Features

THE VL4000 SPOT LUMINAIRE DEBUTS AT THE BEST BUY CHARITY CLASSIC
Lighting Designer Michael Murnane works with Clearwing Productions to finally “beat the room”
 
Published Tuesday, July 1, 2014
by Philips Vari-Lite

Together Best Buy and the Best Buy Foundation support nonprofit organizations across the United States. The Best Buy Charity Classic seeks to raise money for the foundation through a golf and fishing tournament with an evening gala and concert featuring a headlining artist. In creating the lighting design for the evening gala and concert, LD Michael Murnane annually faces a formidable challenge in how to bring the entire room together into a cohesive production. At the 2014 Best Buy Charity Classic, Murnane worked with Clearwing Productions to not only solve this challenge, but he also became the first designer worldwide to utilize the new VL4000 Spot luminaire from Philips Vari-Lite.

“The biggest challenge in lighting this event is the room itself,” began Murnane. “We are in a giant white room and directly above the stage is a dome structure that measures 210 feet wide with a 90 foot peak. The dome itself draws focus away from the stage and because of its physical size there has never been an effective way to light it. We have tried just about everything to make it work, but we needed a fixture with serious punch to fully bring it into the design and that’s where the VL4000 Spot finally helped me overcome the challenge of battling the room.”

When Murnane first began meeting the Clearwing Productions about the design for the 2014 Charity Classic, it was Aaron Hubbard, Business Development Manager, who first brought up the idea of using the new VL4000 Spot. Based upon their previous working experience together to debut lighting products, Murnane was excited to get his hands on the latest product offering from Philips Vari-Lite with 12 VL4000 Spot luminaires.

“We do a lot of work with Clearwing Productions and I love that they are so aggressive when it comes to getting the latest product innovations such as the VL4000 Spot,” continued Murnane. “While I had not actually seen the VL4000 Spot before the event, Aaron had told me about it and made a lot of claims about its capabilities. When we got the lights onsite, he was absolutely right about all of it because there are a lot of things right with this fixture. Before we started programming we wanted to see what the lights could do so we took one fixture and rolled it to the front of house. As soon as we plugged it into the console and pointed it at the dome, I was very impressed and I am very excited about this light.”

“In my experience of being on the receiving end of product innovations from Philips Vari-Lite, I can honestly say the VL4000 Spot sets a new standard,” said Hubbard. “By providing a fixture that is not only faster, brighter, quieter, lighter, and more feature rich then the world renowned Series 3000 luminaries, the VL4000 Spot proved to be the most robust fixture to date with a very impressive opening show debut at the Best Buy Charity Classic.”



The new VL4000 Spot from Philips Vari-Lite includes all the tools needed to create dynamic and useful lighting on any stage as every aspect of the luminaire has been designed with performance in mind. The 1200W VL4000 Spot boasts 33,000 lumens as well as a quiet Studio mode which outputs 25,000 lumens. Its high resolution optics ensure remarkable center-to-edge focusing and an unprecedented contrast ratio while a 5:1 zoom covers an amazing 9 to 47 degrees without sacrificing output or clarity.

Murnane continued, “For the design, I placed the 12 VL4000 Spots on the floor in front of the projection screens and pointed them at the dome. We started with a few color changes and then some beam size changes, and not only were they able to get a beautiful color wash but when we brought in the effects wheels and the gobo wheels the VL4000 Spot still had an amazing amount of punch. Due to its power, we were able to create a beautiful water effect for the dinner portion of the gala and everyone was commenting on how beautiful it looked. Over the years, I have pointed a lot of lights at that dome but I’ve never been happy with the outcome. With the VL4000 Spot I was finally able to beat the room because it gave me a way to make the entire room feel like it was part of a cohesive lighting design and allowed me to fill the whole picture.”

With the new Infinity Color Mix System the VL4000 Spot offers CYM color mixing along with variable CTO color temperature correction and dual five-position color wheels. As a result, the luminaire has incredibly smooth color mixing whether operating in a slow fade or instant snap and the dual opposing fixed color wheels achieve unique color effects, providing a multitude of multi-color combinations. The VL4000 Spot luminaire also features dual rotating gobo wheels with a remarkable new collection of optimized gobo patterns for both aerial and projected imagery. Dual animation wheels provide dynamic motion effects as well as the chromatically tuned Dichro*Fusion effect. The beam can be further modified via the precise four blade shutter system and mechanical iris, plus an independent prism with divergence control and variable frost are also implemented into the luminaire.

Murnane added, “It’s amazing the number of color changes and gobo changes that are capable with the VL4000 Spot and it’s all so fast. The speed of the head is a game-changer in my opinion. I actually think if I got to spend a week with the fixture I could get it to do a lot of things that people haven’t even thought about yet. I can already tell I am going to have to spend a lot of time with Aaron in his shop and really get to work with the VL4000 Spot.”



As Murnane was ecstatic about the feature set of the new VL4000 Spot, his lighting rig for the evening gala was full of additional Vari-Lite fixtures as well including 13 VL3015 Spot, eight VL3515 Spot, 20 VL880 Spot and five VL3500 Wash luminaires. Qualifying them as his workhorse moving heads, Murnane admits that the majority of his lighting designs rely largely on lighting tools from Philips Vari-Lite.

“Lighting tools need to be able to light as they always have and they can’t just be one-purpose lights. You will always have to light the people and the scenery while still creating the wow factor and that’s why I use Vari-Lite luminaires. In this design, I used the VL3515 Spots as my front lights, as they often are when there are elements that I need to shutter cut. I then like to use the VL3015 Spots for gobo washes and as highlight back lights for the band members. With the VL880 Spots, I rely on their speed and hard edge beams that go out into the house. And finally, I call the VL3500 Wash fixtures my big par cans, and because of their brightness, color saturation and zoom capabilities, they are always my standard wash light.”

At the end of the 2014 Best Buy Charity Classic, both Murnane and the event producers were extremely pleased with the new lighting design and how the VL4000 Spot allowed them to finally bring the entire room together. While he primarily used the new luminaires to overcome his challenge of lighting the dome, he is quick to explain how it’s the multitude of features that will excite other lighting designers around the world.

Murnane concluded, “The VL4000 Spot gives a designer so many options. I think most will be excited about its brightness, animation wheels and its speed but when I talk about the speed it’s not just the speed of the head, it’s the speed of everything that’s inside. It’s remarkable how fast you can switch gobos and color and that means a lot. During this production, I kept being overwhelmed by the punch because there is a lot of light coming out of the VL4000 Spot. They are light cannons but the light is clean with a fantastic color saturation. The VL4000 Spot is a wonderful new lighting tool and I look forward to using it a lot in my future designs.”


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