LED lights provide special effects on TV programs

Dec. 2, 2005
LED fixtures have been used throughout the TV studio set for the X-Factor show and also feature in the ITN building in London.
HSL has the X-Factor
HSL is supplying all the LED light sources for the current series of the X-Factor, a UK television "talent" show. The lighting director/designer for the show, recorded weekly for ITV at Fountain Studios in Wembley, London, is Dave Davey, and the set designer is Christopher George.

The kit comprises six 10 x 2.5 m, high-resolution Soft-LED curtains, 180 Color Kinetics I-Color tiles, 130 James Thomas PixelLine 1044 battens and 120 lengths of Pulsar ChromaStrip.

Both Davey and George wanted to explore various LED concepts in the show visuals, and both wanted an LED floor. When they discovered that they could remove the white plastic boxes covering the CK tiles and replace them with a very slightly frosted floor, allowing the LEDs to be seen, they decided that this was exactly the right fixture.

The SoftLED curtain provides a 180-degree wrap around the whole back wall of the studio.

The show relies on the three onstage LED screens (supplied by CT) as an integrated part of the design; these are used for the X-Factor logos, for close ups of performers during their set and for assorted Catalyst material which is under the control of the lighting department. A machine running PixelMAD pixel-mapping software is outputting various video and digital images to the i-Color tiles and the SoftLED, so the images on screen and in the floor/around the perimeter of the viewing area can be independently controlled.

The PixelLines emphasise the shape of the large over-stage X, and George and Davey agreed that they would use them as a specific lighting effect. The 2 metre depth of the X already gives it a 3D feel, and so PixelLines are placed around the rear perimeter of the structure, kicking light onto the metalwork along the sides. The light also hits the Perspex border around the font edge of the X, creating a back-lit frosted bordered outline.

There are more PixelLines around the front edge of the stage, which is white. The ChromaStrips are used for detailing the two walkways – left and right - down onto the stage and for bordering the left and right LED screens, matching them in colour and texture wise with the other LED lighting.

Pixelpars hit the headlines

James Thomas PixelPars have recently been installed in the prestigious ITN building in London, the main broadcasting facility for ITN who are the UK’s largest independent news producer.

A total of nine luminaires have been installed, replacing the existing 100W narrow spot par 36 fixtures. Mounted under the floor and at the foot of each column – they both highlight and emphasize the depth of the atrium which is in shot behind the Channel 4 news presenters. The PixelPars offer a creative and energy efficient solution providing alternative looks for the news broadcasts on the different channels.

ITN’s Hugh French explains: “Our new More4 News show needed a different look which involved a colour change with more light output but without generating excess heat - so the PixelPar’s compact size with excellent light output and low wattage compared to conventional lighting, made them a perfect choice.”

He continues: “They have also provided a range of vibrant colours that can compete with the high levels of ambient light in the glass roofed atrium. And they have also enabled us to precisely match the colours of graphics on the various shows - to the delight of the graphics people!”

The PixelPars were supplied by Manchester based Flashlight.