Filipe Dos Santos
Belgium – Lighting entertainment programs for television always presents challenges. But when it comes to lengthy charity broadcasts, with their variety of performances over an extended period, and their need to engage the audience and (hopefully) encourage them to make generous donations, the challenges become even greater.
Belgium’s annual charity television broadcast, Télévie, produced by RTL-TVI, raises money to help fight cancer and leukemia in adults and children, so the creation of vibrant, sumptuous television images is a key requirement. Tasked with lighting the broadcast this year, Filipe Dos Santos, director of photography at RTL Belgium, included in his design the high-performance features of the VL2600 Spot luminaire from Vari-Lite.
“A television production has two challenges for lighting: the functional and the decorative,” says Dos Santos. “That is, what is technically good for the camera and what is pleasing and entertaining for the television audience.”
With its wide and deep studio stage hosting a broad range of live acts and presenters, the show requires lighting capable of filling the space with high quality light and a variety of looks and effects, plus the textural depth to create beautiful television pictures.
“I was looking for luminaires that could produce a powerful, quality white light, that could open wide,” he says. “I needed projectors, wash effects and bright beams to carve large volumes of space and give depth to the image.”
To achieve this, Dos Santos included 24 VL2600 Spot fixtures in his rig. “I chose them for their great openness and incredible focus, plus their gobos and their beautiful mixed and fixed colors,” he says. “The finesse of the optics and the variety of gobos, in particular the classic dotted gobo and the flower patterns, were what especially appealed to me effects-wise.”
Producing 19,000 lumens of high color temperature, high contrast light output from its 550W LED light engine, and with a class-leading zoom range of 7-48°, the VL2600 Spot offers a wide choice of saturated colors within the familiar Vari-Lite color palette, plus variable CTO adjustment. Its effects toolkit includes a wide range of rotating and fixed gobo, plus additional color wheel, prism and variable frost.
He adds, “The VL2600 is the masterpiece of the effects: it allows me to regulate the occupation of the space and to spatialize the show. They offer reliability and a unique signature of their own.”
As well as providing depth and texture, the VL2600 provides benefits for the camera, thanks to its light output and variable color temperature. “In television, we must always measure the levels, the white balance and the CRI,” says Dos Santos. “The VL2600 corresponds to what we expect, so we can very quickly calibrate it correctly with the other visual elements in the show.”