Lighting for the current run of the TV series of Pop Idol features 30 James Thomas Pixelline battens, supplied to the show by lighting contractors VLPS, specified by lighting designer/director Al Gurdon.

Pop Idol is the UK show the provided the template for American Idol, the series that made Justin Guarini and Clay Aiken household names.

The final 12 episodes of the popular series are being recorded at Fountain Television Studios in Wembley, London, following the early rounds that were shot at Teddington Studios.

Lighting is being programmed and operated by Mike Owen using a Virtuoso VX console. and the rig features over 100 Vari*Lite automated luminaires, assorted PARs and conventionals as well as the 30 Pixelline units.


The Pixellines are being used upstage in a broken up matrix-style--15-wide and 2-high-- to illuminate the back wall of the set, a large translucent metallic structure. They’re used to create different looks and effects, and as an alternative to a traditional cyc. The units are being run in their fully expanded DMX mode.

Pixelline is proving to be a highly in-demand rental item generally, and VLPS now has over 78 battens in stock, which are out most of the time. Keith Duncan of VLPS continues, says that Pixelline has been recently chosen by several top UK-based LDs--including Vince Foster, Andi Watson, Andy Liddle, and Dave Byars--for high-profile events, festivals, and tours. Pixelline has also been used on other TV shows including Granada’s Stars In Their Eyes and the recent MTV Awards in Edinburgh last week.

The ability to feed video signals into the Pixellines is also generating huge interest from LDs and programmers. Achieved via a number of different software packages including James Thomas’s proprietary PixelDrive, this vastly reduces the amount of programming time needed to produce highly complex ‘liquid’ effects. The whole concept of controlling LED lighting fixtures with video input offers immense creative scope.

VLPS has used Pixelline on a miscellany of shows, from awards ceremonies to the recent Alton Towers end-of-season fireworks spectaculars, which featured 25 units. Eddie Izzard’s LD Alex Saad has also specified 25 units for the comedian’s much anticipated UK arena tour in December.