Catalyst Colours The Money

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Three dual output Catalyst G5 HD digital media servers formed a fast, flexible control hub driving all the digital lightsources and video surfaces on the set of the new ITV prime time games show, “The Colour of Money”, presented by Chris Tarrant.

In a bold creative and technical statement, the lighting design developed for the show by Tom Kinane and Svend Pedersen didn't contain a single moving light, and was styled to compliment Patrick Doherty's eye-catching media-based stage set, and to offer a dramatic presentation departure from previous Chris Tarrant shows.

The Catalysts were supplied by Ross Williams and operated by Pedersen using a WholeHog 3 console, running 16 DMX universes and controlling up to 2060 individual fixtures around Studio 1 at the London Weekend Television HQ on London's South Bank.

Pedersen created approximately 200 custom video clips for the show, many of them involving turning the set into the idiosyncratic colour schemes needed to match the different ‘colours' of the money (all real cash) in the machines as the game was played. They also did banner texts of contestants' names and the programme Ident.

The Catalysts drove 44 i-Pix BB4 and 7 BB7 LED wash lights and 9 different screen surfaces, including Barco O-Lite banners curving around the back of the set along with 3 G-LEC header banners, one large G-LEC background screen, a large high resolution central screen and 3 low res screens at the back providing camera candy in reverse shots of the contestants.

Pedersen really made the most of the Catalyst's Mix Windows facility, which allows different outputs to be fed to multiple screens via the ability to assign mixes to layers, which he describes as “incredible”.

Mix Windows also slims down the amount of hardware now needed to achieve very complex results, whilst allowing designers and programmers more options than ever, a real asset in the world of TV where sets increasingly feature digital scenery needing specialist media and visuals needed to run them.

One output of Pedersen's Catalysts was sent to the studio vision mixer, and another to LED screen providers CT's Barco Folsom picture management system where they were sized to fit the screens.

For Pedersen and Kinane, Catalyst is the control platform of choice for LED surfaces and digital lighting on high profile TV productions, “It's completely stable and reliable,” says Kinane, “We've never had a problem with a Catalyst on any of our shows and that's a paramount consideration as time is always tight and we need to be assured that the machine/s will run with no glitches”.

Pedersen elucidates, “Richard Bleasdale's constant software updates ensures a phenomenal amount of freedom for designers, and it's great to be able to import images without any file size restrictions or not having to worry about codecs, etc”. He adds that the service and support from exclusive UK distributors Projected Image Digital is also superlative.

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