i-Pix makes the Colour of Money

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Over 50 I-Pix BB4s and BB7s were used to great effect for lighting the ITV's new prime time games show, The Colour of Money, presented by Chris Tarrant.

The lighting was designed by Tom Kinane and Svend Pedersen, who made the bold creative move of not including a single moving light or any smoke in the rig! They wanted to introduce a completely new style of illumination for the show, utilizing a substantial quantity of digital light sources to match Patrick Doherty's heavily LED based set.

Having used the BBs before, Kinane and Pedersen knew that these were exactly the right fixtures needed to produce both comprehensive washes and multiple effects.

Recorded in Studio 1 of the London Weekend Television HQ, space also restricted which lighting instruments could go where, and budget was also a consideration. Although not bottomless, there was sufficient available for the production to get the lighting it wanted!

Around the top level of the multi-layered set were 22 BB4s, rigged just above 3 G-LEC LED screens, defining the top line of the set. They were used to add punch and brightness for accenting stings, and for snaps-to-strong-colour scenes. They were mounted on monopoles attached to special i-Pix brackets.

Another 22 BB4s were used for under-lighting large expanses of the set floor space and two sets of Perspex stairs either side of the studio.

The BB7s were ensconced in the roof and used for down-lighting the stairs and the central circle on the studio floor – with the swipe machine - and also to aid Pedersen in punctuating specific sections of the show for the card swipes. The wide throw of the BB7s enabled excellent set coverage. Six units were placed around the central circle and one above each staircase.

All the BBs were driven by custom video clips played back from 3 dual output Catalyst digital media servers run by Pedersen from his Hog 3 lighting console.

"The greatest thing about the BBs is the homogenized lightsource, which eliminates any pixilation, so the fixtures appear just like a standard smooth tungsten source rather than the point-sources of the LEDs being visible. That and the 16 bit colour mixing, which allowed us to create the many off beat colours required," enthuses Kinane.

Over 70 colour set looks are a vital element of the game, as contestants choose which colour machine to ‘play' (each was stuffed full with different quantities of cash, totaling £240K of real money!) In addition to some of the more conventional hues, Pedersen had to create idiosyncratic shades like salmon, lime, lemon, caramel, platinum, tangerine, charcoal, etc, to meet the brief from David Young of production company 12 Yard.

"We simply could not have done this easily with any other lightsource," declares Kinane.

Pedersen adds that the sheer power of the BBs gave the show's stings and accents real impact.

The BBs were supplied to the show by HSL. Kinane and Pedersen will be using BBs again in immediately upcoming work, including "Don't Forget The Lyrics" and "The Krypton Factor", both being recorded at Granada Studios in Manchester.

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