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White Light Helps Shock Solutions Light Up Rugby World Cup Broadcasts

White Light Helps Shock Solutions Light Up Rugby World Cup Broadcasts
White Light Helps Shock Solutions Light Up Rugby World Cup Broadcasts

The London broadcast studio for last year’s Rugby World Cup was brought to vivid, dynamic life by Shock Solutions, making use of some of the very latest lighting and media server technology from ArKaos, Christie and LSC - all supplied to Shock by White Light.

To provide a punchy yet highly versatile background to proceedings, the set design for the World Cup broadcasts replaced a conventional printed, brightly lit backdrop with a 20 metre wide rear-projection screen lit using four Christie L2K1500 15,000 lumen projectors soft-edge blended together to create a 180 degree digital canvas that wrapped around the rostra that housed the presenters and pundit team. “The Christie projectors provided a lot of punch and incredibly vibrant colours, really bringing the background to life and ensuring that Stuart Gain, the lighting designer, didn’t have to compromise his lighting in order to make the background visible,” comments Andy Hook of Shock Solutions. “Combined with the 300m of scenic LEDs Shock supplied, the result was a fresh, exciting, warm look, inviting even as eager rugby fans awoke to watch in the early hours!”

Driving this backdrop was one of the brand new ArKaos A30 media servers, fitted for this occasion with SDI inputs to allow down-the-line feeds from reporters or pundits in New Zealand to be shown on the screen. The A30 comfortably handled the many layers of video soft-edge blended to the four projectors, with its built-in geometric correction allowing the screen’s curved geometry to be easily dealt with.

A second, 10m screen formed a separate interactive set in the same studio, lit using Sanyo projectors soft-edged together; stacks of HD LCD monitors were then constructed around the presenters table and in the foreground of the set. The second screen and monitor stacks were controlled using three further ArKaos media servers; these were also fitted with SDI inputs so that live feeds from reporters or highlight and analysis packages created in the studio’s edit suite could be shown on any or all of the displays.

Control for all of the media servers came from one of the first LSC Clarity LX300 lighting consoles, in parallel with its public debut at the 2011 PLASA Show. The Clarity console drove the media servers via Art-Net while also using the CITP protocol, allowing media to be seen on the console as it was placed in the servers using the “fantastic” library manager in the ArKaos MediaMaster software. “The integration with the media servers and the way in which Clarity allows you to interrogate the media and manipulate the layers was our main reason for wanting to use Clarity on this project,” Andy Hook explains, “with the LX300 console adding hands-on control to Clarity’s proven stability and performance.”

“We needed very fast access to the media on the servers as requests to display new elements would come through thick and fast from the production team in the gallery, with almost no time to prepare or program. Clarity’s busking capabilities, touch-screen interface and visual media library all helped to make this a breeze and we were even able to re-position content to suit different shots.”

The Clarity LX300 also allowed easy handling of live video inputs using the ArKaos servers’ SDI inputs. “We could take any feed and quickly and easily display it on any part of the digital canvas, with a consistently repeatable, smooth and controlled fade - making live images ‘appear’ in mid-air, in front of the background, then fade away again at the request of the director. Jump Design created the opening titles and other graphical elements for the production; they provided us with all of these elements with a transparent background, which meant we were able to sit in the gallery, look at the actual camera shots and manipulate those elements as layers on the servers, gradually adding and positioning images to build a composite look which was exactly what the production team wanted. They weren’t ever having to ‘make do’ with fixed positions or graphics, and there was no need to compromise with pre-printed cloths or pre-produced video.”

As important as versatility was reliability, with broadcasts often being made live. Shock Solutions provided a second A30 media server as backup, but it was never needed. “The whole system performed flawlessly every day for over three weeks at the London Studios, often working continuously for periods of ten hours or more,” Hook recalls. “We were quite delighted with the performance of all of the gear on every level.”

In picture: Andy Hook with the LSC Clarity console.

photo: Steve James (

7th February 2012

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