Elation gears up for Netflix’s Hyperdrive
Friday, 18 October 2019
hyperdriveSkid pan alley
USA - In Netflix’s new reality TV show Hyperdrive, car racing meets obstacle course in a type of American Ninja Warrior with cars. Lighting is in the capable hands of two long-time industry pros and Warrior lighting veterans, Ed Motts (lighting director) and Adam Biggs (director of photography).
Motts says it was through their work on Warrior that the team was brought onboard to light the new reality competition. “We’ve really developed a niche reputation for doing outdoor TV shows,” he says of the lighting team. “Whatever Mother Nature can muster we’ve been through it. Hence we’ve gone with Elation gear because the IP rating is tremendous for us.”
The inaugural season of Hyperdrive was released by Netflix to a worldwide audience in August. The series was filmed at the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, N.Y. The complex was transformed into 10 obstacle racecourses with contestants driving custom cars through a series of obstacles.
Motts used a large package of dynamic lighting to bathe the Hyperdrive course and cars in light, colour and effect. Some 200 Elation Cuepix 16 IP LED matrix panels, 245 SixPar 100 IP LED PAR lights, 145 Platinum Beam 5R Extreme narrow-beam moving heads, and 34 Proteus Hybrid moving heads, along with other lighting, played a key role in helping to create maximum TV drama. Aspect Lighting out of LA supplied the automated lighting with MBS providing conventional fixtures.
One of the show’s many challenging obstacles is called Walk on Water, a 50,000-gallon water hazard where cars follow a marked path through a pool of water. “We asked ourselves how we could add a little flavour to the obstacle, a bit of eye candy,” Motts says. “Being so close to the water, we lined the pool with Cuepix 16 IPs which ran effects as the cars raced by. When cars veer off the path, there are big splashes of water and the fixtures get soaked but they’ve been amazing.” The Cuepix 16 IP, a powerful 4x4 matrix LED panel with all-weather protection, were also used to light up some of the buildings around the set.
Large numbers of IP65-rated SixPar 100 IP LED PAR lights coloured the set with Elation’s Proteus Hybrid arc source moving heads operating in several areas as a wash light to beef up zones that required more light for camera.
Motts says that, when filming and it begins to rain, shooting continues as they scramble to bag as many non-IP fixtures as they can. “We had a lot of Platinum Beam 5R Extremes on the ground and on structures, which isn’t an IP65 fixture but it sure seems like one. We tried to bag as many as we could when it rained but they held up regardless although we did have a few along the finish line straightaway get wiped out by cars going 120 mph.”
Filmed with multiple camera angles capturing all the action, including from drones, Motts says they never had any issues with the fixtures including the camera aspect. “No flicker issue, no colour issue, they held up to everything,” he said.
Lighting was under control of an M6 console running Onyx software by Obsidian Control Systems while Elation Wireless DMX Transceivers were used to facilitate DMX communication with lighting fixtures where hardwired solutions were impractical.
(Jim Evans)

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