UK – London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) staged Harold Pinter’s Betrayal and Cole Porter’s High Society at the end of 2013 utilising the strong colours and smooth dimming of Philips Selecon’s PL range of LED fixtures.
RADA runs a four-term specialist course in Stage Electrics and Lighting Design as well as a two-year foundation degree in Technical Theatre and Stage Management, which allows students to specialise in lighting in their final year.
Two of RADA’s specialist lighting design students worked on each of the productions: Amy Mae for Betrayal at RADA’s GBS Theatre; and Matt Leventhall for High Society at RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre.
RADA’s Head of Lighting Matt Prentice consulted with Selecon to specify a mixture of PLprofile1s, PLfresnel1s, and PLcyc1s to the drama school, which is generally regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world.
“We had used LED lighting before, however, not as often as we would like as subtlety of colour is so important to us as we mainly do drama,” says Prentice. “It’s important for our students to use all kinds of new technologies, and as LED technology becomes more prevalent it’s great that they have the opportunity to design lighting using products such as Selecon’s PL range.”
RADA lighting design student Amy Mae used the Selecon PLprofile1s and PLfresnel1s for Betrayal: “I found the PLfresnel1s were excellent in terms of brightness, strong colours, and cold tones, and I was impressed with the versatility of the beam angle. They were so useful when changing the colour of the walls of a box set, which helped me cut back on fixtures, meaning I could use the dimmers for other specials, and I’d also find them useful as backlight.”
RADA lighting design student Matt Leventhall used Selecon’s PLcyc1s for High Society at RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre: “Iused the PLcyc1son a 8m x 5m cyclorama at a spacing of 80cm, and they performed excellently with very good, smooth coverage. I found the colour mixing to be superb; the units produce a magnificent set of ambers and are also strong in the CTB range.The dimming is smooth and extremely beautiful. The intensity was good, but for a real kick I would have used more units, spaced at 0.5m intervals as Selecon recommend.
“It was a new experience having an entirely LED cyc – the freedom over the look is both daunting and exciting,” continues Leventhall. “What is daunting is the sheer power one has to totally overhaul a look at the touch of a button. It’s certainly a power I had to weald with caution, because in the ambitious eyes of the director and designer it could easily have run away from my control. What’s exciting, though, is that one has the ability to refine your picture to a high degree, achieving subtlety of colour that complements scenery in a way that is usually difficult to predict before the real structure sits on stage.”
The LED PLfresnel1, PLprofile1 and PLcyc1s operate in a familiar way to Philips Entertainment’s industry-respected traditional tungsten fixtures, yet benefit from the advantages LED offers including: low power consumption, no lamp replacements, greater creative flexibility through the RGBW light engine and less heat and wasted energy.
Philips Selecon recently launched a game changing pricing initiative that will put the PLfresnel1, PLprofile1, and PLcyc1 luminaires within the reach of all lighting professionals.
“Our aim is to bring future pricing levels forward and offer them to our customers today,” explains Philips’ senior sales manager Grant Bales-Smith. “We’ve been selling LED luminaires for a number of years, but we have found that they are often perceived as expensive when compared to traditional lighting tools. Now the cost is comparable to their conventional equivalents putting the PL range of LED luminaires in everyone’s reach.”