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HES SolaFrame 2000s Shine on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry
USA - Country music legends are shining brighter onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, thanks to a new installation of High End Systems SolaFrame automated spot LED fixtures.
Opry Lighting Director Ken Hudson is “100 per cent satisfied” with the 21 SolaFrame High CRI 2000s. Installed in January 2018, the fixtures replaced their conventional front lighting, as the nature of the lighting rig prevented easy access for refocusing. “After comparing the LED profile spots available, we determined the SolaFrame was the best for our needs,” Hudson says.
The SolaFrame series has gained popularity in the TV and theatrical market, especially with this optional High CRI Bright White LED engine designed for broadcast, with linear CTO and a full-frame, four-plane shutter system.
These features meet his needs for the Opry shows, which are designed to be as camera-friendly as possible. “Using the SolaFrame I can exactly match the intensity and colour temperature of my follow spots,” he notes.
While the Opry is open to live audiences, it’s actually designed as a large TV studio. Twelve motorised grids serve as the hanging positions, offering Hudson a great deal of flexibility. “I am pretending the Opry House is a proscenium theatre, and I employ the grid as if it were two horizontal pipes and two box-boom positions,” he explains. Thirteen SolaFrames are downstage of the main drape, while the other eight are upstage, mounted on two lighting battens over the thrust.
The fixture’s versatility comes into play when Hudson needs to change up his looks for other events in the venue, such as the corporate and touring gigs. The prism, iris and frost, along with gobo wheels and animation effects allow Hudson to create freely with his in-house lighting rig for whatever the occasion.
Bandit Lites handled the installation. Bandit’s Director of Sales and Installations, Chris Barbee, says, “Ken had wanted to improve the versatility and flexibility of his key light for the Opry, as the show is fluid from night to night and the fixed ellipsoidals did not lend themselves to that. We suggested going to an LED engine fixture for consistent colour temperature, no lamp cost, low maintenance and high reliability.”
Based on these thoughts and Bandit’s previous experience with the HES SolaSpot series, the SolaFrame 2000 High CRI was suggested and emerged the winner after a shootout from multiple manufacturers. “It was a clear decision to go with the SolaFrame 2000,” Barbee says. “The output was more than enough, the colour temperature and high CRI metered very well.”
Says Hudson, “Since we installed the SolaFrames, we have yet to need a lift onstage – other than for maintenance requirements. This is the primary reason I'm glad we have them!”
Artists who have performed under the new HES rig include Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts, The Oak Ridge Boys, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and more.
3rd July 2018
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