Celebrated as a worldwide television event, the MTV Video Music Awards has become one of the most-anticipated and watched awards ceremonies today. Broadcasting from the new Barclays Center, the 2013 VMA’s featured eight energy-filled performances highlighted by the Bruno Mars performance of “Gorilla” where lighting designers Roy Bennett and Tom Kenny took the opportunity to showcase the latest lighting innovation from Philips Entertainment, the Showline SL NITRO 510 LED luminaire, supplied by VER.
“I had heard about the SL NITRO 510 prior to the show but had never actually gotten to use one,” began Kenny. “One thing I love about this show is that it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with a number of very talented designers as the artists performing typically have their own creative team. Roy Bennett and Cory Fitzgerald are the team behind Bruno Mars and they both know that I am into using new lighting tools for fresh looks on the VMA’s so they asked if we might be interested in using the SL NITRO 510 luminaires for their performance. With them both being such great designers I was immediately up for it and I knew Roy wanted to have a very specific look for Bruno. To help them create that look they chose the SL NITRO 510 luminaires and it turned out to be one of the most memorable performances of the show.”
Bennett added, “Cory Fitzgerald and I have been designing together for Bruno Mars for over two years now and we typically like to try and bring the newest technologies to each production. I first saw the new SL NITRO 510 strobe luminaire during a visit to the Philips factory and the first aspect I really liked about it was the compact size and the way that multiple units can quickly link together. Then when you add in the extreme brightness with its incredibly smooth dimming, it’s easy to see that the SL NITRO 510 is a fantastic new lighting tool.”
The new SL NITRO 510 is a cutting-edge, LED- based strobe that provides intense bursts of light and dynamic effects with over 1300 high-powered LEDs which produce 68,000 lumens of output. Additionally to ensure maximum performance and an even distribution of light throughout a performance, the SL NITRO 510 includes features such as continuous-on, continuous full strobe, plus a built-in quick-connect system that allows them to easily connect together in both horizontal and vertical orientations maintaining a perfect pixel pitch alignment of each fixture’s six programmable zones.
As Bennett, Fitzgerald and Kenny got to work designing the VMA Bruno Mars performance, there were very precise lighting elements desired. Not only was Bennett looking for a new and creative lighting tool, he also needed it to fit in a pretty tight space.
He explained, “For this performance I wanted to have some interesting almost sculptural side lighting, but then I also wanted to have the ability to strobe. We needed something low-profile that we could build into Plexiglas step bottoms and I knew the SL NITRO 510 luminaires would work perfect. I first started using LED strobes while designing for Beyoncé, but the VMA Bruno Mars performance was my first opportunity to use the SL NITRO 510 luminaires in a full production environment. When we got onsite and powered the lights they were everything I thought they would be. Their performance was outstanding and we were very happy with how they helped bring the full performance to life.”
Kenny added, “The MTV VMA’s is a very important show for artists to showcase themselves as to what type of performer they are, and the SL NITRO 510 fit right in with the Bruno Mars performance. We always like to be the most unique awards show on air and we like to have the most unique products in the lighting rig. While I have used other LED strobes in the past what I really like about the SL NITRO 510 is the power source and how the cabling system seems much easier, plus with its different zones of control it becomes a multi-functional lighting tool which you just can’t do with other strobes.”
At the end of a truly memorable evening of performances, the 2013 MTV VMA’s will stand as one of the most unique awards ceremonies ever and with a multitude of beautiful lighting moments, both Bennett and Kenny are confident that other lighting designers around the world will definitely enjoy the power and performance of the new Showline SL NITRO 510.
Bennett concluded, “For me, I really enjoy the fact that you can lock multiple SL NITRO 510 luminaires together easily and seamlessly so you that you can really expand on the size and performance capabilities of the fixture to whatever you need. They are also very reliable and you can tell they are well made. I love how the SL NITRO 510 can break down into six individual zones of control and I will definitely be using them again.”
Kenny concluded, “When I first saw the lights turned on and we triggered the effects, I could see why Roy loved the light and I was blown away. It has a different and unique quality to it that other strobes simply don’t have and you can program looks that other strobes can’t do. The SL NITRO 510 luminaires gave show programmer Mike Appel a multitude of hits to add to the precise cueing for the Bruno Mars performance and I think other lighting designers are really going to see that its power and uniqueness will make their show stand out. This new strobe luminaire truly has its own place in the lighting world.”
In conjunction with the Showline SL NITRO 510 LED’s, the full lighting rig for the 2013 MTV VMA’s truly showcased the breadth and power of Philips Entertainment with the inclusion of 200 VL3500 Wash FX, 80 VL3500 Wash, 24 VLX Wash, 80 VL3500 Spot, and 40 VL3000 Spot luminaires from Philips Vari-Lite.
Showline from Philips Entertainment is a complete range of LED luminaires designed for the entertainment industry providing a strong feature set and rugged construction combined with high performance LED sources. Setting a new standard, all Showline luminaires are designed to work seamlessly together to match color, dimming and operation, and designers can rest assured that every Showline product adheres to the same specifications and performance. For more information on the Showline family of LED luminaires, visit www.philips.com/showline. Photo Credit: Rachael Wright.