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VLX Wash Fixtures Reduce Maintenance Requirements for American Idiot’s Rig

PLSN Staff • News • March 12, 2011

NEW YORK – Head electrician Eric Abbott has reported that the 20 VLX Wash fixtures provided by Hudson Sound and Light for the rig of American Idiot has saved "at least five to six hours per week" in crew work costs for the Broadway show, which first loaded-in to the St. James Theatre in February 2010. The fixtures have been serving as the backbone for the Tony Award-winning lighting design by Kevin Adams, and they've continued to perform despite the show's demanding production schedule. 


"Our lighting rig is working roughly 40 hours per week, 160 hours per month, or 1,920 hours per year," Abbott noted.  "Generally, we do a full swap of bulbs on automated fixtures every 600 hours, or approximately three to four times per year if the bulbs are all functioning perfectly, but if not, we replace them once or twice a month.  And then once every two weeks, we also do a general four-hour maintenance work call to clean the insides of automated fixtures and perform the suggested manufacturer maintenance."


When the full production run for American Idiot began in April 2010 and Abbott and his team implemented their regular maintenance schedule, they began to notice that the VLX Wash fixtures would often go untouched. 


"With a normal wash fixture in a typical Broadway rig, you have to swap out a fixture once or twice a month for various issues, but it took us nine months to touch our first VLX Wash because there is no bulb in it and the amount of heat generated is significantly less than other moving lights," Abbot said.


"They are hung 10 in a row on each side of the stage, and we had to figure out how to take it down because it had been so long since we had to put them all up," he added. "Typical fixtures fade with a loss in output, but the VLX Wash fixtures look the same today as the first day we turned them on."


Abbott attributed part of the reason for the VLX fixture's low maintenance requirements to the protection of their vital parts inside "a self-contained unit" and "minimal fans that may bring in dust or debris," adding, "We spend significantly less time per light than with any other fixture in the rig."


Abbott also credited Hudson Sound and Light for being "very helpful and quick to assist and solve any issues so we don't have to worry about what we might need."


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