The multi-generational Northwest Bible Church in Dallas, Texas, holds regular concerts for its congregation, designing atmospheric looks and lighting effects using Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile luminaires.
The church’s lighting director, Matthew Hughes, worked with Tyler Gannaway, Vari-Lite Business Development Manager Central and Eastern Rental & Touring at Signify, to source the VL1600 fixtures. Hughes’ aim was to utilize the VL1600’s VL*FX wheel to add movement to the textures projected on the walls, and the tuneable white engine and wide color range to create the perfect atmosphere for the concerts.
“The VL1600s provide strong backlight and texture,” says Hughes. “They make a significant difference in the overall look and allow me to achieve exactly the right mood and atmosphere. These fixtures are a great fit for us because they work within the power constraints of our space and at the same time provide enough punch to render clear images even after layering multiple gobos with deep colors.”
Hughes and the team have rigged the VL1600 Profiles at balcony level, at the front of house position and on the stage behind the concert vocalists.
“The VL1600 Profiles were my first experience with a tuneable source and it’s my favorite part of the fixture,” Hughes continues. “Vari-Lite makes it extremely easy to navigate between the two temperatures. Often times when using a CTO flag, you can lose output, or it won’t quite match the rest of the fixtures on stage but that wasn’t the case here. Being able to manipulate color temperature at the source of the fixture allows me to approach each scene with a greater level of control and precision. There’s also a sweet spot in between the cold and warm sources that can give you a noticeable boost in output when you need it.”
Hughes’ designs primarily focus on using the VL1600 fixtures to render texture on the walls and ceiling, creating magical effects, and using the framing shutters to frame walls on the stage to create modular looks.
“I also often find myself using the VL*FX wheel to add movement to the texture projected on the walls. It’s a very innovative effect. Having five beautifully designed patterns to choose from is fantastic. The replication of organic elements in the wheel and the ‘endless’ movement is what makes it fun to use.”
Noise within the space during the sermons requires quiet operation and control. “The fan control is a huge win, there are some very quiet moments in each service and having the option to sacrifice a little output to significantly reduce the room noise makes my directors really happy,” he says.
“Vari-Lite has a track record of making industry staple luminaries that push the boundaries of automated lighting and they’ve done just that with the VL1600 Profile.”