Cleveland, OH, USA – Vari-Lite's feature-rich VL2600 Profile luminaire answered some crucial questions for lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols in his design for Cleveland Orchestra’s production of Richard Strauss’s comic opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. For Nichols, the VL2600 Profile’s compact build, low-noise operation and impressive features and output fulfilled a number of specific challenges.
Cleveland’s Severance Hall, the venue for the performance, is one of the USA’s older concert halls and presents certain challenges to lighting designers. “Severance Hall is known for its excellent acoustics but, for a theatrical production, it presents a challenge when adding a temporary lighting system,” explains Nichols. “Firstly, there are few positions available for the hanging of luminaires and secondly, due to the very live acoustics, fan and electronic noise can be very detrimental to the production.”
These challenges meant that Nichols’ lighting fixture choices had to be very carefully made. “The main features I was looking for,” says Nichols, “were low noise output and a compact size, to allow for more fixtures to fit in the limited space. I also needed adequate lumen output, a good zoom range and framing shutters.”
Through his contacts at supplier Vincent Lighting Systems, Nichols was introduced to the compact, quiet, LED-based VL2600 Profile. He says, “I’ve always been a big fan of Vari-Lite products. The VL2600 attracted me because of its small size, low noise, and relatively high lumen output. In past designs at Severance Hall, I’ve used VL1100AS units, because they are also fairly low-noise fixtures. The VL2600s were a natural step up from those.”
Nichols specified 17 of the new luminaires in his rig, all hung above the stage on overhead truss. “All the VL2600s were dedicated to performer lighting,” he says. “This concentrated on color and texture washes in combination with very sharp, bright geometric squares and polygons of light to etch out performance areas. While the units provided nice color and texture washes, the ones used for the ‘boxes of light’ were clean and clear, which helped them cut through the washes very well.”
The new generation of LED Vari-Lites has more than lived up to Nichols’ respect for the brand. He says, “I was impressed by how many features were packed into this small unit. They have a good array of gobo options, framing shutters and fast, quiet movement. I will certainly be using the VL2600 again.”
Christopher Shick, VLS Production Manager, says, “VLS chose to invest heavily in the VL2600, as they offer a high-quality, flexible, automated fixture to our customers. They produce a brilliant beam of light, vivid and saturated colors, with fast adjustment between beam sizes and different effects. They are quickly becoming a favorite of our customers, as they continue to perform flawlessly and produce beautiful results.”