Vari-Lite

A "technical creative soul" has kept Vari-Lite at the forefront of the automated lighting industry since 1981. The company is founded on the belief that creative engineering can join with creative lighting to bring a new dimension to any performance or presentation.

That notion first took root when Rusty Brutsché and Jack Maxson founded Showco in 1970. Innovation made Showco the premier sound and lighting equipment rental firm for the concert touring industry. A decade following Showco's initial success, company officials found themselves working on another technical leap, this time within the field of automated lighting.

Until the 1980s, stage lighting systems for concerts and theater productions were bulky with numerous fixtures (a typical rock concert usually required up to 3,000 separate lights). Each light had to be manually focused and colored using celluloid gel material placed in front of each lighting fixture. To achieve color changes, the lighting fixtures had to be turned on and off or dimmed using electronic dimmers controlled by a computer lighting console.

Throughout the late '70s, engineers worked to develop a color changer for a lighting fixture. Finally, they arrived at a solution: forget the "add-on" schemes, and concentrate on using internal dichroic coated glass filters and metal halide bulbs. The dichroic filters could be used to change colors almost instantaneously and create saturated colors not capable from the gel filters.

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