Visual effects, whose primary function is to enhance the impact of the event taking place on the stage, can be both permanent or temporary elements in a particular lighting concept. If they’re to enhance the performance, they need to cut through any ambient lighting, such as stage and set washes and video screen projections. Just as in the case of ambient illumination, lighting professionals need to take into account a variety of considerations here – and let’s not forget that different effects have different requirements.
Take beam effects. To create the desired impact, narrow beam effects that pack a big punch are often required. The beam needs to be of a sufficiently high quality that it doesn’t produce undesired halo effects around its edges. Yet these effects need to be delivered by small, compact fixtures, and that can be a challenge.
Philips’ Platinum series lamps have been specifically designed to meet these varying demands. The product family’s soon-to-be-released VL10 BeamWash fixture will represent a revolutionary step forward in terms of meeting these demands. Philips Fast Fit MSR lamps like the VL6000 beam fixture also delivers high-quality beams for use in visual effects. This is a unique beam fixture, using a 1500w MSR lamp to produce a collimated “fat beam” of light exceeding 60,000 lumens in output from a unique-looking optical system. This is the fixture, in fact, that delivered the big lighting punches when Lady Gaga performed at the 2017 Super Bowl. The fixture has also lit world tours for Depeche Mode, Bruno Mars, and the Foo Fighters.
And then there are LED pixel effects. As LED entertainment lighting technology has progressed, LED pixels themselves have collectively come to form visual effects surfaces themselves: think of pixel mapping, the visual display technique available via LCD monitors. In fact, as technology progresses, the disposition of LED pixels is becoming more important, and more deserving of manufacturers’ attention.
The pixels of the Philips Showline SL BAR720ZT are arranged in such a way that when multiple such fixtures are arranged end to end the pixel pitch between them remains the same. The Philips Showline SL BEAM 500fx, for its part, has a grid formation of 37 pixels making up its face. The pixels have been arranged in a hexagonal manner across the face of the product in an aesthetically pleasing manner, so that they form clean vertical and horizontal lines across the fixture.
LED optical system advancements have also made it possible to create fixtures such as the new VL800 BeamLine. This fixture features a new optical system that resembles a single blade of lights, but that can still be used in a pixel-mapped mode, with a single front-looking pixel housing 12 individual collimated beams of light.