All Quiet on the Middle Eastern Front
Printed with permission from Lighting Dimensions magazine
Published Monday, June 21, 2004

By Mark A. Newman
When Bombay Dreams explodes off the Broadway Theatre stage night after night, audiences will hear a panoply of musical styles ranging from traditional Indian music to modern pop tunes, to bombastic rock. What audiences won't hear, however, are the sounds of the automated fixtures thanks to the new VARI*LITE® Series 3000™ Q fixtures specified by LD Hugh Vanstone.

Vanstone used 16 of the new spot luminaires, which are hung directly over the stage. He had originally spec'd the original VL3000™ Spot units but associate LD Philip Rosenberg thought that the Q series would be more apt. "As an Englishman he's obsessed with a quiet, quiet rig," Rosenberg says of Vanstone. "I was afraid that there would be too much fan noise and I needed to do something about it."

Rosenberg said he was amazed at how quiet the lighting rig turned out to be. "It was wild," he says. "I did not hear anything overhead which is really bizarre for a rig with over 150 moving lights and a trim that's not super tall." The Q fixtures look the same as the original 1200W Series 3000 fixtures; the real difference is within as it achieves a 50% reduction in audible noise output.

Rosenberg admits that Bombay Dreams is a loud show so quiet fixtures were not integral, however he knew from experience that LDs never want anyone saying how loud the lights are regardless of a show's exuberance. He relates one story of how a well-respected LD had to replace "a ton of moving lights" because the director was complaining about fan noise.

Quiet fixtures are likely here to stay, according to Rosenberg. "Things must be quiet. Scenery is very quiet now and you want to be able to hone the audience's attention," he says. "Their senses are getting bombarded with lights, music, sounds, and so forth. In a quiet moment, people respond so you need to get rid of all that extra garbage."

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