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American DJ Updates Univision TV Studio

PLSN Staff • News • January 13, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Univision 41 TV in San Antonio recently decided to update the look of its news sets from its outdated, conservative old set with dark wood veneers to sleek new furnishings with bright, colorful lighting. Local company Event Ignition designed and installed the new lighting for the new looks, outfitting three different sets with products from American DJ and sister company Elation Professional.

More details from American DJ (
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Old news isn’t good news, at least not for a TV station’s news broadcast ratings. That’s why Univision 41 TV in San Antonio recently decided to update the look of its news sets with sleek new furnishings and bright, colorful lighting.  The station is part of the Univision network, which is the largest Spanish-language television network in the US in terms of viewership, according to Nielsen ratings.

“Univision’s old set had an outdated conservative office look with dark wood veneers everywhere.  For their new look, they really wanted to push the envelope and be completely different by having a lot of brightness and color,” said Frank Burton of Event Ignition. The San Antonio-based company designed and installed the lighting in Univision 41’s news sets, using LED products from American DJ and its sister company Elation Professional.

Three different sets were involved in the project:
* Univision News Set, used for broadcasting the station’s regularly scheduled daily newscasts.
* Univision Despierta San Antonio Set, a living room-like environment that features a morning talk show and other interview-based programming.
* Univision La Portada Set, equipped with large LCD wall monitors for displaying footage of national news stories.
The latter two sets were new construction, whereas the Univision News Set, the main set, was a renovation of an existing studio.

The station’s management wanted lighting that would be able to produce different colors to change the look of the sets for different types of news stories and broadcasts.  “For example, they wanted to be able to use lighting to give the morning news a brighter look than, say, an evening newscast, or convey a sense of urgency for a breaking news story by switching to certain colors like red tones,” said Burton.

Management also wanted lighting that could accent the studios’ stylish new furnishings, and of course, they required that it be energy efficient – all of which pointed toward using LED fixtures, noted Burton. To achieve these goals, the designer used American DJ’s Flat Par TRI7, a low profile par can powered by 7 x 3-watt tri-color RGB LEDs, and Micro Wash RGBW, a mini par can with 7 x 1-watt LEDs (2 Red, 2 Green, 2 Blue & 1 White) that measures just 6.9” x 4” x 2.6”.

Twelve Flat Par TRI7 units and 12 Micro Wash RGBW units were installed in the main Univision News Set.  “We hung some of the Flat Pars on a pipe grid to light the front facing façade of the news set, and we put others along the back so we could highlight the wall behind the set,” detailed Burton.  “That way we could change colors on both the back and front walls.  The Flat Pars have a 40° beam angle so they gave us a large coverage area, which worked out great.”

In contrast, the Micro Wash RGBWs, with their tighter pattern and tiny size, were the perfect complement to the Flat Pars for use as accent lights.  “We put the Micro Washes on the front wall of the set to highlight each of the Univision logos, so that we could change the color of the logos,” said Burton.  In addition to the two American DJ fixtures, Burton installed Elation Professional’s Flex Tape RGB, a thin LED circuit strip, along the back wall of the news set to give the appearance of color-changing bars.

Flat Par TRI7s and Micro Wash RGBWs were used on the other two sets as well.  In the Despierta San Antonio Set, which is decorated to resemble a living room — complete with art objects and a “window” — four Flat Par TRI7s and four Micro Wash RGBWs were installed.

“Here, the design was more for décor accent type lighting, and to add color and warmth.  We weren’t trying to wash the whole set,” said Burton. “We used the lights to accent the floral pieces and columns, and to uplight the rock-faced walls at the back of the set.  We also put one light behind the window, shining through it, so we could change the color to make it look like morning or give it a darker appearance, depending on the time of day.”

For the La Portada Set, which contains the LCD screens, management wanted a more colorful look.  Four Flat Par TRI7s and seven Micro Wash RGBWs were used to illuminate Plexi panels that were built into the set and to uplight the back walls behind the TV screens. “This allowed us to get some dimension and color, and accent the depth of the set,” said Burton.

Both the Despierta San Antonio and La Portada sets were tricky to light because of their small size, and the Flat Par TRI7’s wide angle helped meet this challenge, said Burton.  “There wasn’t a lot of room to be able to shoot long distances, so we had to choose a fixture that was able to cover a large area from a short distance.”  The Flat Par’s ‘sit-flat’ design, which allows it to be placed directly on the floor, was also helpful for uplighting, he said.

Burton also praised the Flat Par’s Tri-Color Technology, which combines red, green and blue into each LED source.  “It’s really awesome – Tri-Color Technology eliminates all color shadow issues.

“Another thing I really like about these lights is that even though they aren’t super-expensive fixtures, they’re great for use on camera.  We haven’t had any issues with flickering, which is something we used to have a lot in the past. These lights are really at an incredible price for what they do.”

Apparently, Univision 41’s management thinks so, too.  The station will soon be moving to a new facility, and Event Ignition has been asked to design all the lighting there as well.

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