P-5s and SixPacks on long-running children’s BBC TV show
Television lighting director Lee Allen has quickly adopted SGM’s new highly efficient P-5 LED washlight as an essential part of his inventory, after being introduced to the fixture by rental specialists Richard Martin Lighting (RML).
The West London based moving light specialists had made a substantial investment in the product in time for the BBC’s fundraiser Children In Need late last year, and when they demonstrated the attributes to Allen he was quick to earmark them for the children’s programme Blue Peter, for which he is LD.
The second longest-running TV show in the UK (having first aired in 1958), the evergreen British children’s programme, an essential part of Children In Need, was shot outside the new MediaCity studios, at Salford Quays in Manchester. Lee explained why he was so enthusiastic about using this low-profile light, which came supplied with 43° and 21° interchangeable lens.
“This was the first of two occasions I have been fortunate enough to use them,” he said. “For use outside MediaCity I required an IP65 rated light to illuminate the building, and the music we were incorporating live into the show.
“For me the P-5’s being wireless was a big bonus, as we had a large area to work in — so to just plug in power, with no DMX to put out, was great.”
In addition to the wireless DMX and IP65 rating he also praised the high output ratio from such a compact footprint.
“They are so bright so only a few were required on the building,” he confirmed. “With them being RGBW we could get some nice pastel colours and saturated colours in just using the RGB.”
He also noted that working on shows with a fast schedule, any attributes that help reduce rigging/de-rigging time — with fewer cables creating a neater look onsite while at the same time reducing Health & Safety issues — is a bonus.
Therefore he was eager to deploy them again for the Blue Peter Christmas Show — this time indoors at MediaCity in the open centre — which is glazed down all three sides of the space.
“Once again the brightness was amazing,” he reports. “Even before it became dark outside the lamps were showing up really well — and once again, being wireless DMX, rigging was both quick and easy.”
But this time he decided to go even further — adding a number of SP-6 (SixPacks) from the SGM portfolio. This increasingly specified effect provides a unique pixel array based on the popular blinder. But by replacing the traditional halogen source with RGBA LED source — combining six outputs of powerful 40W colour mixing with built-in electronics, and individual DMX lamp control — it can achieve so much more.
“I used these for down-the-lens eye candy,” he confirms. “We rigged them on scaffold pole and tank traps, and since the units are again IP65-rated I will be using them next time I’m outside.”
Of the fixtures’ attributes, he says, “The units are just so bright; they have a clever function to mimic tungsten lights which I will play with when I use them next. And having the short tails of power and DMX makes rigging a quick and easy process when used close to each other.”
Another key benefit highlighted by Lee for use in a TV studio application was the ability to address the fixtures via RFID. “It gave my gaffer a chance to use his phone with the SGM app on the Android platform — and he addressed them a lot quicker than pushing the buttons on the fittings!”
In summary, Lee says he would have no hesitation in using both SGM fixtures “again and again.” The IP65, in particular, is a big plus “as at very short notice I could suddenly find myself moving the show from inside, to the outside.”