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What are VariLites?

Taken from a post by D. Jordan Taylor :

VariLites are automated, computer-driven, programmable little spotlights that are capable of changing color, focus, direction, and beam type with near instantaneous speed. They are the lights that were placed on the edge of “Mr. Screen” and hundreds of other places on the lighting trusses. They eliminate union spot-op jobs onstage, leaving the work for those guys in the audience and on the lighting towers.

They are the solution to the problem presented in the late seventies, “How do we get a few hundred very fast and perfectly operating spotlights where we’d like them?” by stage and lighting designers.

They were developed for Genesis and the band had exclusive rights and use of the little robot-like machines for a couple/few years. Showco was the company who brought them “to light” and Genesis is rumored to have bought the company (or at least the VariLite division) shortly after they made millions and millions on tour.

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