Founded in 1909, the Order of the Alamo exists to educate the public about the history of the fight for the independence of Texas in the 1830s, and the Coronation event is the colorful culmination of its annual spring Fiesta.
Lighting designer Bobby Harrell has been illuminating the Coronation event for many years, and this year he chose to use four of Philips Vari-Lite’s new VLZ Spot fixtures in his rig. He explains, “The VLZs were chosen to add extra tone, color and texture to the stage while the primary systems were there to provide color and visibility. In years past, we had used another manufacturer’s moving heads but they just didn’t punch through the conventional and LED stage lighting when needed. I knew the VLZs would have more punch and was not disappointed. The VLZ Spots gave us plenty of output even during brighter stage pictures.”
Harrell was drawn to the VLZ Spot having been impressed by both the power of its output and the quality of its optics. He says, “The 8000K color temperature gave just enough increase to the perceived brightness to show up over the other lighting. I was able to get good gobo quality as well as plenty of output from just these four fixtures.”
Harrell confirms that the VLZ Spots had performed as he had hoped they would, adding, “In fact, I may look at replacing the 1500W moving lights that we use as followspots, for next year. The color rendering of the VLZ is much more pure, and doesn’t give me that green that many arc sourced fixtures do.”
As a long-serving product manager for Philips Strand Lighting, Harrell has been an adherent of Strand control systems for many years, and in recent years has employed Strand NEO controller on the Coronation project. He says, “I’ve been lighting this show for years, initially using the Strand 520i, then moving on to a Palette VL. In recent years I’ve used a NEO, for two main reasons - the ability to label channels in patch, and the ability to assign a Movement Path to the moving lights that I use as followspots.”
He explains, “When lighting a show and programming at the same time, I have to bounce between looking at the stage, the console monitors and a magic sheet. For several years now, I just add Position, Purpose and Color information to all channels in Patch and that appears on my Classic View channel screen. I select my channel layout so that it matches the plan of the stage. In the Coronation event, there are 24 girls, or ‘Duchesses’ in the ‘Royal Court’ plus a Princess and a Queen. Half of the Duchesses are stage right and the other half are stage left.