VL4000 Spot Luminaires Are An ‘Ace In The Hole’ At The Grammy And Academy Awards
When working in the world of live television production, the lighting rig stands at the forefront called upon to provide a wide variety of creative looks. Nowhere is this more important than on two of television’s most-watched events, the Grammy and Academy Awards, where both productions showcase a number of artists with individual lighting needs. As a veteran of both productions, lighting director and programmer Andy O’Reilly knows exactly what it takes to bring all these performances to life, and this year, he and his team got to do so with the assistance of VL4000 Spot luminaires from Philips Vari-Lite.
“During the shows, we may get a request from an artist about the approach to their performance so in terms of instrumentation, we design a plot to provide a wide variety of looks for situations we know we will come across,” began O’Reilly. “In the production design for both shows, we have to have the best options for creation on site so in the plot we are looking for lights that are both strong and powerful, but also versatile in their functionality. We have to make sure that we can give the performances a variety of looks and that’s where the VL4000 Spot really showcases what it can do.”
As the production team was gearing up for the 2015 Grammy and Academy Awards, O’Reilly and his team were offered the opportunity to use the new VL4000 Spots, to which they eagerly accepted. While he had previously only seen the VL4000 Spot in demos and online, he was excited to be able use them for himself.
“For the Beyoncé performance at the Grammy Awards, she was standing in front of 12 choir members which they wanted to have cross-lit, so we needed floor lights to make this happen,” he continued. “Since we didn’t want the cross-light to hit Beyoncé, we needed lights that were strong enough to give us the levels desired on the choir but they also had to have shutters. To do this, we placed VL4000 Spots on each side of the stage and they performed perfectly. They are powerful with great optics and they light people very well.”
The VL4000 Spot from Philips Vari-Lite includes all the tools needed to create dynamic and useful lighting on any stage, as every aspect of the luminaire has been designed with performance in mind. The 1200W VL4000 Spot boasts 33,000 lumens as well as a quiet Studio mode which outputs 25,000 lumens. Its high resolution optics ensure remarkable center-to-edge focusing and an unprecedented contrast ratio while a 5:1 zoom covers an amazing 9 to 47 degrees without sacrificing output or clarity.
“On the John Legend and Common performance at the Grammy Awards, they had light box windows which had the ability to rotate to an open position, and we needed to be able to shoot light through them once opened. While in the past we might have had to use a much larger fixture to get the power needed, we didn’t have to this year because we had the VL4000 Spots. Initially, we weren’t sure if this was going to be a beam or a gobo style look, so the VL4000 Spots really worked out well because it was able to do both and we were able to decide on site. The intensity of the VL4000 Spots worked perfect for this shot as well.”
With the Infinity Color Mix System, the VL4000 Spot offers CYM colour mixing along with variable CTO colour temperature correction and dual five-position colour wheels. As a result, the luminaire has incredibly smooth colour mixing whether operating in a slow fade or instant snap, and the dual opposing fixed colour wheels achieve unique colour effects, providing a multitude of multi-color combinations. The VL4000 Spot luminaire also features dual rotating gobo wheels with a remarkable new collection of optimised gobo patterns for both aerial and projected imagery. Dual animation wheels provide dynamic motion effects as well as the chromatically tuned Dichro*Fusion effect. The beam can be further modified via the precise four blade shutter system and mechanical iris, plus an independent prism with divergence control and variable frost are also implemented into the luminaire.
“At the Academy Awards, we really viewed the VL4000 Spots as our ‘ace in the hole’ light. We first used them at the top of the show during the opening number with Neil Patrick Harris to give us a ballyhoo effect for the walk-on. For this, they provided a great hard-edge and bright look. We next used them to light a curtain of hanging crystals for the Rita Ora performance, and they worked great here too because they gave us the power needed, but also gave us the shutter cuts to keep the light off other scenic elements. We then used them again during the Maroon 5 performance to give us a graphic, beam light. In all instances of the show, they gave us so many great options and really showed us how valuable the VL4000 Spots can be in this type of production.”
With the Grammy and Academy Awards being the first time for O’Reilly to use VL4000 Spot luminaires, he is quick to recognise what the characteristics are that truly set it apart from the competition. Plus, he is also confident in the value of the VL4000 Spot for future productions as well.
“I really like the VL4000 Spot because it’s a hard-edge unit with shutters. Many times in the past, lights have either been a beam-size iris light or a shuttering light. This would always force us to decide which type of light to place where, but with the VL4000 Spot it has both capabilities. They are powerful, they have great optics, and their effects give us so many different options. While this was one of the first exposures for our design team to the VL4000 Spot, we will definitely be using them more in the future.”
As a leading designer and manufacturer of premiere automated lighting systems, Philips Vari-Lite provides equipment and services to the entertainment industry, serving such markets as concert touring, theatre, television, film, cruise lines, houses-of-worship, and corporate events. Vari-Lite automated lighting systems are available through a worldwide network of independent professional dealers.
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