I am already confident using the TV studio lighting rig, the purpose of today was to go over everything in detail and make sure I wasn’t missing anything important considering I will be working on a live broadcast specifically from this location. It also gave me an opportunity to focus on controlling the lights through the gallery via the Philips Strand Lighting Console VL16.
The studio rig consists of an 8 x 8 series of bars with a variety of tungsten lights occupying a maximum of 72 outlets in the ceiling with additional power outlets across the studio floor. All the lights are hung on pantagraphs allowing easy movement, allowing the operating to pull them down to make any amendments as opposed to having to ladder it up to the ceiling. The tilt, pan and focus can also be adjusted using to dials located on the frame of the light at the base of each panatagraph.
There are four types of light that occupy almost the entirety of the studio ceiling rig:
Dexel Soft Electra 1.25K – A diffused throw softbox, bouncing the light source from the larger main reflector inside the body for maximum illumination area with little shadow.
Dexel Olympus Fresnel 650W & 1K – Ideal for general purpose key and back light, light can be focused and directed with barn doors, harsher and direct.
Dexel Fluo Soft Studio – White, diffused light ideal for evenly lighting green screen.
Philips Strand Lighting
Confidently refreshed with the lighting rig I set myself the challenge of running the desk through the gallery. Thinking ahead to the live music stream project I am considering creating several rigs which I can pre-program and switch between in the gallery, this means most of my work will be executed prior to the broadcast but it means I can be super quick and efficient on the day. The Smartfade V2.0.1 is very simplistic whilst the Philips Strand Palette VL16 has much more flexibility, admittedly the desk is far more complicated than the rig (i.e. moving heads) but it can still be useful for programming cues and saving lighting memories.
Unfortunately nobody really had any experience with this piece of equipment so I started dabbling around with it myself. In the fuse cupboard the DMX port needs to be switched from the floor desk into the gallery desk, then on booting up the desk you can activate the output allowing control over the studio lighting rig.
The desk is used in combination with mouse and keyboard controls, you can simply click on lights and move the dial to adjust the levels in real time (holding Shift will change to decimal values). Alternately using the command prompt in the software you can manually dial in light numbers and associate values. On the desk itself there is a numerical pad where you can type in lights, and add/include multiples to apply a change in levels to. An example of the command prompt:
39 thru 38 + 40 + 42 thru 43 At 20*
This sets lights 38,39,40,42 and 43 at 20% intensity, the reason for the muddled code is due to the order the lights were selected. It could be simplified to:
38 thru 40 + 42 thru 43 At 20*
I managed to figure out how to program cues into the software, I am yet to figure out how to activate them. Start off by setting the channel levels, then hitting Shift + Rec will open the Record Cue menu, you can go onto set the cue number, label, time before confirming the settings. As you create more cues they begin to build up into a list, I will need to read up further to figure out how to execute their commands.
Before shutting down the desk for the day I managed to activate a Motion Effect function which resulted in multiple lights flashing in sequence. I’m not certain how to stop it without turning the desk off and on again, this is something definitely worth looking into for next time. The effect would be perfect for bands as the rig becomes a series of flashing lights, if I can learn how to control the effect my next query would be whether the lights can handle flashing and to what extent I can control the effect, if I can answer these queries there is definitely potential for live event/performance inspired dynamic lighting.