Jason Hand is a Toronto-based designer with a passion for creating the lighting for large-scale musicals, operas, and new works. Without much need for that type of work during the pandemic, Jason pivoted to lighting designs for “immersive installations.” His biggest client is currently Lighthouse Immersive, who are the producers of the original “Immersive Van Gogh,” “Immersive Klimt,” “Immersive Frida Kahlo,” and the upcoming “Immersive Monet & The Impressionists” exhibitions. Because these installations occur in different industrial buildings with ever-changing equipment, Jason needed a solution he could rely on for creating even washes of light – no matter what fixture or ceiling height he found himself working with. Below Jason explains how he discovered Rosco OPTI-SCULPT lenses and how he’s been using them to create even, consistent lobby lighting for several of the “Immersive Van Gogh” experiences around North America.
My work on the “Immersive Van Gogh” projects began when I was asked to design the 27,000-square-foot lobby and retail space for the installation at Pier 36 in New York City that opened in June 2021. David Korins created an integrated lobby and retail space for that installation that immersed the audience in the world of Vincent Van Gogh before and after they experienced the projections from Massimiliano Siccardi in the gallery space. Since then, I have created the lobby lighting for nine more “Immersive Van Gogh” installations across North America, and I’ve consulted on several others. As I evolve the lighting design for each subsequent venue, I aim to reflect the style and visual journey of the New York exhibition as much as possible.
PRG has been supplying the gear for the “Immersive Van Gogh” installations, and their team has been incredibly supportive as the project has rapidly expanded. Even with their wide reach, however, we have encountered everyone’s favorite phrase: “supply chain issues.” It became clear early on that acquiring an identical fixture package for all venues would not be possible. Because of this, preserving a consistent audience experience – across a variety of venues and in the face of last-minute gear substitutions – presented a serious design challenge. I needed a solution that would enable me to quickly adapt a wide range of LED wash fixtures in order to get the cleanest coverage possible.
Rosco’s OPTI-SCULPT lenses looked promising, so I ran a trial during the Houston install in the fall of 2021. Using Rosco’s OPTI-SCULPT Beam Calculator, I determined that the 40° side of the reversible OS40R60 lens would turn the narrow beam angle of the Martin RUSH PAR fixtures we were using into an even lobby wash. I’ve used OPTI-SCULPT lenses in the design of every “Immersive Van Gogh” space since then. Most of the time, I end up using either the OS30 or the OS40R60 lenses that we cut to fit whatever rig of LED PAR fixtures we have installed in each venue.
All of our venues are converted warehouses or large retail spaces. Schedules are extremely tight and, as the venue comes together, the production lighting team has to adapt the rig on site. Because of this, I love the flexibility that the reversible OS40R60 offers. Many times we have discovered an unforeseen obstruction that forces a lamp lower. When that happens, we simply swap to the 60° side of the OS40R60 for a wider beam angle without losing any time. I also use the OS30 and OS20 lenses in medium throw situations or for more contained specials.
Because the OPTI-SCULPT lenses are still pretty new, I’ve been asked why I choose to use them instead of traditional diffusion filters. My first concern is that diffusion filters would sacrifice too much intensity without sufficient gain in beam spread. I was also concerned about the flare from traditional diffusions like R119 or R114, and how that flare would pollute the lighting of the activations. The matte texture of the OPTI-SCULPT lenses reduces reflective light loss, which tamps down the flare and provides higher light transmission. Another factor I have to consider is durability. Being that many of the Lighthouse venues have a 10-year horizon, longevity was a concern. Choosing the OPTI-SCULPT beam-shaping lenses instead of regular diffusion filters will provide a long-lasting solution for years to come.
Rosco OPTI-SCULPT lenses have increased the range of fixture types that we are able to use as we open additional venues. This has reduced the impact of supply-chain limitations on our equipment – giving me and my teams the ability to execute our lighting designs and meet the demanding timelines of each installation.
Photo Credit: Jason Hand Lighting Design
“Immersive Van Gogh” exhibitions are currently open in several cities across North America. Visit immersivevangogh.com to find the installation nearest you. If you’d like to learn more about Jason Hand and see more of his work, visit his website: jasonhandlighting.com, or follow @jh_lighting on Instagram. To learn more about the beam-shaping lenses that Jason used in his lobby lighting designs for “Immersive Van Gogh,” please explore the OPTI-SCULPT product page on the Rosco website.