- Parent Category: Cinematography
- Category: Lighting
- Published on Tuesday, 08 February 2011 20:21
- Written by Staff
Litepanels Sola 6™ Fresnel LED lighting fixtures made their network sports main announcers booth debut at Super Bowl XLV on The Fox Sports Network coverage on Sunday. The Sola Fresnel series, from Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, combines the advantages of LED lighting with the properties of a Fresnel lens, including light projection over long distances and precise focusing and control of the light’s output.
FOX Sports Network has used Litepanels 1x1 fixtures in its NFL broadcast announce booths throughout the 2010 season. FOX’s Super Bowl announcers booth Sunday presented an ideal situation for deploying a pair of Sola 6™ Fresnels for the show opening announce talent shot, introducing announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman with the field and Cowboy Stadium crowd in the background. “We can get a greater intensity of light from the Solas, a little more volume of light toward the daylight background,” said Ben Altopp, who is in charge of FOX’s announce booth. “The Solas give us a more push, a little more kick.” Altopp worked in conjunction with Fox’s lighting designer Chuck Noble who took advantage of the Sola 6’s variable beam shaping control to light the well-known announcer team both on the main set with the stadium background, as well as a separate LED wall set.
In addition to the Sola 6™ Fresnels, a pair of Litepanels 1x1 Low-Profile LED fixtures was hung to provide fill light on the announcers. The Low-Profile fixtures extend only 3” down from the ceiling, which kept them out of the shot and eliminated the need to duck under them while walking in the booth.
Altopp said that lighting for that opening shot, which will only be used once during the telecast, is critical. “You want your first shot to be a good one, and when it’s what you’re coming on the air with, you want it to be the thing that looks good. That shot sets the tone for the rest of the show.”
Fresnel fixtures require a point source of light in order to focus light that is controllable via design, barn doors or flags. Litepanels conquered that point-source challenge through breakthrough engineering in optical design that allows the high illumination of multiple LEDs to create that point source of light. This enabled a Fresnel fixture that is fully dimmable from 100 percent to zero, with no noticeable color shift, and uses a small fraction of the power as a traditional fixture, yet generates no heat.
While this year’s Super Bowl kicked off at around 5:30pm Dallas time, where little natural daylight came into the stadium, Altopp said FOX is looking forward to employing Sola 6™ Fresnels for games in open stadiums that kick off at 1:30pm local time. “From what we have seen looking at the on-camera rehearsal, the increase of light, is very impressive. I feel that we will be able to take a big step toward improving our lighting for the regular season of the NFL next year.”
FOX has already told Bexel Broadcast Services, which supplies lights for FOX’s NFL broadcasts, that they should add Sola 6™ Fresnel fixtures to its order list for next year.
For the in-show announcer shots used throughout the Super Bowl broadcast, the crew utilized Litepanels 1x1 Bi-Focus Spot/SuperSpot fixtures, which allow remote focusing from 30 to 15 degrees, while maintaining the characteristically soft, high-definition friendly light the Litepanels 1’ by 1’ LED arrays are famous for. FOX unveiled a new wraparound LED background for the in-show announcer shots, which required a lighting adjustment. “We’ve upped our back light a bit. We have a 1 by 2 Bi-Focus panel between the talent and video wall, as well as another Sola 6™ Fresnel behind them, to separate the guys from the background a little more,” Altopp said.
Both sets of lights were controllable from a lighting console in the announce booth, via DMX. The entire Litepanels light package in the booth drew less than half the capacity of a single 20-amp circuit, and generated no heat.
The announce booth wasn’t the only part of the Super Bowl that saw Litepanels fixtures in use. They were also largely prevalent at Media Day, the Wednesday before the game.
Independent cameraman Troy Dick, SOC, was on assignment shooting a Gatorade promotion that had him and his crew scrambling from one NFL player to another in a crowd of news media. “It was the type of situation where there are thousands of media people there trying to get interviews with one person, and there’s no way you can bring in anything large and power it with an AC cable. I was looking for something that had a punch, which the Litepanels 1x1 fixtures do, and a light that I could run all day off a single Anton/Bauer Dionic 90 battery.” The Litepanels fixture filled the bill.
Not only was power a concern when Dick put together his equipment package for the Media Day shoot, but he knew the ambient light would be unpredictable. “I didn’t know if I was going to be in a locker room with tungsten, or under fluorescent, or even with daylight coming in.” So he chose the Litepanels 1x1 Bi-Color fixture, which can not only be dimmed from 100 percent to zero with no noticeable color shift, but the color output is infinitely variable from daylight (5600°K) to tungsten (3200°K).
Dick uses the color viewfinder on his camera to judge the match between ambient light and the Bi-Color’s output. “I can talk to my assistant holding the light and tell him, ‘a little more tungsten,’ or ‘a little more daylight,’ and in about 15 seconds I can talk him in and the Bi-Color matches beautifully to whatever situation I’m in.”
He also uses the Bi-Color fixture to optimize skin tones. “When you have a darker skin person, a lot of times you have to dial in a little bit of tungsten to achieve a normal tone because their skin is absorbing light. And on a lighter skin person, I have to back that off a little bit.”
Troy Dick operates Stick Figure Films in Carrollton, Texas. He shoots feature films, television programs and commercials.