Devon, UK based drapes, starcloth, LED and visual effects specialist S+H Technical supplied its new LED Stair product to the red carpet launch of the 2013 series of the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
The LED Stair was specified by the show’s designer Patrick Doherty for the launch event, which was staged at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood UK.
The 11th edition of the massively popular series has moved to a new much larger home at Elstree, and for this, Doherty has again specified S+H’s Pea-light starcloth.
For the launch event, Doherty wanted something visually different and spectacular, and the idea of constructing a functional and practical set piece - that also came alive with kinetic motion, energizing the presentation space - ticked all his boxes.
He also likes to try out new ideas and innovations.
S+H’s robustly engineered LED stair product is made up of 122 x 244 mm panels with a high resolution pitch of 7.6 mm, with special magnetic edge fixings so they can be easily slotted into place on steel stair structures. These can then be made up into the required height and width specifications.
For the Strictly launch, the stairs were 11 treads high by 3.5 metres wide.
The staircase was built onto the front of the ‘reveal’ stage. All the competitors came up from below stage on a stage lift and stepped forward onto the reveal stage then in turn onto the stairs, descending to the main stage.
Once the action started to unfold on the main stage, the LED staircase provided a dynamic backdrop to the whole event.
Custom video content - created by Potion Pictures - was run through the stairs via a Hippotizer media server, triggered by Dave Bishop who was also operating the show’s moving lights.
The overall look and feel of the launch show was another close collaboration between Doherty and Lighting Designer Mark Kenyon, and both are also working on the series together.
It was the first time that Doherty had used the LED Stairs, something he’d been wanting to do ever since his first demo, and this presented the perfect opportunity. He reports that everyone was “Very happy” with the effect.
The new studio for the series – which has gained about three metres extra headroom and an enlarged audience capacity – is fully wrapped with S+H Pea-light starcloth on the top levels, with more individual Pea-Lights semi-permanently installed in the walls of the downstairs.
The overall Strictly ambience combines the aura of classic variety show, dancehall performance and glamour with flourishes of modern televisual aesthetics.
S+H has supplied various draping and soft goods to Strictly Come Dancing since it started in 2004. The amount of this type of kit has grown and diversified as Strictly’s visuality has evolved and been developed year to year.