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November 13, 2018

Technical Tuesday – Look Ma, No Wires!

By Donna J. Flor 

What kind of light is small, packs a powerful punch of illumination and color---but doesn’t use any cords? One answer is the Chauvet Freedom PAR Quad-4.

These lights are truly wireless, getting their power from rechargeable batteries which last about ten hours between charges. There’s also a control panel included on the instrument, so control can be completely cable-free as well.

And since there’s an app for everything these days, of course, there’s an app that you can load on your mobile phone or tablet to control the Freedom PARs wirelessly!

The Production Department owns ten of these little dynamos. Master Electrician Eric Richardson has been expanding the inventory little by little. He worked with Freedom PARs in previous jobs---setting them up in lobbies and hotel ballrooms for smaller events---so knew he had to get some for the Mondavi Center, too.

Eric started out lighting the columns in the lobby areas and setting up the lights for events in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. He says that they “make rooms look more interesting.”

Here are Freedom PARs splashing some color on the gorgeous vintage cars that were parked outside the Mondavi Center for the 2018 Gala.

GALA 2018-1

GALA - 2018-2

Now Eric has started looking past the smaller events and begun exploring ways to use them for concerts in Jackson Hall. Currently, he likes setting them up downstage of the proscenium (that is, on the audience side of the stage), lighting the walls to provide color and depth.

Here are pictures of the Freedom PARs in action during the set-up for Sammy Miller and the Congregation last week. (That’s Sam with the band washed with green lighting on the right side.)

Sammy Miller 1

Sammy Miller - 2

Eric says that the Freedom PARs are easy to set up and simple to operate. He summed up with, “I think they’re cool.”

So do I, Eric!

 

Author Bio:  Donna J. Flor is the Production Manager at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis. Beginning as a freelance lighting designer, stage manager, and stagehand, she has since worked exclusively in production management of roadhouse theatres for the past 30 years. After assisting with the grand opening of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, in 1994, she spent 17 years there leading the Technical Production Department. In 2011, Donna helped open the acclaimed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. She and her husband Kirk are most proud of Jake, their canine son.