The production studio for TV Tacoma, a government access channel serving the City of Tacoma and Pierce County, Wash., is a lot brighter and more versatile since professional video and audio systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) upgraded the facility’s lighting grid. ABS removed all incandescent lights and replaced them with almost 70 Brightline daylight balanced (5600K) fluorescent and LED lighting instruments.
According to Mark Siegel, president of ABS, the redesigned lighting grid has twice the lights but has reduced energy consumption (including HVAC usage) by more than 75 percent. The four-day project was completed in February and also included a new ETC Element lighting console, which allows operators to dim all instruments and save lighting designs for easy recall.
Under the direction of supervisor John Miller, TV Tacoma has six full-time producers and a full schedule of original series and special programming, which is available locally on Click! and Comcast cable systems. Programming is also streamed live on www.cityoftacoma.org and archived through Granicus for on-demand viewing. The City of Tacoma also operates a regional bulletin board channel and a regional master control center that serves six channels from its facility.
The primary goals of the project were to drastically improve the overall studio lighting to coincide with the arrival of new sets, as well as reduce heat and energy consumption generated by the existing incandescent (quartz) lights. The 25×40 studio space once housed three sets, but now has enough lighting to support six sets, including a new green screen wall for chromakey productions.
Joe Cervone, a sales manager for Brightline who assisted with the project, said the company’s fluorescent SeriesONE fixtures were used to light large areas of the sets. “From there, we used our Lupolux LED Fresnels to sculpt, highlight, and add depth and texture,” he explained. “By mixing broad and point sources, we were able to produce excellent results with a more realistic return on investment, more so than if we just used LEDs.”
Jeff Lueders, cable communications and franchise services manager, City of Tacoma, said the new lighting was part of their overall improvement plan to enhance productions and the viewer experience. “It definitely makes our studio space more versatile, allowing programs to include a performance area in addition to the traditional interview area,” he said. “The new lighting scheme also helps prepare our facility for the transition to HD production, which should be completed within the next nine months.”
“The before-and-after differences are stunning,” Cervone added. “In the ‘pre-light’ shows, the interview set almost looks grey and black, while it’s actually several shades of red, violet and gold. Also, utilizing daylight-balanced sources, we were able to relieve some of the challenges to the broadcast chain while they’re rapidly switching from studio to exterior location shots.”
“TV Tacoma might not have the biggest studio, but their investment in new lighting instruments has made their space significantly more flexible,” said Siegel. “The investment in Brightline fixtures is already paying off in lower energy costs and improved lighting quality. Plus, the new ETC lighting board makes it easy to recall lighting schemes for regular series, which saves a lot of time and effort.”