HSL Pushes The Right Buttons

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Blackburn, UK based lighting rental company HSL supplied moving lights, LED fixtures, follow spots and generics for Ant & Dec's hugely popular new “Push The Button” family challenge games show.

The first 6-part series, produced by independent company Gallowgate, has just finished and proved a massive prime time Saturday night hit for ITV. Lighting designer was Tom Kinane, with whom HSL has worked on many previous projects. The programme was directed by Nikki Parsons and recorded at Pinewood Studios' S-Stage. HSL's project manager was Sean McGlone.

McGlone comments, “It's always good to work with Tom. His shows are imaginative and interestingly lit, he chooses his lighting instruments judiciously and gets the very best out of all them.”

The eye catching set was designed by Dominic Tolfts. It was very wide with a series of gently curved lycra fins which also served as light-boxes around the

side wing areas, complete with majestically sweeping side stars left and right, and a large ‘playing area' in the middle. Various props and stage trucks were pushed on and off stage through a central rear opening, back-stopped with a structure of sun-strips and a Space Flower for white-out moments.

There were dashes of Art Deco in the styling and some classic games show elements inspired by the legendary 1970s and 80s ‘Generation Game' TV show.

Most of the set pieces were fabricated from vacuum formed grey plastic, which took light fantastically well and even gave off its own subtle twinkle texturing when lit. A theatrical style front curtain came in and out, and this was trimmed with neat strips of ‘ribbon' LED which was also threaded around various segments of the set, working as a delineater and a shaper.

From the start, Kinane and Tolfts worked really closely. They wanted a result that fused the scenic and lighting elements so they were the perfect complement. Kinane comments that it was “refreshing” to be working on a set that departed from the current trend for combining multiple LED surfaces. Here it was a clear case of ‘less is more' and getting back to some of those fabulous ‘theatrical basics' that work well on TV.

His biggest creative challenge he says, was making a comparatively few lighting fixtures “go a real long way” in terms of effects and treatments. Everything on the rig had to multi-task and work really hard to keep the variety, sparkle and bounciness of the show alive.

The moving lights supplied by HSL were a mix of Vari*Lite 1000 and 3000 spots and washes which were used for set dressing, colouring and texturing and floor washing. More Vari*Lites, including 2500 Spots from Automated Lighting were positioned on the floor and used for standard beam eye-candy work.

HSL supplied 32 PixelPARs which were used to up-light the fins each side and 20 i-Pix BB4s, which were rigged on to side booms each side, for cross stage side ‘swipes', again very theatrical in style and positioning.

They also supplied some of the many i-Pix Satellites that Kinane used extensively dotted around the set. The Satellites were utilized to dress the stairs very effectively, and even at distances of up to 15 – 18ft away at certain points, they had no problem cutting through. “It's an absolutely brilliant tool” confirms Kinane, who has been a fan of these fixtures right from the start.

Joining Kinane in the control room were Max Conwell, moving light operator, who used his Chamsys MagicQ console and James Ashdown from Automated Lighting, who controlled all the LED sources and generics from his ETC Congo desk.

The show's line producer was Marcus McKinlay, and gaffer Richard Jarvis was assisted by Chrissie Hyde. The vision control team consisted of Steve Williams, Simon Lyon and David Griffiths .. and the ribbon LEDs were all sourced by Simon Deary of LED Poison.

For more press info on the HSL Group, please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email louise@loosplat.com. Contact HSL direct on +44 (0)1254 698808, ‘info@hslgroup.com' or check www.hslgroup.com.

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