Recently, however, Mezzanine's long history was showing up in unwanted places – i.e. in its lighting fixtures. Many of the club's older interior and exterior lights were experiencing service issues or not performing efficiently. “Some of our lights were seven or eight years old and it was getting costly to keep buying parts for them,” said Robert Sanders, the club's Head Lighting Tech/Designer. “They weren't very user serviceable, so it made more sense to scrap some of them and upgrade what we could.”
After consulting with Jason Reberski of JR Lighting Design, Inc. (Orland Park, IL), Sanders, the club's Production Manager Adam Flick, and General Manager Deborah Jackman chose products from Elation Professional as replacements. They purchased six Elation Design Spot 250 Pro moving heads for use in the club's stage area, along with six ELAR EX TRI PAR IP65-rated par cans to light up the building's exterior.
Previously, 575-watt moving heads had been used on and around the club's 24' x 20' stage. But with their older technology, the units “were a little slow, and really didn't look like 575-watt fixtures,” said Sanders. Working with Reberski, it was determined that the 250-watt Design Spot 250 Pro, which features two gobo wheels and eight dichroic colors, could provide all the power and brightness the club needed in a smaller, cost-efficient fixture, at a considerable energy savings. As an added bonus, the Design Spot 250 Pro offers many professional features not typically found on fixtures its size, such as an Iris and a Variable Frost filter that could transform its hard-edge beam into a wash effect.
“The first time we took the Design Spot 250s out of the box and put them in the truss, everyone was blown away by the brightness and how crisp the gobos and colors were,” said Sanders. “Compared to the old 575s, we're getting the same output or even more in certain colors. The gobos are definitely more modern as well.”
In addition to brightness, the feature-packed Design Spot 250 Pro was versatile enough to handle Mezzanine's diverse lighting needs. “I needed to find a fixture that could do really good club looks for electronic music, but could also illuminate live artists and all the other â€˜venue' type events we have here. The Design Spot 250 Pro has all these added features such as Frost and an Iris, and that was a big factor in picking it,” said Sanders. “It's such a versatile little fixture, it's amazing how many looks you can get out of it.”
Four of the Design Spot units are positioned on an upstage pipe behind Mezzanine's stage. The remaining two units function as “extra lights” that can be placed on the floor at the downstage corners, used to illuminate a DJ in an offstage area, or moved anywhere around the club – further enhancing the lighting system's flexibility.
As outdated as the club's old 575 stage fixtures had become, Mezzanine's exterior lighting situation was even worse. The club had been using six indoor-rated 1,000-watt Par 64s, installed on the roof, to illuminate the richly-detailed 25' faÃ§ade on the side of its building. Although the downlighting provided a stunning effect, the fixtures themselves posed considerable problems. “They weren't outdoor cans, so when it rained or the San Francisco weather got really foggy, we would have problems. Often the wire harnesses would rust up and fall apart, and we were going through lamps like crazy. It was getting very expensive just to light up the building,” said Sanders.
Then there was having to deal with gels. “For our corporate events, we often do the outdoor lighting in the company's colors. So we would have to climb up and change gels. Sometimes on a really windy evening, I'd come out and find that a gel had blown out of the frame holder. Gel doesnâ€˜t weather too well either!”
All of these issues were solved by replacing the old units with Elation's ELAR EX TRI PAR exterior RGB LED par can. Rated at IP65, the ELAR EX TRI PAR can withstand fog and precipitation, and its 15 high-power 3-watt Tri-Color (red, blue, green) LEDs provide smooth color mixing in a virtually infinite palette with no RGB shadows.
In addition to eliminating problems, the ELAR EX TRI PARs have allowed him to be more creative in lighting the club's exterior for corporate events, said Sanders. “Now with the LEDs, if a company's colors are red and yellow I can not only alternate between the two colors, but I can also give them the â€˜bonus' of added effects like dimming effects and color chases.”
Sanders operates the LED pars from inside the building, using a controller from Elation's sister company American DJ – the ADJ LED Touch. “It's so simple to use,” he said. “The tri-color fixture buttons let me see what color the par is, without having to be outside. It's perfect for â€˜blind' programming and allows me to change the color instantly, create fades, chases, rainbows and other various effects to almost â€˜warm up' the crowd who is waiting in line to get in. I like to think the LED pars are a party starter!”
The LEDs are also a money saver. Compared to the total 6,000 watts of electricity consumed by the previous pars, the six ELAR EX TRI PARs draw just 360 watts at maximum use. “With the old pars we were running over 60 amps, and they were on for seven or eight hours a night. Now I think it's running just over 6 amps -- we're hardly pulling any power.”
Sanders also praised the service provided by Elation and his dealer Jason Reberski of JR Lighting Design, Inc. “We did have one fixture with a bad shutter motor, and it was simply a matter of telling Jason what had happened, and Elation was right on it. They aired us a new fixture the very next day. Elation's service quality is definitely the best I personally have ever had.”
For more information contact:
Elation Professional at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com
JR Lighting Design, Inc. at 708-460-6319 or visit www.JRLightingDesign.com
Mezzanine SF at 415-625-8880 or visit www.Mezzaninesf.com