED technology and the best visual performance characteristics of traditional automated fixtures, the VLX Wash luminaires cast a wide angle and highlighted the performers on stage through its beam effects, stunning colors, and intensity.

Said Williams, “Our best chance of delivering on the demands of each artist was to create a first-class and high-tech lighting system, so we turned to the Vari-Lite products to deliver. Vari-Lite luminaires have long been a favorite for us, and the latest edition, the VLX Wash, certainly did not disappoint. They proved to be incredibly bright, and exceptionally fast, benefiting greatly from no moving parts to instantly generate any color to any color effects. The homogenized colors across the whole spectrum were truly stunning, and the VLX has a very impressive white. The diffusion function also worked surprisingly well, allowing us to cover the audience with just 18 fixtures.”

At F1 Rocks, The Show Company had the honor of being the first buyer of the Vari-Lite VLX Wash luminaries in Asia as well as the honor of being the first in the world to showcase the VLX Wash at an international event. They purchased 24 pieces for their inventory, with 18 being used for the F1 Rocks Concert.

Joe Gan went on to say, “The saturation, uniformity, and wide spectrum of colors of the VLX Wash offer unlimited possibilities for lighting designers and due to its sheer speed it can also be used as a strobe. We were confident that the VLX would perform up to expectations and that is why we forged ahead to be the first to showcase the new luminaire at an event that was to be broadcast world-wide. We are very pleased with the outcome and frankly we are now ready to commit to another 24 lights.”

Total Solution Marketing provided the VLX Wash luminaires to the Show Company for F1 Rocks and was onsite as well to witness the debut of the much-anticipated luminaire. Glenn Wong, Managing Director of Total Solution Marketing, said, “I first saw the VLX in April at Frankfurt and was immediately impressed with its performance capabilities. I was very excited and strongly believed the VLX has great potential to be widely accepted in our markets. It was with immense satisfaction to witness the live debut of the VLX Wash in such an exacting production on our home soil. We received ‘thumbs up’ from all the top lighting designers for the performance of VLX during F1 Rocks. The Show Company who initially ordered 24 units of the VLX has now doubled their order to 48 fixtures. This alone speaks volume on the immediate acceptance and confidence in the VLX by the top professionals.”

Previously in the entertainment lighting industry, automated LED fixtures which were unable to stand up to the rigors and requirements of concert touring paved an unpleasant road for future LED luminaires. But the VLX Wash is changing those perceptions by demonstrating how it can actually assist in the reduction of ownership costs through reduced maintenance and an increased source life.

By offering a continuously adjustable color temperature white range between approximately 3,000 and 9,000 Kelvin, the VLX Wash is the ideal solution for outdoor venues who will be broadcasting as well in HDTV.

After working with the VLX Wash luminaire for the first time, ZZ Top lighting designer Chris Stuba said, “I first saw the VLX product demonstration in Dallas with George Masek, and I was totally blown away with the possibilities of the light. Who knew that I would be using them so soon in Singapore. Their downstage location was pretty high, maybe 45’, but the lights read well and the color was great. I love using the red color range and the reliability of a Vari-Lite fixture is unmatched today. With budgets getting smaller you need to get the most out of the lights you carry and that is exactly what Vari-Lite fixtures allow you to do. I will definitely use them when the next opportunity arises. Congratulations to Vari-Lite for making another great product.”

Singapore is the first city in which Formula One has implemented the F1 Rocks concept of combining concerts with the raw adrenalin of grand prix racing. Generating more buzz at the world’s most popular annual sporting series was the presence of stars such as Beyonce, No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas, ZZ Top, A-Mei and many others from around the world. The 3-day music festival was organized by Universal Music Group International through a joint venture with the event production company, All The Worlds, in partnership with Formula One Administration Ltd. It is the only officially F1 endorsed concert during the F1 Grand Prix week.

Lighting designers and dealers are always excited about innovative and new technologies, and this is why The Show Company and Ross Williams were thrilled to be the first to utilize the VLX Wash luminaire. Looking back on the event as a whole, Williams concluded, “The VLX Wash and all the Vari-Lite products withstood a grueling week of near constant programming in a very warm and humid outdoor environment with no casualties, so top marks for that. I heard no complaints back from the bands or visiting lighting designers and the overall mission was a complete success.”

To fully enhance the entirety of the project and to demonstrate the full breadth of the Philips product line, Philips Lighting was once again selected to light up the Formula One night race track. Philips Lighting projectors were selected because their performance achieves near-daylight conditions at night, providing a safe environment for drivers on the race track, even at speeds of more than 300km per hour. The lighting system avoids glare by projecting the light beams at different angles rather than vertically.

As well as providing safe driving conditions for drivers, Philips luminaires are also designed to provide an exciting experience for race attendees and television viewers at home by meeting High Definition Television (HDTV) broadcast standards.

The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore was fitted with nearly 1,500 lighting projectors, illuminating the 5.067km track with light that is four times brighter than a football stadium at night. Because the track is a street circuit, the lighting system is temporary. The heights of the lights will vary to accommodate the trees lining the road. The lights are also set deliberately lower than the canopy, and will not interfere with underground public services such as water and gas pipes, and electricity cables.

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