Photos: © Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center

Helsinki Music Centre makes its first investment in Robert Juliat Arthur LT followspots

The Helsinki Music Center (Musiikkitalo Helsinki) in Finland has just invested in its first Robert Juliat followspots – 4 long-throw 800W LED Arthur LT – for its main concert hall. The followspots were sourced through Intersonic, Robert Juliat’s exclusive distributor for Finland.

The team at Musiikkitalo had a specific list of criteria when looking for their new followspots. The fixtures needed to be very quiet, bright enough for serious television productions from distances over 30m, in both daylight- and tungsten colour temperatures; have a narrow zoom so no light would be lost by using an iris; be easy to operate, have good DMX control and, crucially, an LED light source. “Put simply, we wanted to have the best followspots available!” says the venue´s Head of Light, Valo Virtanen.

Virtanen spent a long time comparing followspots, and when he saw the brand new 800W LED unit from RJ, he requested one for testing from local distributor, Intersonic. “We made some serious tests together with sound engineers and camera teams; our second Head of Light, Tuukka Aimasmäki, made a DMX profile for our lighting console and took light quality measurements,” says Virtanen. “We also knew Robert Juliat´s reputation as the most specified followspots in the world and have experienced of them from hiring them for previous shows. The tests went very well so we ordered spots. Intersonic has done very good job with testing and delivering, and with supporting us throughout.”

Musiikkitalo’s audience is seated in-the-round so good 360° coverage is needed. The four Arthurs are therefore positioned evenly around the lighting gallery that surrounds hall high above audience. “We also bought tripods as a safety measure but installed the Arthurs on the gallery´s rail pipes with followspot rail mount adapters to get a bit better coverage in the tight locations,” says Virtanen. “The adapters are excellent and work perfectly.”

The throw distances vary from 20m-50m but with Arthur LT’s output of 2000 lux at a distance of 50m exceeding that of an HMI 2500W Aramis, and a zoom range of 4°-10°, the range was no problem.

Arthur’s sound level is much quieter than any of its discharge rivals, and offers a choice of ventilation modes. “We found the spots to be silent!” confirms Virtanen. “We use them in Silent mode which reduces the brightness by about 20%, but they are still absolutely bright enough.”

The ergonomics of the new Arthur LTs proved very popular with Musiikkitalo’s followspot operators and technicians who had a wealth of feedback from using their new fixtures: “The zoom range is wide enough and the controls are well thought out: the zoom/focus handles are well positioned and reliable. The dimmer handle is extremely well located and very easy to use. The DMX operation is very well considered: it's great that the operators can still use the manual dimmer even when we use DMX to control spots. We can control the dimmers entirely from the console – for example when the spots might be at a fixed position without operators - or we can set a maximum level limit so the operators don’t need to think about the brightness.

“The long side handle is well positioned to enable the followspot to be controlled from whatever position the operator favours. There are good pan/tilt locks and good balance with the balancing rail.

“Our models have the iris control on the side which we prefer because it’s easier to reach, and the dedicated knobs for the frost and CTO filters next to the dimmer wheel are easy to find and use. We also have a colour changer on each spot but we use it mainly for the special filters needed for some television broadcasts.”

The team also bought a Telrad Reflex Sight Finder for each Arthur LT: “This is an excellent operator aid: the operators hit the right target every time without any stress! It’s such a simple, cheap and perfect add-on.”

“The Arthurs are excellent!” confirms Virtanen. “The operators love them and the TV teams like their quality of light (Arthur LT has a high CRI of >94), and brightness, and they are SO quiet. The build quality is strong and are so well made that – aside from cleaning the optics - we do not expect any need for service in the following years.”

The first production for the new Arthur LTs was the Aurora Orchestra’s operaThe Rite of Spring lit by television lighting designer, David Bishop, and broadcast live using 18 television cameras. Classical television broadcasts with a variety of soloists from Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Baroq Orchestra, followed along with pop concerts from artists like Pandora, Samuli Edelmann and Rajaton, and galas from the RSO Christmas special to many special themed concerts by Vantaa Pops.

“We have our own tv and radio broadcast control rooms with every necessary piece of equipment, so all tv productions uses our facilities,” says Virtanen. “Schedules are very tight so the equipment we buy has to be reliable and, as most of our productions are one-offs, everything has to go perfectly first time. Plans and schedules change at very short notice so followspots are very important tools: it is easier to react and point real, manually-operated followspots almost anywhere more quickly than moving lights.

“Robert Juliat is the only manufacturer concentrated on making serious followspots for professional users. Even before we bought the Arthurs, we knew what to expect. Robert Juliat followspots are specifically designed from the outset as followspots, not modified profile spots. The design team has listened to end-users and made tools for serious professionals. And that makes them the best tools for professionals.”

More information on the Robert Juliat Arthur LT and the full range of followspots and lighting fixtures

For more information on Musiikkitalo contact:

Musiikkitalo Main Stage - Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center
AUF-concert - Photo © Tuukka Aimasmäki - Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center
AUF-concert - Photo © Tuukka Aimasmäki - Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center
Samuli Putro  Musiikkitalo - Photo © Leif Vare - Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center
Konserttisali Arno de la Chapelle - Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center

Helsinki Music Centre makes its first investment in Robert Juliat Arthur LT

Photos: © Courtesy of Helsinki Music Center

Posted: 5th of March, 2024