Looking to create a modern spin on a classic “wall of light” look for the latest tour of multiplatinum pop music group the Jonas Brothers, lighting designer Alex Reardon looked to VL5LED Wash and VL3600 Profile IP luminaires from Vari-Lite, the originators of the modern moving head light fixture and Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) entertainment lighting brand. The design includes 108 VL5LEDs and 145 VL3600s from Solotech.

One unique issue for the design was the 360-degree seating environment. “The biggest challenge was the dichotomy between needing a suitably scaled wall of lights and the fact that the tour was sold 360,” explains Alex. To achieve the look, Alex used pods of VL5LED Wash luminaires connected to a motion control system that could pull the rig out of the way when the band moved to the B Stage.

“This is a lighting-heavy show without a ton of video content, so the pods of VL5LEDs drive a lot of the creative energy in the room,” says Jonathan D. Martin, Lighting Director for the tour. After asking, “Who doesn’t love the iconic look of the VL5?!” Jonathan adds, “The LED blades around the ring of the fixture also adds a unique look that we utilize during several songs.”

“The VL5LEDs were pure eye candy,” echoes Alex. “I can remember using the first VL5s back in the mists of time, and the wow-factor of a fixture that could blend those wonderful dichroics has stayed with me to this day. The modern iteration gives me that classic look, but also with more ‘punch,’ more reliability, more beam options (without having to slice a finger off changing lenses) and are so easy to work with, they are now right up there on my list of favourite fixtures.”

In addition to the VL5LEDs, the design also included VL3600 Profile IP fixtures in key and audience light positions, leveraging their broad feature set and IP rating. “The VL3600s are fantastic fixtures with all the bells and whistles any LD could ever want,” says Alex. “The extraordinary precision of colour was so useful and reliable.  We were able to make slight changes to colour temp and just knew it would be there every day.”

“This 3-hour show contains almost 70 different songs, so having fixtures that provided the capabilities to get so many unique looks was a must. The VL3600s bring a feature set that makes them ideal for this show,” says Jonathan. “In one moment, they will be in a high-energy ballyhoo and in the next they’re key light with precise, theatrical-level shaper capabilities. The VL3600s are also very bright, which was needed in a profile fixture for the stadium shows.”

Thanks to their IP65 rating, the VL3600s continued to perform no matter the weather. “We kicked off this primarily arena tour with several outdoor stadium dates, so having the IP-rated VL3600 was a major benefit!” says Jonathan. “We had one show where it rained and water poured from the DS truss, and yet the fixtures kept working perfectly through the rest of the performance.”

For both Alex and Jonathan, the fixtures – and the Vari-Lite team – offered exactly what they needed for their production. Alex declared he would use the fixtures again “in a heartbeat,” a statement Jonathan echoed, declaring, “I feel safe to say the VL3600 and VL5LED fit our needs perfectly. This is a long tour, and I’ve been really happy with the performance of both fixtures. And as always, I’m grateful for the support from Vari-Lite when we need some assistance on the road!”

“The VL3600 has proved to be an excellent addition to our LED source IP rated lighting inventory,” adds Dave Evans, Director of Lighting at Solotech. “From seeing the prototype back in early 2022 to the present day, there has been nothing but positive feedback from designers, crew and our operations team. It even surpasses what we expected from the long relationship between Solotech and Vari-lite with their history of the brand. As always, the full support from the Vari-Lite Team has been excellent and we look forward to a long future with the VL3600 Profile IP.”

Project credits:

Production Designer: Baz Halpin/Silent House.

Lighting Designer: Alex Reardon/Silent House.

Production Manager: Omar Abderraham.

Lighting Programmer: Mark Humphrey.

Lighting Director: Jonathan D. Martin.

Programming Support: Eric Marchwinski/Earlybird Visual.

Lighting Gear: Solotech.

Lighting Crew Chief: Terry Smith.

Lighting Crew: Andrew Williamson, Brian Bukovinsky, Josh Gezzi, Leo Dumont

Frenette, Mathieu Blais, Roberto Duarte, Kayla Dietz.

Automation And Pods: SGPS.

Images: @cynthiaparkhurst.

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