Scharff Weisberg Lighting (www.swinyc.com) helped lighting designer Stan Crocker create the signature look for the new Comedy Central hit, The Colbert Report, starring Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert in a parody of political talk shows.
“I had a great experience with Scharff Weisberg on the Queen Mary 2 where Carly Simon recorded her Moonlight Serenade DVD,” says Crocker. “I also used Scharff Weisberg on a couple of recent TV shoots with Coldplay and Dave Matthews Band for VH1 Storytellers. So they were my first call when I started putting together The Colbert Report lighting concept.”
Crocker’s music chops proved to be just what the new show was looking for. “Stephen and the producers wanted a bit of a rock ‘n roll edge to the lighting,” Crocker notes. “They wanted movement and color changes that would be a little over the top like the character that Stephen portrays. The scenic design, by Jim Fenhagen of Production Design Group, gave me a lot of opportunity to affect color and texture. We also put a bit of haze in the air to enhance the gobo patterns.”
Scharff Weisberg provided a moving-light and LED package for Colbert’s studio, the former Daily Show venue. VARI*LITE VL3000 and Martin MAC 250 Profile moving lights were furnished along with Lekos and a complement of LEDs, including Color Kinetics ColorBlaze units.
“Some vertical columns in the set were originally designed to hold fluorescent light,” Crocker points out. “With a slight modification in the set design we were able to position some Color Blaze LEDs and get a lot of color versatility out of the scenic pieces. The LEDs became a key part of the overall lighting and scenic look. Other color changes were accomplished with CXI color changers on conventional VL3000s and MAC 250s.”
Crocker says he’s “really excited” about the look of the new show, which debuted to rave reviews. “The lighting, the scenic and the graphics all work together to create an environment befitting the extremes of the character that Stephen has created,” he observes. “With this project I came to appreciate how lighting can affect the live studio audience from the moment they first walk in to the studio, through the stops for commercials and the bumpers back into the show. It all has an effect on them and their energy which has an effect on Stephen and his energy and it all carries on to the television audience.”