LD Oscar Dominguez wins 2013 Emmy Award for his design using Vari-Lite luminaires
Now in its fifth season, “The Voice” on NBC has become one of the most watched reality talent competitions worldwide. Throughout the run of the production which features three stages of competition concluding with live performances, the pressure placed on the competitors to showcase their unique talents is rivaled only by the pressure placed on the crew to make sure the show is both technically sound yet exciting to watch. Behind the scenes, Los Angeles based lighting designer Oscar Dominguez and his lighting crew have accomplished all this winning the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for Variety Series” using a rig that relies heavily on VL3015LT Spot, VL3515 Spot, VLX Wash, VL3500 Wash, VL3000 Spot and VL550 Wash luminaires all supplied by Illumination Dynamics.
“For me, the Vari-Lite luminaires are the backbone to this lighting rig,” began Dominguez. “When you put them in your rig, you know exactly what they are going to do and that they are going to be reliable. If for some reason we were to lose all the other lighting instruments, we would be ok because Vari-Lite luminaires are quality. In a primetime network 2-hour live show, this is extremely important. I need products that I have faith in and that’s Vari-Lite luminaires.”
Previously nominated for his work on the fourth season of “The Voice” as well as his design for “The Tyra Banks Show”, this was the first Emmy win for Dominguez. Having been with “The Voice” since its inaugural season, no two lighting plots have ever been the same, but there have always been two constants; the use of Illumination Dynamics as the Authorized Dealer and the reliance upon Vari-Lite luminaires.
Dominguez explains, “From day one, I have been working with Mark Rudge at Illumination Dynamics and I wouldn’t step onto any project without him next to me. His knowledge and support are second to none and the gear he supplies is always operating at peak performance. While the lighting instruments have changed over the seasons on ‘The Voice’, the backbone of each rig has always been Vari-Lite luminaires.”
At “The Voice” there are three rounds of competition; the blind auditions, the battle rounds, the knockouts, and then the live performances. Since the lighting package does not stay the same during each of the rounds, it is up to Dominguez to reconfigure the plot to best match the needs of each new set-up. For this to work, the lighting instruments have to be both reliable and have multiple feature characteristics which is why Dominguez specified 44 VL3015LT Spot, 12 VL3515 Spot, 48 VLX Wash, 22 VL3500 Wash, 62 VL3000 Spot and 155 VL550 Wash luminaires for his Emmy-winning design.
“The VL3015LT Spot is quite frankly my new favorite light. I have them all throughout the rig and can place them anywhere because the zoom is phenomenal, the output is amazing, and I can do nice, big-beamed, zoomed-out looks with full color. When I first saw it during a demo at Illumination Dynamics, I was speechless. I love how it is big on feature set with the ability to provide a powerful beam with a broad zoom, and rich color, with a gobo effect. No other light can do all this and it’s simply a remarkable lighting tool.”
Using a highly reliable 1500W double-ended short arc lamp to produce over 41,000 lumens of output, the VL3015LT Spot features 10:1 zoom optics, CYM color mixing, variable CTO wheel, two five-position color wheels, three gobo/effects wheels, a beam size iris, and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. The zoom range of 6° to 60° allows for use in a multitude of lighting applications.
“We have been using the VL3515 Spots to key light certain areas for the host of the show that may need adjusting at the last minute. We used to do this with conventional lighting, but if the director decides to move a location at the last minute using the VL3515 Spot saves us a ton of time.”
Using the same 1500W double-ended short arc lamp as the VL3015LT, the VL3515 Spot provides up to 27,000 lumens of output and features 6:1 zoom optics, CYM color mixing, variable CTO color temperature correction, a six-position color wheel, two gobo/effects wheels, a shutter and separate dimmer, plus ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. The luminaire also has an added feature of a four-blade shutter mechanism that allows the blades to be operated independently or in unison on two planes for a clear and crisp image.
“The VLX Wash fixtures are all in the main overhead rig behind the header serving as the backbone for that area. What’s interesting about the VLX Wash is that there are a multitude of LED Wash lights on the market, but the VLX Wash has a very unique almost ‘creamy’ quality to it and you can tell that there was true thought behind its design. I will often choose the VLX Wash because I like its violent LED snap, I can strobe it, or I can use it for its nice even wash. With all its various capabilities, it works very well.”
The VLX Wash luminaire incorporates the most attractive benefits of LED lighting technology with the product quality only found in Vari-Lite automated luminaires. The internal beam homogenization system creates rich and smooth color mixing, plus the VLX Wash also allows for operation of all seven light engines as one, or for completely independent control of each. With stunning colors, powerful intensity, a multi-year source life, and low energy consumption, the VLX Wash is a remarkable LED automated luminaire.
“For the VL3500 Wash fixtures, I have them out in the audience and flanking the stage for when I need that big beam of God look. Another of the attributes I like about the VL3500 Wash is the aperture chases which create a very cool look on camera, but I love using it most to bring down the hammer of God”.
With an output that exceeds 70,000 lumens, the VL3500 Wash luminaire features internal zoomable beam optics with either Fresnel or Buxom options, an interchangeable front lens system, and an aperture wheel, while also providing CYM color mixing, variable CTO color temperature correction, dual five-position color wheels, a separate dimmer, and an independent dual blade strobe mechanism. Along with its zoomable optics system, the VARI*BRITE mode allows the luminaire to create a tight column of remarkably intense light.
“The VL3000 Spots are an industry-standard and I use them as my audience workhorse. They are all hanging overhead to pepper the audience with light and color to help us bring the audience into the space and make them part of the show.”
The VL3000 Spot luminaire features CYM color mixing, variable CTO color temperature correction, a six-position color wheel, three gobo/effects wheels, a beam size iris and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. With its 20,000 lumens of output and 6:1 zoom optics, the VL3000 Spot is an industry favorite that has set the standard for imagery, beam control, color and brightness in automated spot luminaires.
“And lastly we have the VL550 Wash which is very near and dear to me. For me, this light has reached the pinnacle of perfection in a tungsten wash. It just can’t get any better. In this digitized age, having the ability to crack them open and get that tungsten burn and that crush of color along with the beautiful tungsten fade as the lamp shuts off adds a completely different and beautiful layer to the whole design. For me when I need a warm embrace to just wrap around something onstage, the VL550 Wash is the go-to light and no one has been able to manufacture anything that comes remotely close to it.”
Built on the Emmy Award-winning VL5 Wash, the VL550 Wash uses the patented and innovative DICHRO*TUNE radial color mixing system which employs three sets of 16 radially mounted dichroic blades – magenta, blue, and amber – designed to produce a smooth, full spectrum of color cross-fades. Additionally, the VL550 Wash utilizes 16 radially mounted diffuser planes to control the beam spread and it may be used with six interchangeable lens options, including clear, stipple, 8-row, 10-row, 12-row, and Buxom.
Dominguez concluded, “When designing my rig each season I try to think of it in an esoteric way thinking of the lighting instruments as tools. With all the lights being unique and each having its own distinct look, the one thing I need them all to be is reliable, especially in the live rounds which is paramount. I also need all the lighting tools to have a good quality of light. While we may populate the rig with small LED products to give it an extra ‘sizzle’ when needed, the main structure of the rig is supported almost entirely by our automated lighting package and these lights have to be able to produce a beautiful quality of light which I find best in Vari-Lite luminaires.”