Albert Chauvet on what
makes his namesake lighting company different: A focus on
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.