Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash Luminaires Provide 'vibrant and powerful' Colour for Grease: The Arena Spectacular

Peumans used the Vari-Lite luminaires to flood the stage with vibrant colour in a range of stunning hues

Multi-talented theatre-lighting professional Luc Peumans of creative design practice Painting With Light has produced the set, lighting and video for rock'n'roll feast for the eyes Grease: The Arena Spectacular, specifying the exceptional power of 35 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash luminaires to flood the stage with stunning and vibrant colours.

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Taking place in some of Belgium's biggest arenas, the show was a fresh and contemporary take on the 50s classic high school romance story, injecting it with energetic dance routines and huge visual effects. Peumans therefore needed a wash light powerful enough to hold its own against the video elements, flooding each massive stage with intense colour in a range of stunning hues.

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"The concept behind the design was to create a big, modern and powerful look with vibrant colours that united the video and lighting and focused the audience's attention to the different moments on the huge stage," explains Peumans. "There's also a considerable amount of LED, including a video screen of over 200m2, on set. It was therefore essential to use powerful luminaires that could hold their own against it, which is why I turned to the VL3500 Wash."

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The Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash has an output that exceeds 70,000 lumens as well as varied options for colour and beam control. An extremely versatile luminaire, the VL3500 Wash features internal zoomable beam optics with either Fresnel or Buxom options, as well as Vari-Lite's VARI*BRITE mode. From any zoom position, this mode can be engaged to offer a tight column of remarkably intense light. The VL3500 Wash also features CMY colour mixing, variable CTO colour temperature correction and dual five-position colour wheels.

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"I love the clear/Buxom lens configuration which gave me the exact right beam optics for this show, maintaining a pure and intense output from a tight almost parallel beam to wide open washes," continues Peumans. "The extensive colour range also provided me with endless creative possibilities." 

Peumans rigged the Vari-Lite luminaires, supplied by Belgium-based rental company Phlippo Showlights, on the three back trusses above the stage to create a powerful backlight wash that punched through the energetic action and video elements of the show. The lighting designer also positioned several of the luminaires above the B-stage and catwalks to work as front washes on the main stage.

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For the second run of the show, Peumans decided to replace the VL3500 Wash luminaires with the VL3500 Wash FX, supplied by AED rent, to add another dimension to the design. On why he prefers to use Vari-Lite products for his large theatrical spectaculars, Peumans comments: "For me, they are the superior luminaires on the market for optical quality. Plus, they are incredibly powerful and have an excellent gobo selection. Not to mention they are universal and can be obtained all over the world which makes life much easier."

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