NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE –Ryman Auditorium, one of the most iconic venues in the country, recently updated its house lighting system with luminaires supplied by frequent partner, Bandit Lites. With incoming tours featuring increasingly brighter fixtures, the 125-year old historic venue replaced their previous system with Ayrton GHIBLI™ LED spots and Chauvet Professional Rogue R3 Washes.
“After consulting with lighting directors on the tours, it was clear that we needed a stronger light with better output for the FOH spot fixtures,” said Ryman Lighting Director Brandon Webb. “We knew there were arc lamp fixtures that could do the job, but I wanted to start looking at fixtures that could give me a strong output and not have a big power draw, and because we host Opry at the Ryman for three months out of the year, I knew I had needs there to fill as well.”
The Ryman’s team sought fixtures that would first be bright and accomplish a 60fc minimum from a 45-foot throw distance, have shutters, and be able to mix a good CTO for cameras. Additional consideration was also given to updating the FOH wash fixtures, comprised of Par64s with a wide lamp that provided five color washes on stage but limited the lighting directors to either a back half of the stage or refocusing them to get the front edge of the stage.
Bandit Lites Director of Technical Services Jake Tickle provided a comparison sheet that included the Ryman’s needs along with industry trends. From there, Bandit sent options to the Ryman, working around their concert schedule, to allow their team the opportunity to see the options in action in the physical space.
“We appreciate that fact that Bandit went the extra mile to get the gear here for those specific days and times,” Webb said. “It also gave us a sense of their partnership with us and that they would stand behind their gear.”
With touring LDs typically having a limited amount of time to prep before a show, the fixtures also needed to balance a small DMX footprint with functionality, with Webb adding, “I needed to have everything be in four universes and these footprints allowed me to do that. I have a network tie in as well but sometimes copper is the only way a guest LD wants control of my rig.”
Since Webb did not change trim heights on the two electrics, small fixtures would not have the necessary output, but too large of a fixture would affect sightlines. Fortunately, Chauvet’s Rogue R3 Washes offered a streamlined look, replacing 44 Par64s with a mere 16 R3 washes, enlarging the view of the proscenium.
The GHIBLI™, Ayrton’s first LED spot luminaire, features a framing system, an LED module using a high-output, low-etendue monochromatic white light source while delivering a light output of 23,000 lumens in a highly compact format.
“In talking with the tour Lighting Directors, we felt that going with a moving head wash fixture would fill the needs as it was repositionable, could mix color, and zoom out to be a wash or they could be used as specials,” said Webb. “It gave us options we never had before. The Ayrton GHIBLI did just that. It is not overpowering in size nor is it small. It fit into the current plot without needing to make any adjustments on the pipes for them to fit.”
With the Ryman in near constant operation, Bandit Lites Director of Sales and Installations Chris Barbee and Sales and Design Associate Rudi Aldridge knew that the rig had to stay operational, so with a tight window of time to balance with vendor availability, they arranged the demonstrations. Once the GHIBLI and Rogue R3 Washes were chosen, Bandit’s Technical Service team prepared the fixtures with the Ryman’s channels and addresses, taking the time to label the fixtures, test them and guarantee they worked before they were onsite and in the air.
“Bandit’s knowledge of the gear and understanding how the Ryman works were what helped make this install go so smoothly,” said Webb. “Bandit made for one of the easiest installs I have done as a house LD. There was no worry about dealing with any of the vendors or possible complications that could arise. They were able to deliver on time without any major hitches.”
“We really appreciate the continuing partnership with our friends at the Ryman,” said Bandit’s Chris Barbee. “It’s a pleasure to work with the team there and be able to provide new technology to improve their rig.”
“We can now show off the building in a new way and give clients options for them to utilize as well,” concluded Webb. “I look forward to the first reception I can do and put those R3 fixtures out in the audience and light the pews in color and bathe the back wall with texture. The concerts love the additions because now they have fixtures that they can clone from their show and not have to worry about not having their downstage positions. All they need to do is update their presets and they have a show, so it shortens their focus time during load in.”
Ryman Auditorium Team:
Gary Levy, GM
Jeff Hatfield, Technical Director
Les Banks, Production Manager
Bud Phillips, Stage Manager
Photo credit: Steve Lowry/Ryman Archives
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com