Assistant Professor David Hardy raves about the color and power of the 700-watt fixture from Philips Vari-Lite
Published Monday, July 7, 2014
by Philips Vari-Lite

At Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Department of Theatre strives to entertain, instruct, move and motivate audiences of all sizes. During their recent production of Shrek: The Musical, Assistant Professor David Hardy was challenged to live up to this motto through an energetic and compelling lighting design that could bring the full production to life. To do so, he needed extra punch and color from his lighting tools, so he turned to Philips Vari-Lite and chose VL770 Spot luminaires as his ideal design solution.

“When we first started the design process we hadn’t planned on using any moving fixtures, but as we got further into the script, we realized we needed multiple lighting positions and a wide range of color options,” began Hardy. “Looking at the automated luminaires available, we didn’t have space for large fixtures and they had to be able to operate on 110V. The VL770 Spot luminaires gave us everything we needed through an overall better quality of light with dynamic specials and powerful color punches.”

As a theatre educator and professional, this was the first time that Hardy had actually used a Vari-Lite automated luminaire, and while it was initially the color options that impressed him, the VL770 Spot also had a few more surprises in store.

Hardy continued, “This was my first time to use a Vari-Lite luminaire of any kind and while I was really impressed with the color saturation and the punch, I also really liked the gobos and effects that could be created. Using them in a theatrical environment they were quieter than I thought they would be and they were very reliable. Overall, I would have to say I was very impressed with the VL770 Spot in every respect.”

The VL770 Spot luminaire contains everything that really matters to designers; limitless color options, unmatched clarity of optics, exceptional zoom range, and powerful output. With a 700-watt MSR Gold Philips MiniFastFit lamp that produces 15,100 lumens, the VL770 Spot provides brilliant color mixing through a three-wheel CYM color assembly, and also has one gobo wheel with seven rotatable and indexable positions, a second gobo wheel with ten fixed positions, a zoom range from 15-36 degrees, and a mechanical iris for continuous beam size control.

“One of the things I liked most about the design was that the VL770 Spots gave me the ability to go really far with the yellows and the greens that I usually can’t get from traditional gels and fixtures,” added Hardy. “I put two of the VL770 luminaires on a high-left position and their stark yellow wheel blowing in from the side was absolutely amazing.”

As with any university environment, Hardy knew that while he had the VL770 Spot luminaires for the production, he also had the opportunity to use the fixtures as a teaching tool for his design students. And this was an opportunity he did not want to pass up.

“Having them in the university environment not only enhanced our production but it also gave us a great teaching moment. Our students were able to actually put their hands on the fixtures while taking them from case to truss, and they had time to take a look inside to really see how they work. This gave them not only a better understanding of the technology behind the fixture, but also better prepared them for their individual careers as lighting designers and technicians once they leave the university.”

With the show now closed, Hardy is excited to continue using Vari-Lite automated luminaires when possible so that the productions taking place at Lipscomb University can have the same identifiable characteristics as other productions around the world, such as the color provided by Vari-Lite luminaires.

He concluded, “There are theatre productions around the world that when you see a picture you know they used Vari-Lite luminaires. By using the VL770 Spot luminaires we were able to do those same looks. With the design of this show, it all came back to the punch and the color. I absolutely fell in love with the color palette of the VL770 Spot and they are extremely versatile lights. We absolutely loved the opportunity to use them.”

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