TWO DESIGNS, ONE DESIGNER, AND THE POWER OF VARI*LITE

juanes-1.jpgWhen working with international superstars, most lighting designers are thrilled to have their designs showcased in one world tour. But with lighting designer Alain Corthout, he has the unique viewpoint of having his work featured in two current world tours; one with Latin music icon Miguel Bosé and another in the Juanes P.A.R.C.E world tour. While each tour has its own individuality, there is one common component on which they both rely, the VL3500 Wash luminaire from Philips Vari-Lite.

“I first started working with Miguel Bosé in 2005 and this is actually my first tour with Juanes,” started Corthout. “After talking with both artists, my partner Bjorn and I put together a ‘mood-board' with various looks to try and figure out what style each artist would find most appealing for their show. While many artists might have an idea or concept in mind, I find that if we give them some suggestions to choose from, it helps them make a decision, and really begins to direct the style for the show. After that we start putting together a design in cooperation with our visual artists chosen for each project. For each different musical artist with a different style for their show, we like to use different visual artists to avoid making things look alike. But as we did this, the common element that was becoming evident in both tours was that they we would be using a lot of video, and because we would use a lot of video, we needed bright fixtures.”

As with most world tours, large high-resolution video screens would be used to create scenic elements and provide the performances with an electrifying video showcase of images and artwork. But as the video elements continue to increase in both size and output, lighting designers are faced with choosing the exact fixtures that can cohesively complement the video without getting lost behind it.

“During the design phase, it became apparent that our biggest obstacle with the lighting would be the brightness of the video. I didn't want to use spot fixtures for either show because they often drown in the output of the video, or you have to use a lot of smoke, and I really don't like smoke because it makes the video images look dirty. So we had to have bright wash fixtures to light the band that could match both the power and color palette of our video elements.”

As Corthout began to research which wash fixtures would work best in his design, he did not have to look very long. Based upon his past experiences, he knew that there was only one luminaire he wanted to use, the VL3500 Wash luminaire.

“Personally, I always ask for VARI*LITE fixtures because there are no other lights that have those vivid colors. But for these two applications in particular, I needed output, beautiful color and speed. So for the Miguel Bose tour we are using 46 VL3500 Wash and for Juanes we have 42 VL3500 Wash luminaires, and they are performing brilliantly. Their speed, brightness, and superior optics make these two shows look even more beautiful.”

With his designs now complete and the shows on the road, Corthout is proud of the hard work and dedication that went into making the tours come to life. By successfully pairing the correct video artist with the music artist and complementing both with the VL3500 Wash luminaire, he and his team were able to create two wonderful production designs that will be enjoyed by audiences around the world.

“These designs were the culmination of hard work from a number of talented people. I am very proud of the way that we were able to enhance the production for each of these talented International superstars, and the VL3500 Wash was a big part of that. I come from the ‘old school' Vari-Lite world and have been addicted to them for a very long time because they are simply the best at what they do. The VL3500 Wash can do things that no other wash light in its class can do. It's clean, crisp, extremely powerful yet subtle, and it truly brings both productions completely together.”

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