PWL engages in creative battle
Monday, 18 November 2019
painting-with-lightThe TV series is billed as ‘the next level of studio entertainment’ (photo: Louise Stickland)
Belgium - Painting with Light (PWL), working for television producers Dedsit, supplied lighting and video content design, creation and control for De Battle – a co-production between Belgium’s SBS and Netherlands broadcaster, RTL – which was recorded at the Pop Up Theatre in Puurs.
The TV series is billed as ‘the next level of studio entertainment’. Four celebrity contestants, divided into two Belgian and Dutch teams faced brain-teasing quizzes, gravity-defying stunts – from drifting cars to traversing a high wire plus a host of manual dexterity and physical exercise skill tasks – testing them to the max in front of a live audience.
Studio 100’s Pop Up Theatre includes eight moving seating tribunes to fit 1600 people and eight remote-controlled LED screens which can be moved into any position and configuration.
These large moving assets enabled the production team to build the multiple locations needed within the venue to stage the different challenges. The speed at which these turnarounds were possible enabled series director Kevin Houben to achieve the results he needed for all four episodes that were recorded during two intense weeks.
PWL’s creative director Luc Peumans designed lighting for each different scenario, utilising the substantial ‘house’ lighting rig in the Pop Up Theatre (also home of the 40-45 musical spectacular, as a base, and adding around 140 moving lights).
Luc’s extensive experience as a lighting and visual designer in television and theatre was a huge asset to the production as was his ability to think ‘out-of-the-box’.
Kevin Houben initially produced a mood board for each act / challenge and location. The series logo, which was prominent in the video artwork, was originated and styled by the creative team at SBS.
Luc took these two elements as his starting points and started the lighting process and briefed the video content creators accordingly.
The challenge on site for the technical team was getting the changeovers completed smoothly and in some very short operational windows, which involved moving the screens, the tribunes with the audience and the lighting positions which changed dramatically as the 3D space for each challenge shifted.
“We basically needed to be as flexible as possible on all fronts,” explained Luc, “as well as leaving a bit of contingency for ‘unknowns’ which frequently presented themselves when working in these dynamic spaces as we were developing the scenes.”
The l lighting fixtures included 125 x Icon Stage hybrid beam / spot / wash luminaires from PRG Belgium who also supply the venue house rig, plus 96 x GLP Impression X4s and XL LED washes.
The vast majority of these were deployed on the floor, on the screen wagons, on the bleacher seating, etc., only 24 extra lights were hung in the grid.
Luc utilised six PRG Best Boys as follow spots, operated remotely via a ground Control system.
A grandMA full size console was used for lighting control – running with fully redundant backup – and a third mobile console which was used to position fixtures in other areas whilst programming continued for the current area. Programming was an exacting task on site co-ordinated by PWL regular, Niels Huybrechts. The positional pre-programming was done by Céline Cuypers.
Co-ordinating visuals and running PWL’s 10 x d3 video servers on site was Tommie Kidjemet, with all the advance video programming undertaken by PWL’s Katleen Selleslagh.
PWL commissioned Bart Tauwenberg from New Solid to produce the video content under Luc’s direction.
For Painting with Light, The Battle was an opportunity to demonstrate coherent visual teamwork, continuity, imagination and the combination of technical and creative skills that define the multidisciplinary approach of the company. “We are all very proud of working with the Dedsit crew and being part of something that’s exciting and ground-breaking in terms of television,” concluded Luc.
(Jim Evans)

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