VL3000 Units are Last-Minute Addition to REM Tour
Published Thursday, November 18, 2004

With just a few weeks until R.E.M was to head out on its current world tour, lighting designer Susanne Sasic had already determined the lighting package she would use for the show. Then she received a phone call from George Masek inviting her to a Vari-Lite open house and product demo in New York.

After seeing the VARI*LITE® Series 3000 luminaires, Sasic made a last-minute change to the automated lighting plot, swapping out some of the fixtures she had already spec'd with VL3000™ Wash units.

"I went over to the open house and was very impressed," Sasic explained. "The beam spread on the VL3000 fixtures is amazing. We swapped them out for some of the other lights I had spec'd on the rig, and I'm very glad we did."

Making the change was not an issue since Bandit Lites, the lighting equipment provider for the tour, had recently added a number of the Series 3000 fixtures to its inventory.

"The New York event was to debut the new VL3500™ luminaires with shutters," said Masek, Vari-Lite's product manager. "We had all of our Series 3000 products on hand, and Susanne was interested in the wash units. Fortunately, the company providing the lighting, Bandit Lites, was a VARI*LITE dealer, so it was convenient for her to take the other units off the show and add the VARI*LITE fixtures."

Richard Willis of Bandit Lites added, "Being a VARI*LITE dealer allows us the opportunity to take care  of all our clients needs. We are extremely pleased Susanne was able to utilize these fine fixtures in such a dynamic manner. Their versatility suits her design perfectly."

Sasic positioned all of the VARI*LITE units on the floor - two each on the downstage corners and four of them upstage. The four upstage fixtures wash the backdrop, which is a series of translucent Polygal Pentaglas plastic panels. Sasic programmed the downstage units to create various looks throughout the show, but primarily uses them as shinbusters for the band and to cast shadows on the backdrop.

The backdrop is rectangular, translucent corrugated plastic approximately 8 mm thick. Although Sasic used three LED lighting fixtures behind the backdrop, she also needed light in front of the backdrop. For that, she uses the VL3000 fixtures for more traditional "wash light looks."

The four downstage units are a different story.

"I have more control over the VL3000 units that I would over any other wash light," Sasic noted. "So many times during the show I use the (10 to 60 degree)zoom range to tighten the beam down and make them look as if they're more of a narrow beam, almost like a hard-edge instrument."

For other segments of the show, Sasic turns the downstage units to throw shadows on the backdrop.

"Most of the shows I design don't really depend on different beam looks, and I don't use much haze, so I find myself gravitating toward wash lights," Sasic noted. "It's really nice to have a wash light that I can control. The versatility of the VL3000 fixtures is wonderful."

R.E.M. will tour North America through the end of the year, then head to Europe, followed by Asia and Australia before returning to Europe during the Summer 2005.

"The show looks great," Sasic said. "It doesn't look like any other show that I've designed before."



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