SABC and Cosmolight bring cricket to TV screens
Friday, 31 January 2020
cricket-1For the Cricket Test Series, the SABC built a temporary set in Studio 7 in Auckland Park
South Africa - Cricket supporters have been entertained as the English cricket team, on tour in South Africa between December 2019 and February 2020, play four Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs), and three Twenty20 International (T201) matches. Cosmolight Quartzcolor LED lighting fixtures have been the performers of the day at the SABC, where commentary and live broadcast of the action is aired from their studios in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
For the past 35 years, Andre Rossouw has worked at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as a lighting designer/electrician and head of electrical distribution on outside productions. His role includes the task of streamlining a system that keeps the power on, despite the current instability of the South African power grid.
“The studio, working in unison with an OB Van, operates via a 80kVA UPS, linked to the studio’s backup generators, to make sure we don’t go down during load-shedding,” Rossouw explains. A generator kicks in if needed. “All gear, including the air-conditioned OB Van, runs off 55 amps per phase. The studio lighting for the Cricket Test Series uses a minimal 12 amps per phase, thanks to the LED technology being used.”
The lighting rig consists of 12 Cosmolight Quartzcolor Studio LED X6 Plus fresnels, 4 Cosmolight Quartzcolor Studio LED X5 fresnels, three Robe 600 Spots and 22 Longman F4 Up LED PAR cans, all operated from a grandMA dot2.
For the Cricket Test Series, the SABC built a temporary set in Studio 7, one of their seven drama studios in Auckland Park, which is hired out to clients requiring studio space when not in use by the broadcaster. Rossouw and freelancer Retsepile Botsane were asked to create a ‘warm’ look and feel on the backdrop, but with sufficient lighting on the presenters for optimal television broadcasting.
“We created a morning, lunchtime and evening lighting look, and also a cold look to be used on rainy days so that the set mirrored the action on the field,” Rossouw explains. The pair work on a MA dot2 console. “The console provides easy access to fixtures and is user-friendly,” said Retsepile, who has worked on the MA platform for the past two years. “I find it interesting working in a studio environment, understanding the backend of television and helping to bring a picture to the viewers at home. I’ve also learnt so much from Andre while working with him on this production.”
The SABC first invested in Cosmolight five years ago. “The fixtures are robust and can handle the bumps thrown at it during transportation and rigging for OB productions,” says Rossouw. “The greatest advantage is being able to run at low intensity while maintaining the colour temperature.”
DWR Distribution is the authorised local distributor of Cosmolight lighting technology in South Africa. Kevin Stannett, Cosmolight product representative at DWR says, “In the past, the challenge was to get LED to be as good as tungsten, and I think we are at the point where it is better than tungsten.”
(Jim Evans)

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