Specialz adds more glamour to Strictly
Thursday, 21 March 2019
strictlyAdding glamour to the dancefloor (photo: David J. Hogan)
UK - Each year the Strictly Come Dancing Live show gets that bit more glitzy and that bit more glamourous.
Now in its 12th year, the live production of the TV show has gone from strength to strength, playing arenas around the country. Each year the show specification is revisited and refreshed with each set piece and prop given a re-evaluation. This year, one of the recipients of a revamp were the chandeliers.
Production manager Andy Gibbs reports: “We had maintained the chandeliers for 11 years, bringing them out of storage annually to add that extra dressing to the set look. Our tour director is Craig Revel Horwood and during the initial discussions about this year’s show, he was keen to include fountains and waterfalls. Clearly, with 1,200 panels of wooden dancefloor that gets loaded in and out and carefully laid at every venue, this was never going to happen. I suggested we go down the LED route and approached Specialz to come up with a proposal. The resulting design and fabrication produced four chandeliers which proved to provide effects far beyond the original expectation.”
Specialz MD Dave Smith comments: “We exchanged various ideas and settled on a concept using programmable node RGBW LEDs and based around three half circle mirror balls on a tier. They had to be the same size as the old chandeliers to maintain the truck pack, they had to be battery powered, WiFi controlled, needed to rotate and descend from a winch. Our SPI cards have a unique programmable animation capability which allowed us to essentially group the 12,000 channel count to 360 for all four fixtures.
“Powered by 12V Li-ion batteries, each unit was fitted with its own charged so they could be charged up after each show when they were dropped in. The specification was originally that they need to run for about 50 minutes per show but, as rehearsals progressed it was clear that they were being used far more than originally planned so a significant comfort zone was built into their running time.”
The chandeliers provided the inspiration for another part of the set as Gibbs explains: “We had a large 10ft diameter, four tier centre-piece that was built by Howard Eaton Lighting and used the same technology from Specialz to harmonise the look. Put together they were simply stunning.”
(Jim Evans)

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