Following the success of their 2012 World Tour, the multi-award winning rock band Train once again hit the road in 2013 with “Mermaids of Alcatraz”. As their largest tour to date, the three-piece band wanted to have a completely new look providing a unique experience to their fans across North America. To complete this task, they once again entrusted lighting designer Brock Hogan to create a unique design that would push the boundaries of creativity and Hogan turned to long-time tour provider LMG Touring who supplied him with 16 Philips Vari-Lite VL3015LT Spot luminaires and 15 Showline SL BAR 640 LED luminaires.
“This tour is completely different from those of years past and it’s a spinoff of their origins in San Francisco and their latest studio album California 37,” began Hogan. “Since this was our largest tour to date, hitting all the major markets, we added a few new features such as video wall automation and a new set inspired by the theme of the tour. For the lighting, I wanted to also showcase new and innovative fixtures that we have not used before so I called LMG to see what the latest advancements in lighting might be and that’s when they told me about the Philips Vari-Lite VL3015LT Spot and the Showline SL BAR 640 LED luminaires.”
As production meetings on the tour began it became apparent that this would be one of the more creative designs Hogan had ever developed for the band and LMG Touring stood ready to provide him with two of the most cutting-edge fixtures available today.
Hogan explained, “As I was putting ideas for the design together, LMG started sending me links to the new Showline LED products and then shortly after that I made a trip to Dallas to the Philips Entertainment factory where they suggested Brad Schiller give me a demo of the new VL3015LT Spot along with the complete Showline family. When I saw the VL3015LT Spot in action I loved its output and the beams it could create and I knew they could provide me with a big beam ‘search light’ to fit perfectly with the tour theme. Then when I saw the SL BAR 640 LED luminaires, I knew I no longer needed to worry about strobe fixtures in the rig because they could replicate those effects plus provide fantastic color mixing. On top of that, they also have a great dimming curve with fantastic color chases, so I knew these would be perfect as my new strobe lights with a new level creativity.”
With his new fixtures now in hand, Hogan got to work bringing the design for “Mermaids of Alcatraz” to life relying heavily on the VL3015LT Spot and the SL BAR 640 LED luminaires to provide audience members with an experience they had never seen before.
“I have the 16 VL3015LT Spots set around the perimeter of each riser on stage in four groups of four,” continued Hogan. “LMG actually purchased the fixtures specifically for our tour and I while I immediately saw the creative potential of the fixtures what surprised me most when we got them in the rig was how well the beam registers when you are in the deep, rich colors such as Congo Blue. The output of this fixture is amazing and is definitely the key to its success.”
Using a highly reliable 1500W double-ended short arc lamp to produce 41,487 lumens of output, the VL3015LT Spot features 10:1 zoom optics, CYM color mixing, variable CTO wheel, two five-position color wheels, three gobo/effects wheels, a beam size iris, and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. The zoom range of 6° to 60° allows for use in a multitude of applications from stadiums to arenas or theatres.
Hogan added, “The zoom of the VL3015LT Spot is also quite impressive. It can go from an extremely wide beam down to a solid stream of light that retains its color throughout the beam. Add to that its ability to keep a crisp focus with a sharp edge on gobo projections when in the powerful narrow beam and the VL3015LT Spot is a truly special automated luminaire full of great surprises.”
With the VL3015LT Spot performing beyond expectations, Hogan got to work placing the SL BAR 640 LED luminaires into the rig as well, and they too were full of creative possibilities that Hogan was excited to discover.
“I have two different locations for the SL BAR 640 LED fixtures. I have 11 of them hanging vertically and spaced evenly across the back wall six feet off the deck so that they back light the band members and create a great visual effect for the audience. I then have four more hanging horizontally on the mid-stage truss facing forward as you would traditionally see strobe fixtures creating all our strobe effects. I love the way that you can individually control each of the LED engines so that you can really create dynamic looks and chases, and with the dimming curve the chases blend together beautifully. It’s funny because before they are turned on, they look like a traditional blinder, but when you power them up and they get going people stop and ask ‘what is that fixture’ and my response is always, just wait and see.”
The Showline SL BAR 640 is a powerful 4-foot LED linear fixture that offers unprecedented output and exceptional color clarity. With 13,360 lumens of output, the SL BAR 640 may be used for general illumination or direct view purposes and the uniform, homogenized RGBW LEDs make a bold statement in any production.
“The SL BAR 640 LED’s are performing wonderfully,” Hogan continued. “When I first saw them I thought they would be a nice strobe, but the color mixing of the light is amazing and it has a fantastic output. When you adjust the dimming curve, it responds the way a traditional incandescent would, or you can treat it like a traditional LED and have it snap on and off. I didn’t actually discover this feature until the first week of the tour so I have been playing with them ever since and adding them more into the design to create new looks for specific songs.”
As his design was now complete, Hogan once again praised the support he received from LMG Touring and the innovative and creative lighting tools they provided in the VL3015LT Spot and SL BAR 640 LED luminaires.
He concluded, “LMG provided all the lighting, audio and video for the tour and everyone over there was extremely helpful as usual. I love how Craig Mitchell is always discovering new stuff for us to use and he always seems to have a knack for finding what is hot in the industry today. He seems to know exactly what I am looking for and LMG always provides great gear such as the VL3015LT Spot and the SL BAR 640 LED luminaires. These fixtures brought a whole new dynamic to the lighting design and I honestly can’t think of how this design would have been the same without them.”
To find out more about the VL3015LT Spot luminaire visit www.vari-lite.com.
For more information on the SL BAR 640 LED luminaire visit www.philips.com/showline.
Philips Entertainment offers a wide range of state-of-the-art lighting solutions for the concert, theatre, television, film, and architectural lighting markets. Consisting of industry leaders Philips Vari-Lite, Philips Strand Lighting, Philips Selecon and the Showline family of LED luminaires, Philips Entertainment is committed to the continued development of energy-efficient and high-performance lighting and control systems through the use of innovative technologies that provide everything from single dimmers and fixtures to the most sought after automated luminaires and lighting control systems available today.