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San Diego Symphony’s premier new outdoor venue opens with Elation lighting system


Photo © Jason Rothberg

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego Symphony’s premier new venue on the edge of San Diego Bay, is set to open with a state‐of‐the‐art LED lighting system from Elation Professional. The captivating architectural construction by lead architect Greg Mueller of architecture firm Tucker Sadler, a work of art in itself and the centerpiece of a newly upgraded public park, will highlight the city’s world‐class orchestra while hosting a variety of musical acts.

Designed to be one of the most acoustically superior outdoor concert venues in the U.S., The Rady Shell boasts a first‐class lighting system to match supplied by systems integration, sales and production firm JRLX, Inc. out of Chicago. JRLX provided lighting fixture specification, consultation, and application support for The Rady Shell lighting fixture package and installation.

AV solutions company Solotech handled the lighting infrastructure, data distribution, audio and video.

Lighting design is by Jason Rothberg, who has served as TechnicalDirector at the San Diego Symphony since February 2020 after working for more than 20 years as a touring designer/director.

Acclaimed theatrical consultants Schuler Shook originally completed the initial design for The Rady Shell months prior to Rothberg’s onboarding. As the needs of the venue were further defined and modified, Rothberg worked with Schuler Shook and JRLX to assemble a revised specification and multipurpose lighting system.

Photo © Jason Rothberg

Rothberg consulted with Jason Reberski, CEO at JRLX, for hours to hash out the details of the lighting package. “It became apparent in talking with Jason early on that this was no ordinary lighting system,” Reberski comments. “The demands placed on it would be tremendous; throw distances of 300+ feet, overcoming daylight, the need to be flexible and capable of achieving many different aesthetics, and all while needing to be 100% IP65 rated. We worked closely with Elation and Jason to aid in specifying a package to achieve these goals.”

“We wanted to avoid ugly‐looking enclosures so we needed the rig to be fully IP‐rated,” Rothberg says, adding that they tested many possibilities.

Photo © Jason Rothberg “There were already 12 Proteus Maximus™ on that original spec when I came onto the project, for the towers out on the lawn, but I didn’t know anything about them. As I looked into them, and then the rest of Elation’s IP‐rated line, I discovered they had all the options we needed ‐ Leko, moving wash, static wash, and profiles.”

Photo © San Diego Symphony

The original spec listed a wash, a profile and a spot fixture but Rothberg found the Maximus could do it all in one fixture. “I went from three fixture types to one fixture type that could do the same thing and then some. Plus it gave me a purer white, was brighter and had CMY!” A shootout with other fixtures proved the deciding factor. “As soon as we turned it on we knew that was it. The Maximus was so much brighter and had everything we needed, plus a nice gobo selection to boot. It was really the only option.”

“Even in red and from 320 ft. away the Maximus is insanely bright hitti ng the stage,” says Rothberg. “We originally thought we’d use them as followspots from the lighting towers but found that the first catwalk position is the perfect angle. We get a tight beam with virtually no light spill from that position.”

Photo © Jason Rothberg

The six towers surrounding the venue also house 36 compact Paladin Cube™ RGBW floodlights, 6 fixtures per tower, that set the towers aglow from within. Joining the Maximus fixtures are 34 IP65‐ rated Proteus Rayzor 760™ wash and specialty effect lights. Paladin Panels™, outdoor floodlights with 50 15‐watt RGBW cells, work from electrics 2‐5 for toplight washes for the orchestra while doubling as strobe lights for other shows.

Providing front light from the first three catwalks, as well as the first two towers, are WW Profile HP IP™, high power LED ellipsoidals. Finally, 9 DTW Blinder 350 IP™ variable white LED 2‐lite blinders work from the downstage electric.

Elation gear:

55 x Proteus Maximus

36 x Proteus Rayzor 760

48 x Paladin Panel

40 x Paladin Cube

11 x WW Profile HP IP

33 x WW Profile HP IP

16 x WW Profile HP IP

9 x DTW Blinder 350 IP

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