Chauvet fixtures enrich Basilica of St. Pius X
Wednesday, 25 October 2023
chauvetA group of 36 Ovation P-56WW PARs and four Ovation P-56 FC PARs create accent lighting for the altar
France - Pélerinage Militaire International was born of peace and hope. In 1945, with the horrors of the just-ended Second World War still scarring the landscape, Mgr Jules Saliège, the Archbishop of Toulouse, created the idea of having a gathering of wounded military personnel in Lourdes, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the Roman Catholic faith. The concept quickly blossomed and within three years, soldiers from many nations, often former enemies, were coming together at the annual event to worship and heal wounds.
Today PMI, as it is called in France, attracts some 14,000 military pilgrims from 40 different nations. This year, their services at the Basilica of St. Pius X were enriched by a new lighting system that features 79 Chauvet Professional projectors supplied by Videlio.
Working with Vincent Fernandez, audiovisual department manager at the Sanctuaire de Lourdes, Videlio business manager Jean Camlong and Videlio project manager: Joel Cathala oversaw the installation of the new fixtures throughout the spacious basilica, which has an oval nave that measures 201 metres (659 ft) long by 81 metres (266 ft) wide (12.000 m2 - 39.370 square feet). In addition to installing the new units, the production team reused some of the existing fixtures and renovated some of the electrical and DMX lines.
The Basilica of St. Pius X, is sometimes informally known as the ‘Underground Basilica,’ since the building is located almost entirely underground, beneath the Boulevard Père Rémi Sempé. This subterranean design, a tribute to the famous miraculous grotto of Lourdes, has lent itself to some dramatic architectural features. The interior of the building slopes gently upwards from the centre, location of the sanctuary, which is located on raised platform. The ceiling is low (it has a 10-metres high ceiling). This ceiling is supported by 58 concrete pillars which connect to 29 concrete beams which cross the ceiling, creating a dramatic visual impression and a wide-open space in the nave.
In addition to reflecting the free-flowing beauty of this architectural design, the lighting system ensures that visitors enjoy a vivid well-lit view of the basilica. A collection of 30 Ovation F-265WW Fresnels and three Ovation E-260WW ellipsoidals provide smooth even fields of light across the basilica, while two Ovation E-910FC units add richly textured colours. This light not only provides a better experience for worshippers in attendance, it also creates a superior visual environment for services and events that are televised and video recorded.
A group of 36 Ovation P-56WW PARs and four Ovation P-56 FC PARs create accent lighting for the altar, while four Rogue R3X Wash moving fixtures add a variety of effect.
“Our goal was to replace the old lighting system and its dimmers with a more powerful, versatile and energy efficient solution, and to improve colorimetric rendering for video recording and diffusion,” said Joel Cathala. “The Chauvet projectors helped us achieve these objectives.”

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