The "MTV Unplugged" shows were executive produced and directed by Matthew Mills of Space Station Media. The Brooklyn-based company produces content across all platforms from the Emmy Award-nominated "Fan Life" for HBO.com and the YouTubeLive web and mobile event to a wide array of TV shows and feature films. Mills is a veteran of MTV.
The "MTV Unplugged" series was shot at NEP Studios, New York City with a two-day turnaround. "It's been interesting to work on a series shot for the web. Web programming is a growing trend," says Landy. "At least one song from each show comes into rotation on MTV and MTV2, and now Palladia HD has picked up the series in full HD."
Mills and art director Scott Kawczynski did the production design for the shows creating "something of a speakeasy vibe that harkened back to the older 'Unpluggeds,'" he reports. They took a more streamlined approach to the décor, however, "because we needed to be able to take sets down and whisk them away in a heartbeat."
"Chris knows how to work something up in an unparalleled way," says Mills. "When we first turned on the lights he took our breath away. And he's shown us ten different looks, which were all great! Chris has been able to take our simplified set and make it look much more complex with a variety of lighting techniques. He was able to change the lighting from song to song so it's moody for one track and bright and vibrant in another."
Landy supported the "simple and elegant look" of Mills's and Kawczynski's set with a complement of LEDs. "We kept it simple, too, starting with 18 LEDs and adding six more. It's always surprising what you can do on a show of that size."
Landy's lighting rig was comprised of 36 ETC Source Four lekos; 12 PAR 64 1K MFLs; 12 1K T3 striplights; 12 1K single-cell cyc lights; 24 Colorblast 12s; and an ETC Express 250.
Mills, who has teamed with Landy several times before, declares that the lighting designer "is always my first call. You just tell Chris what you need, and he makes it happen. He's able to do more things with less money than most people do with big budgets. He's an intuitive, artistic guy who can run with little direction. And he always assembles a small but dedicated crew."
Matthew Piercy served as associate lighting designer on the series with Gerard McCarthy and CC Cooperstock the gaffers. Remote Digital Media, where Sandy Bondorowsky is technical supervisor, furnished the engineering and camera gear.
About Vibrant Design
Vibrant Design, LLC is an entertainment design firm providing a full range of set and lighting design services to broadcast and cable TV, live productions, corporate events and theater as well as architecture and interior design. For more information, www.vibrantdesign.tv.
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