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U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother Lit by GLP Impressions

PLSN Staff • News • February 23, 2009

LONDON — LD Darryl Noad needed a flourish for the last episode in the sixth series of the British TV series, Celebrity Big Brother, and used a rig equipped with 22 GLP Impressions to provide a rapid color-change pan within the festival-style Orbit stage. Once again shot at the Big Brother house in the grounds of Elstree Studios — where it has resided since 2002 — the reality show from Endemol TV ran for 22 days, and was watched by around 6.4 million viewers on U.K.’s Channel 4.

This was the first time that Noad, a veteran of Big Brother shows for the past four years, had used the Impressions, including two of the new larger XL versions of the fixture, and he said it certainly won’t be the last.

“Because the LED element is quite compact, there is not a lot of torque on the motors, so they can move quicker,” Noad said. GLP reports that the fixtures’ stepper motors yield a 2-second pan and one-second tilt.

Noad was encouraged to give the Impressions a try by TV lighting specialists Panalux.  After carrying out brightness tests, Noad added the Impressions to the lighting plot for back- and front-lighting the stage and to project gobo patterns onto the wall of the house. Followspots and Source 4s were used to highlight the faces.

“The idea was to make the set look as glitzy as possible, bearing in mind the weather down at Elstree can be horrific,” Noad said. “You look for equipment you know will be robust — and the GLPs looked fairly chunky. There’s not much to go wrong, and they are ridiculously bright.”

Since the luminaires were rigged inside the truss, they were protected from all the elements. “The prevailing wind at Elstree blows away from the stage, so there was no danger of any moisture getting in,” he said.

The Impressions were fixed around the “eyelash” of the Orbit stage using Super Clamps. “They were incorporated into the make-up of the ‘eyebrow’ — rigged on the straight sections of truss from which the semi-circle was constructed,” Noad said.

Controlling the lighting from a grandMA console, Noad used the fixture’s 660° pan and 300° tilt, rotating them into the truss and straight out of the stage to create beam effects. Each of the fixtures’ heads are equipped with 90 Luxeon LEDs (30 x RGB).

Noad expects to use the fixtures again, this time as a wall wash in a studio environment. The Impressions have an interchangeable lens carrier that allow for a 40° beam option, letting them function as the equivalent of a cyc light.

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