DWR lights up SuperSport
SOUTH AFRICA: SuperSport has made the transition from tungsten to LED lighting in four of the studios at its Randburg-based facility. The MultiChoice-owned sports broadcaster, which airs major sports such as Super Rugby and UEFA football across the African continent, commissioned DWR Distribution to install the LED solution, which also included the supplying of MA Lighting dot2 consoles.
‘The studio needed a technology upgrade,’ recalled Joshua Cutts, lighting designer of Visual Frontier, who has worked with SuperSport for several years. ‘The reason we decided to change light for light – for every generic 2K fresnel we had to get an X5 which is a 2K version in LED – was because our design principles were working. We were confident that LED technology in studios had come far enough to switch over.’
Jacques Barnard, vision control and lighting supervisor at SuperSport, had wanted to adjust the colour temperature of the lighting fixtures for a while, performing a test with Mr Cutts before the upgrade was given the go ahead. ‘We put blue gels on our key lights and it proved that the concept worked,’ Mr Barnard explained. ‘We equalised all the visual plains to the same colour temperature.’
The installation was completed in three weeks with assistance provided by DimBright Electrical. The new lighting fixtures installed included QuartzColor Fresnels, Philips Strand SoftLight 300S TV panels, Robe Robin DL4S profiles and Robin Spikies. ‘Philips Strand Relayrack panels were installed for all the power distribution,’ added DWR sales representative Kevin Stannett. ‘The DMX network was redone with nine LSC Splitters. They are going “daylight” on all four studios, which means there is no need for gelling old tungsten fixtures. The SoftLights are fairly new to the industry and are amazing to create a soft, even wash in studio.’
‘We have more level with the same amount of fixtures than before,’ said Mr Barnard. ‘Not only are we running the key lights at a lower level, but it has allowed us to close the camera’s iris – that in turn increases the depth of field and subsequently makes camera operation easier. It was an unforeseen benefit that these lights seem to be more robust in producing more LUX. Levels are balanced and we have pretty pictures consistently.’
Gareth Chambers and Jannie de Jager from DWR provided the SuperSport team with training on the dot2 consoles. These are used for controlling the RGB units on set and the new movers added to the rig for special broadcasts.
Overall, Mr Barnard is impressed with the new solutions, as well as the service provided by DWR. ‘We have an internal rating system for projects within the Multi-Choice Group and the DWR Install team received an almost unheard of high score for this project,’ he said. ‘They did it in a record time, we had no snags, and the initial feedback has just been positive. Visual Frontier’s design team, Paul Modise and Mpho, were really switched on. Paul ensured that everyone understood what was going on, that the lights were in the right place and had the right addresses programmed on the console. He also helped the SuperSport team learn the desks.’