Now in its eighth season, Castle is shot on two standing sets at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood
USA - Programmer Martin Weeks' ETC Gio console still looks brand new. You would never guess it had seen action on a few hundred episodes of the US TV series Castle. "I love my Gio, but most of the time I turn it on in the morning and off at the end of the day. The real work is done by the Magic Sheets, which have dramatically changed my workflow," explains Weeks. The Magic Sheets allow the operator to create a separate touchscreen showing all the fixtures and their levels without using the faders or submasters on the main desk.

Now in its eighth season, Castle is shot on two standing sets at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Their level of scenic detail is masterful. Using ETC Net3 Gateway, Weeks has fingertip control of light levels in the New York City police precinct and Castle's loft apartment. "The sets are big - 23m by 7.5m - so it took some time to scale the Magic Sheets to a usable size, but now they are a lifesaver. When you're dealing with up to 100 setups a day and 22 episodes a season, every minute counts," says Weeks.

He got his start as a technical director in Los Angeles, working at the Falcon, Tiffany and Coronet theatres, and broke into television as a gaffer for a soap opera. After a few seasons on Brothers and Sisters, he joined Castle in season three for one episode, and never left. Apart from an early encounter with a Colortran Scene Master 60, the ETC console line - starting with Expression - has become his stock in trade: "When I first joined Castle, the show had been shot on film and - as was the tradition in the studios - did not use a lighting desk. It was definitely old school." By season three, they had made the switch to digital and started using an ETC Expression 3, and an Ion® by season four.

With the exception of a few practical lights on satellite packs, the show is still not run on dimmers. The traditional tungsten fixtures are controlled by relays. "At first I was worried about creating custom curves for all that relay control, but on the Gio it turned out to be a snap. I was able to copy and paste very quickly," says Weeks.

(Jim Evans)

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