Elite Sound and Lighting based in the Australian capital Canberra is one of the country's fastest growing rental and production companies. Headed by owner and founder Darren Russell, Elite made its first Robe investment in 2011 and in 2013, Darren made the conscious commitment to Robe as their ‘house’ moving light brand. “I simply wanted a premium brand that was reliable and had a diverse enough range to cover all requirements for rental, staging and installation applications”.
The purchases have been constant and steady since that time, and they were the first in Australia to purchase Robe’s signature BMFL series, with 32 x BMFL Spots joining the rental inventory as soon as they became available.
The latest BMFL WashBeams were then added to that count at the end of 2015.
More LEDWash 600s have also recently been added to the inventory - in fact, every time an order is placed with Robe, it seems that more LEDWash 600s are added almost by default says Darren, “They are simply a fantastically good and reliable workhorse wash fixture!"
Darren placed his order for the BMFL WashBeams based on a demo of the prototype just before they were actually in production - such was his faith in the product, supported by his real-life experience with the BMFL Spots.
This latest BMFL purchase brings Elite’s total of Robe fixtures to over 300, including Pointes, LEDBeam 100s, ROBIN 600E Spots, MMX Spots, DLXs and the BMFLs. All Elite’s robe fixtures were supplied via Australian distributor, the ULA Group.
Darren reports a significant increase in the demand for BMFLs from LDs and specifiers which has stimulated a healthy cross rental business in addition to servicing their own shows. Other busy rental companies like MPH Productions from Melbourne are a regular collaborator in this context.
BMFLs are appearing on a lot more riders in Australia now ... And, in Darren’s experience, are also immediately accepted as a substitute should the rider specify a different product.
Elite have even ‘converted’ a couple of international LDs who used BMFLs for the first time when working with them! "Those not yet familiar with BMFLS have all been keen to use them… and we’ve had 100% positive feedback".
Darren thinks the popularity is due to the feature set, light weight and compact size, "It's an all-singing-all-dancing fixture and everyone connected us or our projects has loved them!"
Elite currently has 27 full time staff including three lighting designers and works with around 50 regular freelancers. The crews all love working with Robe products because they are reliable and never break!
Elite will typically supply a full production package to their clients, embracing all sectors of the industry, from music events to corporates and industrials, TV and theatre productions. Often they will supply design services as well as the equipment and crew, and the rigging, staging, audio and video divisions of the company feature a number of other premium brands including d&b, Turbosound and Martin Audio.
Recent shows for Elite’s BMFLS have included high profile one offs with Diana Krall at the Canberra Theatre and the Beach Boys at the Royal Theatre Canberra, working with the artists’ own LDs, plus a Burt Bacharach show at the Royal Theatre and tours with Boys II Men, John Cleese and Eric Idle.
Having attended Prolight+Sound 2016 in Frankfurt, Darren already has his sights on boosting the stock again with Robe’s newest products including Spikies and Linees - both launched at the show – as soon as they become available.
As far as overall brand awareness is concerned, Darren – known for keeping abreast of industry trending - reckons Robe is right up there at the moment, “Without doubt it's among the top three lighting manufacturers worldwide, and for moving lights, we think they are sitting at number one".
Photo: Darren Russell by Louise Stickland