Proteus Maximus™ power and versatility on display at The Ford in Southern California

Volt Lites supplies power LED luminaire for diverse program of summer events at historic outdoor venue in the Hollywood Hills.

Just across Highway 101 from the Hollywood Bowl lies The Ford, a 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater that has served as one of LA’s favorite outdoor music venues for generations. The Ford is celebrating the return of live music and events with a multifaceted calendar of summer entertainment performed beneath a seasonal lighting package that includes Elation IP65-rated Proteus Maximus™ LED profile moving heads.

Situated in a 32-acre park in the Hollywood Hills, and under the stewardship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the dramatic outdoor setting with its natural backdrop is hard to beat for sheer beauty and intimacy. Renovated in 2017 with a number of technical and aesthetic improvements, a night at The Ford is a unique experience no matter who is performing on stage.

Exposed lighting positions
With overhead catwalks and two 50-foot concrete towers flanking the stage, along with other lighting positions, all exposed to the Southern California heat, rain, smoke and dust, lighting fixtures have to hold up to the elements. “They get a work out for sure,” said Matthew Shimamoto, co-founder of full-service lighting company Volt Lites (, suppliers of the seasonal lighting package to The Ford. “Because the lighting positions are 100% exposed, the venue had talked about acquiring an IP-rated profile fixture. We worked with them to look at several different options and together settled on the Proteus Maximus.”

Shimamoto says the decision to go with a luminaire is a thorough process of collaboration involving clients, designers, and in-house technicians. “Only after we’ve evaluated everyone’s opinion and everyone feels they have what they feel is best do we make the decision,” he states, adding that neither Volt nor the venue wanted to put in non-LED fixtures.

Power and flexibility
The 50,000-lumen Maximus LED moving head houses a complete FX system (2 gobo wheels, animation, zoom, iris, dual prisms, dual frost), including a full blackout framing system, and can be used as a profile, beam or wash light. “The Maximus made the most sense based on the output needed at such high trim heights,” Shimamoto says. Also, due to the variety of different acts and productions the venue stages, a flexible luminaire with a generous design package was preferred.

“When you flood it out at those trims, throw in saturate colors or gobos, you need all the horsepower you can get to make the look come through,” he continues. “It is really a cannon. Its flexibility fits the venue well and is a real complement to the rest of the rig.” Twelve Proteus Maximus fixtures are sprinkled throughout the rig to work with a host of other lighting gear, including Elation Platinum Seven™ LED wash luminaires.

The Ford is the latest outdoor performing arts venue to use the Proteus Maximus. The Rady Shell in San Diego, Little Island in New York City, and Tuacahn Amphitheater in Utah are just a few of the professional stages to permanently install the fixture, not to mention other seasonal productions like the San Francisco Opera’s “The Barber of Seville” and Adler concerts at the Marin Center Drive-in in San Rafael.

Photo: © Farah Sosa, Timothy Norris – provided courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association