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Luminus big chip LED invigorates Philips

The company says its VARI*LITE VLX CBM-380 wash luminaires deliver performance, reliability and reduced maintenance.

Luminus Devices has announced that the Philips Vari-Lite VLX Wash luminaires, powered by its CBM-380 colour mix Big Chip LED are at the heart of the replacement lighting rig recently installed at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.


Phlatlight LED from the CBM-380 Series

Not only did the new rig need to replace the flood damaged rig, it also had to be flexible enough to light a wide variety of stage performances and TV broadcasts yet mobile enough to make the Opry’s seasonal move for their Winter Series performances.

“When we started conceptualising what fixtures would be in the rig, I remembered a demo done by Thommy Hall with the VLX Wash at Bandit Lites, and how I was instantly impressed with its colour and colour-mixing,” said Tyler Bryan, lighting director, at the Opry.

“Chris Barbee suggested that we use the VLX as our primary wash and with the reduced maintenance issues of using a solid-state LED light source, they were a no-brainer. I love their ability to have colour with punch from an LED source that also has a fantastic white for TV. Maintenance needs are minimal, which is a huge selling point for us,” he continued.

Luminus says that lighting designers prefer the VLX Wash for a variety of reasons; the deep and rich colours that come from the LED source which are unmatched by any other LED wash available today, the fact they are more powerful, the special effects that can now be achieved, the drastically reduced maintenance, the increased efficiency and the reliability.

The artistic freedom a VLX Wash enables, earned Kevin Adams a Tony Award in Lighting Design for the Broadway production American Idiot. He credits the VLX fixtures for being “bright,” and for reacting quickly and making “saturated light look great.”

“The most exciting aspect of the VLX, besides the true LED white, is that it can strobe between multiple colours faster than the eye can perceive. I literally structured the opening of American Idiot around them and I can't imagine this design without them,” commented Adams.

The VLX Wash is claimed to require minimal maintenance and continues to surprise rig maintenance personell. “Our lighting rig is working roughly 40 hours per week, 160 hours per month, or 1920 hours per year. With a normal wash fixture in a typical Broadway rig, you have to swap out a fixture once or twice a month for various issues, but it took us nine months to touch our first VLX Wash, because there is no bulb in it and the amount of heat generated is significantly less than other moving lights,” said Eric Abbott, head electrician of American Idiot.

“Since the vital parts of the VLX are protected inside as a self-contained unit, and with minimal fans that may bring in dust or debris, we spend significantly less time per light than with any other fixture in the rig. I would estimate that by using the VLX Wash as our primary wash fixture we are saving at least 5-6 hours per week in crew time which brings down our overall production costs. From a production costs standpoint it would seem that the more VLX Wash you have in your rig, the larger the savings due to the elimination of bulb costs and the reduction in crew work costs. Plus you can definitely count on the VLX Wash to look the same on the very last performance as they did on the day you opened.”

Luminus’ CBM-380 chip that is the solid-state light engine of the VARI*LITE VLX Wash luminaire is also used in several other Philips fixtures: the VARI*LITE VLX3 Wash, as well as the Selecon PL1 and PL3. The benefit of all these fixtures is their colour quality that can do the aesthetic work of traditional fixtures efficiently enough to require less maintenance while continually delivering more reliability and brightness.

“When we began this program with Vari-Lite, our goal was to deliver a new kind of LED stage light, one that not only offered the obvious advantages of LED; efficiency, reliability, intense saturated colour and blindingly fast colour changes; but a fixture that also produced intense high quality white light, freedom from colour shadows and a traditional moving head form factor previously available only from lamp based fixtures,” says Don McDaniel, Director of Global Entertainment for Luminus.

 “It's gratifying to see the VLX receive the awards and accolades specifically validating our success in every one of these objectives. We're very proud of this fixture and our role in making it a reality and we're looking forward to seeing Philips Vari-Lite take these unique attributes to new users with products like the Selecon PL3 and the new VLX3 Wash.”
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