Published Wednesday, April 18, 2012
by Philips Vari-Lite

LD for Florence and the Machine, Chris Bushell, is using VL3500 Wash and VL3000 Spot luminaires from Philips Vari-Lite to deliver his evocative and atmospheric lighting design for the band's sold-out world tour.

Playing venues such as Alexandra Palace, MEN Arena, plus a raft of vast spaces in Europe and the USA, Bushell’s lighting skillfully pulls the audience focus to the centre of the stage without losing the essential theatricality of the early Florence shows.

Lighting is ethereal with Bushell using it more as a statement than for big effects. He discusses, “The overall theme is based around 1920s Baroque fashion and architecture. While a great deal of thought and planning went into the set, I also wanted the presence of the lighting to complement and exploit the space around the set piece. The VL3000 Spots were perfect for this. With their wide angles and long throw I was able to use them as top and back/side light. The VL3500 Wash fixtures fanned out from the centre mimicking the set and creating an almost physical beam presence in the air.”

Indeed beams of lights hit the stage from a plethora of angles and heights to create an impressively architectural look. Working with the set, and arts and crafts style projections, lighting is angular and sculptural. Bushell uses a rich palette of color; deep hues of orange, yellow, red and blue wash over the stage while Florence’s famously gothic alabaster white skin still shimmers seductively under clean sharp top and side light. “Another part of the original brief was "to employ an esoteric color palette," continues Bushell. “In particular we use a certain teal green, which is used on the set along with particular golds and ambers. The Series 3000 luminaires were great for complimenting and cutting through these colors, which I didn't necessarily want to appear on Florence's skin tone or costume. I find that getting the more fiddly colors right is much easier and consistent from a Philips Vari-Lite fixture. Things like the CTO's, Straws and Ambers along with subtle pinks and steels. This time round I played with them a lot more.”

The show is all about Florence and at no point does Bushell upstage or lose her on what can often seem like a vast playing area for one singer. The lighting is clean, defined and focused. Bushell says he chose to use the Series 3000 luminaires because, “They still pack enough punch at long distances for great airborne effects, yet are also great for sympathetically lighting the subject. Overall this allowed me, along with considered use of DMX controlled followspots, to isolate and control Flo's environment, blending her in or separating her from the stage. Either way I had the control I wanted. So I was able to keep the intimate theatrical feel that Florence loves but in a large arena environment.”

David March, Director, European Sales for Philips Vari-Lite comments, “The VL3000 Spot and VL3500 Wash fixtures have had an undeniable impact on the concert lighting industry. Their color and optical systems provide lighting designers with the exact tools needed to capture the essence of their lighting designs, and to have them showcased on a tour such as this is indeed a testament to their worth.”

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