Vari-Lite at Historical Inauguration

The inauguration of newly elected Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich was a monumental occasion in the state’s history. As such, celebrations surrounding the gubernatorial swearing in were planned to reflect the magnitude of the historical event. Lighting designer Benji Tschudin of Atmosphere Lighting was called on to light the festivities.

When Gov. Ehrlich was sworn in Jan. 14 as Maryland’s first Republican governor since Spiro Agnew left office to become Vice President following the 1968 elections, Tschudin’s lighting rig consisted of eight VARI*LITEĀ® VL2000TM Spot luminaires. Tschudin hung the VL2000 Spot fixtures off the upstage truss of the 40-foot by 48-foot Baltimore Convention Center stage. Cary Levitt of Frederick, Md-based Parlights Inc. provided the automated lighting for the event, and programmer Andy Horodowicz controlled the lighting cues.

In addition to Ehrlich addressing his supporters and other dignitaries in attendance, three different bands performed during the festivities. The lighting system proved flexible enough to create the perfect atmosphere for both the speeches as well as the entertainment.

“The VL2000 Spots were used mostly for eye-candy during the musical performances,” Tschudin said. “I used them for rear-projection coming off the upstage truss because their focusing capability is better than any other luminaire. They are really great products. I just love the optics in the VARI*LITE fixtures.”

The stage area included a good deal of truss and video projectors, which were used to project images across much of the main room in addition to the main stage. Tschudin bathed the entrances onto the stage in Maryland’s state colors – red, yellow (amber), white and black.

“I didn’t charge extra for the black,” he joked.

Gobos on the VL2000 Spot luminaires allowed Tschudin to paint the flat sets and really bring out the depth of the flat scenery. The VL2000 Spot fixtures come with a standard palette of gobos and colors, but custom gobos are also available.

“The stock gobos on the VARI*LITE fixtures are far superior to the stock gobos that come with any other fixtures,” Tschudin said. “The problem with the stock gobos in many of the other fixtures is that they don’t have any depth or sophistication to them. They just don’t have any break-ups.”

Clay Powers of Vari-Lite said that remarkable ability to create and control performance lighting comes from the fact that VARI*LITE fixtures are developed with the needs of lighting designers in mind. “Vari-Lite isn’t just a company that makes lights,” Powers said. “We are a lighting company that is committed to developing new technology and automated lighting tools that lighting professionals can use.”

“The units are just far superior,” Tschudin continued. “Some of the competition’s fixtures just suck compared to the VL2000 Spot lights. The VARI*LITE units are smoother and they’re definitely faster, without a doubt, hands down.”

Powers added, “Not only can VARI*LITE automated lighting systems provide show-stopping special effects, but the provide designers with the tools for all aspects of their lighting requirements. It’s not surprising that VARI*LITE fixtures have become an essential element to all types of stage lighting.”

In the end, Tschudin’s clients and the audience were ecstatic. Which all equates to another landslide victory for Atmosphere Lighting and Vari-Lite.

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