Head of Lighting Brent Hageman upgrades to VL880 Spot luminaires for the Sirens of TI
Published Monday, March 11, 2013
by Philips Vari-Lite


Nightly in Siren’s Cove, the Sirens of TI enchant and mesmerize crowds gathered outside at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In a show filled with renegade pirates and beautiful temptresses clashing on the 17th century seas, Head of Lighting Brent Hageman and his technical team have the arduous task of keeping the production on the edge spectacular. To do so, the lighting rig recently underwent an equipment upgrade where where the Sirens’ lighting crew installed 22 VARI-LITE VL880 Spot luminaires, provided by PRG.

“I have been at Treasure Island since 1998 where I started off as a lighting and sound assistant,” began Hageman. “The old rig had been in place since 2003 so it was time for an upgrade. Since the fixtures are outdoors and sit inside Tempest Domes, size and heat management were our main concerns. In Vegas we see everything from rain to snow to intense heat where during the day it can be between 110°-120°. The VL880 Spot was the best fixture we found to overcome all these challenges and they are exceeding all our expectations.”

Having been with the production for a number of years, Hageman was excited when he received approval to upgrade the lighting system and he began by looking at the spot luminaires within his design. While he didn’t exactly know which spot luminaire he would choose, he was confident that the fixture would be a VARI-LITE automated luminaire, and so he began working with PRG to find the ideal light.

“I began to look at what the various lighting manufacturers had available and Vari-Lite seems to have the best equipment out there today. We started by looking at the VL3000 Spot and VL3500 Spot but they were just too big. In dealing with Barbara Brennan at PRG, she sent me information on the VL880 Spots then she and Ray Whitton came over to demo the light and I loved it. The output and speed of the VL880 Spot are phenomenal.”

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With his choice made, Hageman and his technical crew of Ken Taber, Jeff Baligian and Mike Evans got to work installing and programming the new fixtures which are complete with all of the optical quality and functionality designers have come to expect from Philips Vari-Lite. The VL880 Spot utilizes an 800-watt MSR Platinum 35 lamp to produce 19,000 lumens of output, it has a zoom range from 15º to 36º, a mechanical iris for continuous beam control, and brilliant color mixing through its three-wheel CYM color assembly. When combined with the eight standard colors on a fixed wheel, the color options of the VL880 Spot are practically limitless.

Hageman continued, “All the fixtures are now placed along the boardwalk in the front of the hotel and we use them primarily to add the key lighting effects to our show through their power, rich color, gobo patterns and all the various looks that they can provide. One of the coolest features of the VL880 Spot is the rotating prism. I like being able to have a rotating gobo and then throw a rotating prism in front of it to make a great effect. We also do a lot of special events in front of the hotel and it’s nice to have a fixture that is up for any challenge. You never know what the marketing department may come up with and the VL880 Spots add a lot of elements that just weren’t possible with our previous fixtures.”

The VL880 Spot also has a drop-in frost glass assembly that allows designers to soften the overall beam, allowing for additional beam control. A coated glass dimmer wheel provides smooth fades, and a separate dual-blade strobe system offers quiet and reliable strobe effects. For image projection, the fixture has one gobo wheel with seven rotatable and indexable positions and a second gobo wheel with ten fixed positions.

Hageman concluded, “I really can’t say anything bad about the VL880 Spot. The brightness out of such a small fixture is simply incredible. It has power and punch as big as the day is long and the speed of the pan/tilt is amazing. They can really move. A lot of moving lights can move fast, but to have everything else that this light does and still move that fast, it’s very impressive.”

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