Albert Chauvet


Value Added
Albert Chauvet on what makes his namesake lighting company different: A focus on your bottomline.
By John Landers

Albert Chauvet is a man with a plan. As the founder and leader of the Hollywood, Fla.-based club lighting company that bears his name, he works hard, travels constantly, and spends a lot of time analyzing industry trends. Chauvet’s primary concern, however, is providing customers with three things: value, innovation and performance.

According to the CEO, those three qualities have been at the core of Chauvet’s corporate culture from the very beginning, and they remain guiding principles for the future. From the company’s early days making lighting products for mobile DJs, the manufacturer has certainly marched to the beat of a different drum machine. “We don’t think in terms of price,” Chauvet maintains. “We think in terms of value.”

The latest incarnation of that corporate mantra is the new Chauvet Q-Series. The line represents something of a departure for the company, in that it encompasses some rather sophisticated fixtures. The manufacturer has always offered its share of high-tech instruments, but this series offers so many fancy features (and at every level) that it seems almost decadent. “Now we’re providing value and entertainment, so any club can have a great lighting show,” Chauvet explains. “Products like this are going to help clubs make more money.”

In order to fully appreciate the significance of the new range, as well as the past, present and future of the company that developed it, we met up with Chauvet in his south Florida office.

Chauvet in Miami's Mansion.

What prompted Chauvet to develop the Q-Series? The main reason behind the Q was to fill a niche in the marketplace, [to give users] a range of products that will be fully packed with all the bells and whistles, all the features and benefits, at every level. And at a great value. It’s what Chauvet is known for – innovation and performance. It is innovative, at every level, from a 150-watt fixture to a 575 watt moving head, to have so many features and benefits. And on top of that, we back up that performance with a two-year limited warranty.

Two years? That’s on all of our DMX fixtures. The “limited” exempts things that are subject to usual wear and tear, like lamps.

Or if you drop it. Yes. So that was the whole mission behind the Q, if you like.

To give users every option that they could possibly want? Full capabilities at every level. The Q-Series ESJ moving head, which is halogen moving head – 120 volts, 150 Watts – has pan and tilt correction, 16-bit movement, glass gobos, automated programs . . .

So it can be used with or without a console? It can be used stand-alone with sound or without sound, or you can use it with any DMX controller. So, from the ESJ halogens, one can go up to a 575-watt fixture. That’s our range for now. More to come in the future.

You’re just getting started with the Q-Series? We’re having fun with it.

Can you give me an overview of the lineup? For now, our Q-Spot 575 is the cream of the crop.

What sort of applications do you envision for that fixture? The 575s are for clubs, medium- to large-size venues, and for production. I don’t want to overwhelm you with specifications, but it’s fully-loaded. Next in line is the Q-Spot 250 and the Q-Wash 250. Again, those are for clubs, as well as professional DJs and entry-level production companies.

The 250 is a very popular class of fixture in nightclubs. If you have enough of them, they can fill any room with light. The 575-watt instruments are almost an exclamation point.

The 250 is definitely sufficient for most clubs or events. The 575 tends to be for the biggest rooms or stage productions. Everybody has 250s. The 250s are great sellers. We also have a 250 scan and barrel, and we have a 150 scan and barrel, so we have scanners to go with the 250-watt spots and scanners to go with the 150-watt moving heads. It’s a family approach, and that’s going to keep on going. You can mix and match types of fixtures within each power range to create a very coherent look.

Can you tell us more about the 150-watt power range? We have our ESJ level, which tends to be more for a club that has a VIP room, where you don’t want anything too aggressive or too overwhelming. Smaller clubs, smaller venues.

Do you think that the nightclub market is hungry for all of these full-featured fixtures? There are two levels. There’s the new, start-up person who might not appreciate all of the bells and whistles. But, as we know, DMX is pretty much taking over the industry, and people are becoming more comfortable with it. As those customers become more familiar with the technology, they’ll be looking for more features. Most of the clubs have an LD or somebody who’s familiar with DMX already, and they’re looking for more features, more benefits, more tricks to do . . .

So, it’s the increasingly sophisticated end-users that inspired the-Q Series? People are more gadget-friendly, more technology-friendly.

It certainly helps the overall club experience for nightclubs to have better lighting. It provides patrons with a more immersive experience; it’s more pleasing to all of their senses. We can enjoy visual stimulation at a level of sophistication that we didn’t have four or five years ago.

And at all different levels, one can buy and grow with that product. You don’t have to go out and buy another one. If somebody buys a moving head with 16-bit movement, maybe at first they won’t use that feature, but as they get better at [programming], they can grow with the product. They’re not limited.

It gives relatively inexperienced users a chance to get a quality product, with a two-year warranty, with all of these features, and the more they learn . . .

. . . the more they get out of it. Ultimately, it’s more cost-effective than buying a traditional entry-level fixture. You can buy something that has all of the features you need now, plus the features you’ll need in the future.

Again, Chauvet is about value. We’ve always provided value, and that’s been the key to our success. One day, there will be something cheaper, but we’re offering value. The warranty speaks for itself, the customer service staff we have speaks for itself, our technical repair department speaks for itself, our history speaks for itself. We are known to have one of the best customer service support systems in the industry. We will go up against any major brand name out there in terms of the service we provide. We’re passionate people. We love lighting. Lighting is all we do. We don’t do anything else but lighting, and we spend our energies and resources to provide customers with value. That’s been our success. The features are there. We’ve tested these products for a long time, and we stand behind them. To me, it’s exciting.

It’s also got to be exciting for end-users who thought that they could never afford products like the Q-Spot 575. I don’t know of any other fixture that provides so many features at that price point. Are your dealers excited, too? It’s amazing. We’ve been around for a while, and dealers that had hesitations about Chauvet early on are hearing the feedback, and today those dealers are hopping aboard. They love our products, because for them to sell a 575-watt Chauvet product, they’re making better margins and making bigger profits than by selling other brands. I hear it. I travel the country. I just got back from California, and dealers are saying that the profit margin of selling Chauvet products is easily 10 to 15 percent more, on average, than that of competing products. If somebody sells a 575-watt Q-Spot, they’re making a thousand dollars a crack.

That’s a significant advantage in this business. I assure you, they’re not making anywhere near that on [competing] products. We’re very profitable for our dealers and our end-users. It’s a win-win situation.

Since you developed the Q-Series, you obviously expect club operators to want increasingly sophisticated lighting fixtures, but at affordable prices. Are we going to see a technological arms race between competing nightclubs, or is this just a sign that the superclub lighting aesthetic is trickling down to more typical venues? I think it’s a combination of both. You’re going to have clubs on South Beach that are going to out-do each other, to get bigger and better. You’re also going to have neighborhood clubs that are going to be looking for more affordable lighting. I think it’s great, because the bigger clubs will have a need for our upper end products, and the smaller venues will still want value. I do see a trend of a lot of clubs doing more mood lighting, and less in-your-face effects, which is one of the things that LEDs excel at.

Is Chauvet expanding its LED product range, too? Yes. We don’t always want to be the pioneers. We tend to study and address needs. We learn from others’ mistakes.

Chauvet makes a wide variety of products, from LEDs to lasers. Your R&D department must stay very busy. We can do it because we’re passionate about lighting. Lighting is all we do. We have fun with what we do, and we’re in it for the long haul. We’re not looking to break the bank overnight.

What’s your corporate philosophy? I live a simple life and I love what I do. I love coming to work. I’m not running it for a year or two and getting out. We’re here for the long haul. We’re here to build a brand, a tradition, and we want to go on. We run a tight ship. We’re a financially responsible company. We always choose the path that is the most efficient to get where we want to go. It’s not always the quickest way. Everything is measured, everything has to perform, and everything has to justify its existence.

What’s next for your company? We all work for Chauvet. Everybody is well aware of where we stand, and where we’re going. Albert Chauvet can come and go, but hopefully the company Chauvet will become a tradition. It’s not about me. I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for the love of what I do, and I want the company’s tradition to last. That’s the way we do business. We don’t forget our history, where we come from. Today, we’re in a position to manufacture pretty much anything we want. We know our clients’ preferences. We know where we can offer value in different markets.

Mind Your Qs And Qs

Chauvet’s premiere Q Series includes a full range of fixtures, from 150-watt scanners to 575-watt moving heads. Here’s a closer look at some specific models from this elite lineup:

Q-Spot 575
The flagship of the Q Series, this 16-channel moving yoke is the brightest (so far). It features motorized focus, a mechanical dimmer and a variable strobe shutter.

The color wheel boasts 10 colors, the indexable, adjustable-speed, rotating gobo wheel offers six interchangeable slots, and the static gobo wheel is equipped with nine interchangeable gobos. The three-facet prism effect offers more options, and can be rotated in either direction, at various speeds. The removable air filter keeps everything clean, even in the gnarliest nightclub environments.

Q-Roll 150
Like its scanner sibling, this compact instrument can generate a lot of excitement. With 180 degrees of pan capability, the Q-Roll 150 can provide full-room coverage, or it can be used for more directional dancefloor applications. The rotating barrel effect is supercharged by a mechanical dimmer/strobe shutter, eight rotating gobos and a gobo bounce mechanism. The color wheel is nicely-equipped with 11 hues, and can perform rainbow spins in both directions at variable speeds.
This unit can also be used without a central DMX controller, thanks to its built in, beat-activated and automated programs.
Q-Wash 250
For soft-edge applications like stage illumination or mood lighting, 250-watt wash fixtures are the weapons of choice in clubland. This 10-channel moving head offers pan/tilt speed control, 16-bit pan and tilt resolution, a pan/tilt invert option, and other features for demanding users. The color wheel is equipped with eight dichroic colors, and can perform rainbow color spins in either direction.

The beam angle is adjustable (8 - 22 degrees), and the built-in, sound-active programs allow the Q-Wash 250 to be used without a controller.

This two-channel DMX effect provides plenty of visual flavor in a small, affordable package. The 27-degree beam angle offers excellent area coverage, while the manual focus keeps the colorful projections crisp and clean.

The Q-Mix is equipped with a variable shutter/strobe and a bi-directional mirror reflector. It offers 11 gobo/color combinations, all of which can be augmented with Chauvet’s wicked gobo bounce effect.
The Q-Mix can also be operated in stand-alone or master/slave mode for situations where you don’t need a controller.

– JL


Back To Top

Copyright 2006 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2006 TESTA Communications