The Olympic Opening Ceremony at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil kicked off the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. It is the first time that the World’s most watched sporting event is hosted in South America with a record number of countries participating in a record number of sports.
The VuePix E Series Screens were used as a centre piece of The Voice final TV set in South Africa.
When the television audience heard that The Voice would come to South Africa, there was a huge response and expectation. For Chris De Lancey from Multi-Media who was awarded the technical supply for The Voice Angola by production Co AMPN, South Africa and Nigeria, it has been a tremendous relief to see the show raise the bar for local televised shows and to meet international standards. The show was recorded at Sasani Studios, Johannesburg.
“First tentative discussions around The Voice began late in 2013, and December of that year, draft 1 budgets were being produced. Two years later it was on us,” said Chris. “When I eventually got sign off I was both elated and terrified at the same time,” Chris shares. “I don’t think I slept for four days before I could speak to anyone and say, right, lets start talking and dealing with this.”
Realising the scale of the task at hand, and that lighting was such a key component of a show this nature, putting together a like minded team of people together to do the show justice was paramount. Joshua Cutts was appointed lighting designer, and after a pitch process, Dewet Meyer of JDM Unlimited was appointed set designer. Multi-Media’s Auriot Booyes was appointed head of audio, which was obviously an integral part of the show. He also backed up as assistant project manager to Chris.
With the backing of the rest of the team from Multi-Media, the planning process began in earnest.
“It was an enormous relief when Josh said he was available to do this thing. I knew obviously that we would be getting one of the best lighting guys in the country but I also knew it would be taking a lot of pressure off me – despite the fact that working with one of the countries tops lighting designers for the first time was quite daunting. It proved to be a very symbiotic relationship,” he said.
Both Josh and Chris wanted to go in with a bang. “We had to make ourselves proud, we had to make the production proud, we had to make South Africa proud in terms of what we did,” said Chris. And then their greatest lesson… they had to hold back a little.
“We obviously had to put together a big lighting system,” Joshua continues. Josh also chatted to the designer from The Voice Holland. “I had some input from him, we had a few discussions about what I might be able to do to enhance the definition of the theatrics of the whole show and maybe use some of his style of lighting from Holland to South Africa if we needed to.”
“My vision was to pixel map as always. I needed big fixtures with large RGB pixel counts in them, so hence I wanted to try Robe Robin CycFX 8s for the first time as a back wall feature. I used Robin LEDBeam 100s between the pixels. As the studio is relatively small, Josh used Robin Pointes for sharp, hard beams or he would zoom out for gobo work. The workhorses, Robin LEDWash 600s, created a blanket was of colour over the space and audience. There were also LED PARS and LED battens.
Front lighting was a challenge as the set and ceiling design were not suited for followspots. Generic front washes were originally used but these fixtures did not give the dynamics to go up and down on stage. “It was generally a focussed instrument that I couldn’t move and manipulate based on each song. We weren’t getting the black levels we wanted in the room and it wasn’t creating the definition and depth we wanted. It wasn’t theatrical enough.”
Josh opted instead for Robe BMFL Blades. “I only use four BMFL Blades from the front for about 80% of my key lights,” he explains. “What’s interesting is I tried to use them as programmable followspots so I continually move them around the stage within cues of the song to almost follow the performer from one side of the stage to the other. Two BMFLs are used to wash the entire stage. Then I cut them down to where the performer is. I cut the stage out, and when the performers move, all I do is open the blades. If they go left, I’ll open the left blade, if they move to the right, I’ll open the right blade. That way I’m not changing the intensity of lighting. They are going at 100% and it’s working.”
Josh only uses MDG Atmospheric Hazer for shows. “The trick with a good hazer is to not realize there’s haze in the room until you switch a beam of light on. The room feels dark and black but then suddenly a beam comes on and it’s visually there.”
Vuepix E Series panels were used for the screen. “We started off on the Blinds with 50 panels,” explained Chris. “In the Battles the floor stuff stays and we add side screen to about 100 panels which are mainly used for the team names. For the Live show we go up to 200 panels.”
The Voice has been a privilege for Chris and Josh to be part of. “The Voice really focuses on the talent. You can’t call them contestants, you call them talent, there are no judges – there are coaches,” Chris elaborates. “There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to find this talent. The Voice is a very specific brand. It needs to look a certain way, it needs to feel a certain way and the full production team’s attention to detail is considerable.”
“I think the thought process behind it is they’ve spent a considerable amount of time finding decent talent, and then when they get them here, they’re not just judging to see how well they can sing. They coach them quite heavily, they teach them how to sing, to use the stage, to use a mic. That’s the ethos. It’s not just a talent show with one winner. Everyone who leaves this place must feel that they’ve gained something from it. A constant thing I hear people talk about, and the one thing they really appreciate, is that the coaches are not derogatory about the performance at all. The coaches are very nurturing, it’s a very positive environment that they try and create.”
It’s a winning formula, and when you sit and think about it, Chris De Lancey and his team from Multi-Media have done a remarkable job.
Mark Gaylard, owner of MGG Productions, has forged ahead as the first investor in a VuePix E-Series Pro 12mm LED Mesh Screen in South Africa. The mesh panels went straight into the music production Afrikaans is Groot
Clifton Productions provided their services to yet another Poker series. ‘World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific’ set and recorded at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Working closely with set designer LD Mal Nicholls. All of Mal Nicholls designs where custom built and supplied by Clifton Productions – trussing, lighting, flooring, circular riser, Video Screens, etc.
VuePix 6mm LED Screens were again the choice product for the set, delivering great background graphics and visual effects.
The lightweight slim VuePix T series cabinets are easy and quick to assemble, and provide space saving installations for various purposes. The display can be customized to virtually any size and shape according to project requirements. The Smooth image display with ultra-high resolution and excellent color uniformity provide top quality viewing performance at close viewing distances.
FOX SPORTS have recently installed two new sets in their Pyrmont studios, designed by Mal Nichols from Mal Nichols & Associates. ULA has provided solutions to Mal with a new customized VuePix P10 screen which includes a customized airflow system which minimizes fan noise for recording on set, with a higher refresh rate.
FOX SPORTS is Australia’s leading sports broadcaster, screening an average of around 21 hours of LIVE sport each day across three dedicated channels (FOX SPORTS 1, 2, 3) as well as FOX SPORTS 1HD, FOX SPORTS 2HD and FOX SPORTS 3HD.
When Mal was asked by FOX SPORTS to come up with a new approach through a screen for the set, he wanted to try a new form of visual display. Mal says “I was asked to create a more graphical approach to the set. I chose VuePix as I wanted to create a new integrated style using LED away from Plasma displays which have been used a lot. I also chose VuePix because of the flexibility and user friendliness with the DMX in the studio control area”.
Mal’s influence behind the set design was to have the set marry up to the concept of the initial graphic brief where elements have been used utilizing shiny surfaces, elements of perforations/pixels mimicking the LED Screen/Stainless steel and LED lighting effects.
Mal says “I was asked to create a set that became versatile with lighting shades and colour to enable a day time program to be bright and a night time show with warmer subtle tones”. To do this, Mal chose to use RGB Flexi LED tape to bring his design to life enabling a seamless glow around the curved surfaces and endless variations through RGB and dimmable control.
For the Ashes set, a large quantity of RGB Flexi LED tape was used to illuminate all the acrylic and staging on set. Anolis ArcSource 12 fixtures were used behind the Plasma to illuminate up the back wall. Selected also for noise free operation (no fans) and high performance, Anolis ArcSource 12 utilizes luxeon 1w LED emitters.
For the first time VuePix has been used in a host studio environment. Mal says “The lumen’s were at an acceptable level in the RGB Flexi LED tape and the images on the VuePix screen came to be surprisingly clear when we pushed the boundaries”.
This years Australian Idol has totally been transformed with the ‘wow’ factor the VuePix ™ P18’s provide. Not only are the new VuePix™ P18 SMD LED mesh panels underneath the stage area, additional VuePix™ P25 RGB LED mesh panels are rigged on vertical curved truss around the stage. 8 vertical fingers have been created in a teared effect. Each P18 panel is 1552 x 576 mm, while the P25 panels are 600 x 600 mm. All graphics are run seamlessly through the screens simultaneously.
VuePix™ is known for its rich colours and modular design that allows amazing screen configurations and graphic reproduction. Whether creating video content or when graphic based material is used, VuePix delivers an impressive display output with maximum flexibility of use – which is a key for ‘live’ work when requirements change from act to act.
The Brownlow Medal Count is the most prestigious annual award on the Australia sporting calendar. Staged at the Palladium Ballroom at Melbourne’s Crown Casino complex, the 2009 Brownlow dinner was attended by over 1000 sporting celebrities and VIPs, broadcast live on Australia’s Channel 7 TV. Clifton Productions supplied a large array of equipment at this years 2009 Brownlow Medal event. Robe moving lights, Anolis LED fixtures, VuePix P6 LED Screens and iLEDpro fixtures were all in full force, used on stage and throughout the venue.
The art direction of the Brownlow’s was by Designer Mal Nichols of Mal Nichols and Associates. “The design elements had to be 3 dimensional to allow lighting and texture to the back drop of the talent”, says Mal. “And the lighting had to be flexible to allow for subtle changes within the presentation incorporating the background. We also utilized LED down lights in the base of the 3D boxes to create a textured feel behind the talent”, says Mal.
In the Atrium of the Crown Casino 10 x Robe REDWashes, 8 x Robe ColorWash 1200AT’s and 4 x Robe ColorSpots 1200AT’s were used as guests entered the red carpet area. Lighting Designer Rob Coia says “This years telecast of the Brownlow was a great success for Channel 7 on the tail end of a huge year in AFL Broadcast. It was the first time that I had used the new Robe REDWash LED fixture that Clifton Productions have as part of their inventory. I was very impressed with its performance, I used the REDWash to dress the walls and columns in the Atrium for the red carpet arrivals to provide some colour and shape for the background surfaces which appeared in most of the camera shots.”
Rob continues, “They worked especially well in the Atrium , we usually have a great deal of difficulty getting the dark walls in this area to read on camera, but this year it was the best look so far, rich colours and bright! Richard Grenfell, who knows that space very well, programmed the lighting for the Red carpet arrivals and created a great balance between faces and walls. The REDs have an incredible light output, as well as a vast array of colours from full chroma saturation through to more subtle pastels, I found it a great tool for the task, especially when available power is an issue”
In the main Palladium room, Robe moving lights were used to accomplish the room looks, set and stage dressing. 48 x Robe ColorWash 700EAT, 44 x Robe ColorSpot 700EAT, 4 x Robe ColorSpot AT along with 18 x REDWash fixtures were used. “We are really happy with the newest additions to our Robe inventory – being the Robe REDWash. The feedback we are getting from clients is amazing!, says System Tech Aaron Humber from Clifton Productions. It was vital that the Robe’s provided even coverage across a large area as there were a number of wide camera shots within the broadcast. The ‘RED’ in the REDWash is short for Red Emitted Diodes, a unique LED lighting concept developed by Robe.
The Brownlow lighting was controlled by two GrandMA consoles, operated by Alex Saad and Andy Edis. A third “house” GrandMA was operated by Andrew Killengray to control the 140 Roboscans for tables,pin spots, and all the “house” architectural LED .” the lighting system was substantial in size and quantity , it proved to be extremely reliable with next to no faults“
One large VuePix P6 display was used on stage to run content through in conjunction with a second VuePix P6 screen behind the lectern for guest speakers. Andrew Edis from Impact Media Images supplied and operated Catalyst Show and custom images. The Catalyst was controlled via the GrandMA. This was incorporated in modules within the set of allowing direct vision on stage. Over 100 Visio color tubes were used for illumination on the set and stairs.
As early as Round 20 in the vote count, Gary Ablett Jnr had an unassailable lead and finally won the 2009 Brownlow Medal, finishing with a total of 30 votes.
Channel Seven’s recent coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games featured the VuePix P6 high resolution LED Video Screen.
Channel Seven’s broadcast has been viewed by over 17 million Australians, outpacing all other Olympic Games and other major events over the past five decades.
Beijing 2008 was the first time the event has been broadcast in HD, with Channel Seven broadcasting over 17 hours a day of 1080i coverage.
The Broadcast was hosted from the Channel Seven studio of the International Broadcast Centre in Beijing. The Channel Seven Production was designed by accomplished Australian Designer Mal Nichols, where elements of the set were designed to maximize the limited space that the studio occupied in the
Mal wanted flexibility in lighting effects incorporated into the design, and so the lighting rig included a 20 panel VuePix LED Video Screen, 50 iLED Color Tubes, and 70 iLED ColorBank 54’s, supplied by Clifton Productions – who also constructed the set.
Mal Nichols states that the goal of the lighting in the television production was to “create atmosphere, and increase options and flexibility” in a very small environment. This was the key motivation behind incorporating the VuePix screen, as the versatility of the screen allowed various content to be relayed to the audience – including live to air feeds and computer generated graphics. It was also imperative that the screen had brilliant resolution, so as to ensure that the quality was maintained for 7’s HD broadcast. Mal states “the resolution was of surprisingly quality for a 6mm, and there was no strobing through the screen”, which was essential for a flicker free broadcast.
This impressive screen was VuePix’s P6 RGB SMD 3in1indoor model. The P6 is a high resolution (6 mm) display with a calibrated brightness of 1000cd/m2 and a pixel density of 10, 000 pixels/ m2 to deliver unrivaled light output, and incomparable color depth and uniformity, best suited for broadcast conditions. The content was powered by a multi-format image processor that accepted Channel 7’s HD SDI signal and digitally scaled it to 1024 x 768 (to fit the format of the screen) with ease. This signal was then sent through the VuePix’s video processor, which can accept a wide range of incoming signals: S-Video, composite, DVI and VGA. The screen was configured via the VuePix LED Studio software.
James Pavey of Clifton Productions supports the screen by stating “it looked good and went together easily”. He goes further to say “there were many positive comments from crew and guests on the set”. The VuePix range of leading LED video screens for indoor and outdoor use is distributed exclusively in Australia by the ULA Group.