Austin Shapley of Lightswitch Inc

Martin Shines Bright for The Judds’ Residency at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

3 Dec 2015

Martin Professional lighting fixtures recently shared the stage with five-time Grammy Award®-winning country stars, The Judds, at The Venetian Las Vegas. The multi-platinum mother-daughter duo Naomi and Wynona Judd recently performed a nine-show residency in October entitled “Girls Night Out,” their first performances in almost five years. To bolster The Judds’ auspicious comeback, The Venetian enlisted Craig Rutherford of Blue Shift Design, a lighting industry veteran whose stage credits include Alan Jackson, Jake Owen and Ronnie Dunn.

Rutherford was happy to see that The Venetian had invested in a high-quality lighting rig, which helped enhance his production design. The Venetian owns a HARMAN Professional Solutions system with 34 Martin MAC Viper Profiles, 18 Martin MAC III AirFXs, 30 Martin MAC Auras and four Martin Atomic 3000 Strobe fixtures.

Rutherford built four truss towers with Martin MAC Auras attached, situating Martin MAC III AirFXs and Martin MAC Viper Profiles on the floor between the trusses. The extensive palette on the MAC Vipers, including real reds and rich ambers, worked to accentuate the Judds’ resonant, soulful voices.
“The color mix on the Martin MAC Vipers is fantastic,” Rutherford said. “It’s smooth with really nice pastels. The originality of the designs of the gobo wheels spurs my creativity when it comes to programming the show.”

Rutherford also found big benefits in the Martin MAC AirFX features. “The gobo designs in the Martin MAC AirFX are one of the most successful combinations of wash and aerial effects in a professional fixture,” Rutherford said. “The zoom is nice and snappy as well, with minimal lag time, which is a big plus in a live setting.”

Rutherford wasn’t sure the Martin Atomic 3000 Strobes would fit the musical sensibility of The Judds, but found the fixtures to be highly versatile. “You might not think strobes would make sense for a country show like The Judds,” he said. “But with the Atomic 3000 fixtures, you can apply blinder and dimmer effects as well as chase effects. The Martin Atomic 3000 Strobes provide a diversity of features that you just don’t see in other strobes.”

Rutherford takes pride in maintaining a deep knowledge of each fixture he works with, but values consistency above all else. “I loved exploring the features of each Martin fixture I used in the show,” Rutherford said. “But the most important aspect of a fixture is its reliability. I never had to worry about a Martin fixture when The Judds took the stage. The Venetian’s investment in a Martin rig demonstrates a commitment to quality live stage productions.”

Photography by Austin Shapley of Lightswitch Inc