Philips Selecon helps C-venues LED the way in creative sustainability at Edinburgh Festival

Philips Entertainment supplied its Selecon PL range enabling C venues to take full advantage of the creative benefits of LED  Image: Transit, À Point Theatre Company (Switzerland)

Philips Entertainment supplied its Selecon PL range enabling C venues to take full advantage of the creative benefits of LED
Image: Transit, À Point Theatre Company (Switzerland)

This should be of interest for those that work( like I have) at the Edinburgh Fringe or want to. “C” Venues have been doing some upgrading. The story is as follows:

UK – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 saw Philips Entertainment brands – Selecon and Vari-Lite – work alongside leading venue producer C venues to increase the creative opportunities for over 170 of its international productions.

Philips Entertainment supplied a selection of the Selecon PL range of LED luminaires alongside Vari-Lite discharge and LED moving heads. All were delivered in tandem with onsite training and support throughout.

Enabling C venues to take full advantage of the creative benefits of LED in many more of its venues kit included the Selecon PLcyc1, the PLfresnel1 and the PLprofile1 augmented with the Vari-Lite VLX3 LED luminaires and VL440 Spot luminaires. In addition the VL440 Spot bought the energy efficiency of the super-bright 400-watt MSR Gold 400 MiniFastFit lamp plus a host of creative features including: powerful colour mixing, quiet and reliable strobe effects along with seven rotatable and indexable gobo positions.

Production manager for C venues Ben O’Grady, comments: “We run four venue locations offering everything from a conventional 160-seat proscenium theatre to a 12-seat found space serving dinner. Each hosts a continuous run of eight to ten shows a day, with an average of ten minutes turn around between performances. Many are restricted by limited power, no aircon and restricted rigging height.”

With shows running continuously O’Grady and head of production Richard Williamson demanded robust, feature rich luminaires that could accommodate the changing demands of each venue and within that, the performances it hosts. However for creative flexibility they also needed present a low power draw and heat output plus a small profile overhead.

LD Hartley T A Kemp (also C venues’ artistic director), Williamson and Beatrice Banionyte (C venues’ head of technical) design the lighting rigs. Williamson discusses: “We have to accommodate all creative demands from subtle multi cue shows to bright or colourful single state acts. Each company gets a warm and cool wash and can create special focuses plus they now have access to the stronger saturated colours for back and side lighting.”

In the bigger theatres the use of Vari-Lite VLX3 LED luminaires and VL440 Spots was especially useful. “The VLX3 LED luminaire has delighted visiting lighting designers. The VLX3 delivers clean, colour-balanced whites along with stunning saturated colours,” adds Williamson. “The excellent output combined with the energy savings and versatility of a moving head considerably add to what we can achieve creatively.”

In spaces where minimal power is of major concern the C venues team put the Selecon PLprofile1 and PLfresnel1s through their paces. This gave designers a greater range of colour mixing, while considerably reducing the power usage and heat output.

“In the C aquila studio the PLprofile1s and PLfresnel1s are used as a backlight, providing us with plenty of saturated colour washes with no degradation over time as you would with gel,” explains Williamson. “We can change the colour instantly which reduces the number of fixtures we need to rig for a backlight wash. We no longer have to rush up ladders to change the gel colour so creatively it’s very liberating.”

Heat can also be an issue. “LED has been very popular,” adds O’Grady. “It has given the companies the creative flexibility they require without the usually associated overbearing rig or noisy fans and air conditioning. We’ve found that one LED fixture – whether a moving Vari-Lite or a PLprofile1, PLcyc1 or PLfresnel1 can do the job of two or more tungsten units. The colour rendering is excellent and the range of white from warm to cool from a single unit is a big bonus.”

Martin Palmer, Vari-Lite and Showline Product Manager EMEA for Philips Entertainment, concludes: “It’s been great to meet the latest generation of young designers and techs and see them embrace LED in the same way that my generation did moving lights! It’s also exciting to see people who have no preconceptions about these luminaires deliver some incredible design ideas. To be honest they needed very little help from us but we were always there if they did have a question or concern.”

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