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Nexus Wins Friends on Bet On Your Baby Set
USA - Successful TV producers have a knack for spotting and locking up budding talent, be it a performer, writer, designer or other creative type. Nothing out of the ordinary about that – but it is highly unusual when the "talent" that’s tapped is a lighting fixture! Such was the case recently on the set of Bet on Your Baby, when the show’s producers told lighting director Adam Portelli that they wanted to include the Nexus 4x4 panels in the next project they did together.
Portelli and lighting designer Michael Veerkamp, both of Team Imagination (Rolling Hills Estates, CA), added the Nexus panels provided by the Los Angeles office of 4Wall Entertainment Lighting to the hit game show for its second season. "Our lighting team was new to the show this season and we wanted to give things a refreshed look, while still retaining the program’s signature feel, which has been so popular," said Portelli. "The producers were so thrilled with the added fun and vitality that Nexus brought to the set that they asked us to incorporate the panels into the next show we did with them. It is both exciting and uncommon when a producer even notices a lighting fixture, no less specifically asks for it!"
The Team Imagination designers first encountered the Nexus Panels on a visit to LDI with 4Wall Entertainment Lighting. "Our vendor 4Wall works very hard with Chauvet and other manufacturers to get us exposed to the best and most current lighting fixtures hitting the market," said Portelli. "The Nexus panels made a powerful impression on us from the start."
Veerkamp and Portelli used 24 Nexus 4x4 panels, arranged in six groups of four panels each, on the Bet on Your Baby set. The panels were positioned in a semi-circle over the stage facing the audience between digital images of the toddlers participating in the show.
"The set already incorporated LED fixtures from season one, but we wanted to enhance the visual opportunities we saw," recalled Portelli. "Mike and I decided to use the Nexus panels to suggest a ‘stadium’ look that would make the pre-existing set seem bigger than ever. By hanging the Nexus panels between the gaps of the set, we achieved that visual effect."
Hanging the Nexus panels high above the set was a task made easier by the fixture’s interlocking hardware. "CBS Radford Studios has great amenities for loading in lighting rigs," said Portelli. "Their studios are very well kept and completely capable of bringing in just about anything. They also have some of the best crew in the industry running their stages. Rigging the panels from standard wooden perms made for a few challenges, but Nexus thankfully support various rigging alignments with its interlocking coffin system, so everything went smoothly and the rigging was safe."
A key element that the Nexus panels brought to the lighting design – and one that captured the attention of the audience and delighted the show’s producers -- was how well the panels worked with programming cues. Veerkamp and Portelli credit their programmer, Mark Pranzini, with working a special brand of magic on the set.
"Mark Pranzini worked very hard with us to develop unique looks that differentiate our aesthetic from others," said Portelli. "We chose not to use the generic fixture profile and instead patched the units with individual RGB channels for each fixture. This allowed us to program more custom and unique looks with the panels, which was a nice feature. Generally we like to have fun with cueing because it helps move the game play along. We try to find a visual representation of the contestant’s progress in the game."
Aside from displaying cued images that reflect and support the flow of the action on the set of Bet on Your Baby, the Nexus panels also serve as attractive set pieces in their own right, according to Portelli. "The Nexus panels are shockingly bright and powerful; and we utilized them for their source eye candy," he said. "We find ways to harness and balance their intensity with the rig. The output of the Nexus panels is quite amazing. They played at very low intensity levels throughout the shoot, which was nice because we didn’t lose any aesthetic by having to ND them."
Hosted by Melissa Peterman, Bet on Your Baby has attracted a large audience since it premiered on April 13, 2013. The show has proven to be so popular that it’s now gone global with versions popping up everywhere from China to Argentina to the Ukraine. Keying the popularity of the show, of course, is the absolute cuteness of the toddlers who appear on the program with their parents, but also adding to the visual appeal is a very attractive lightshow.
"The client was very happy with the final look of the show," said Portelli. "We gave them a new look to a pre-existing show and they were quite fond of the fresh environment that was created with help from the Nexus panels."
5th November 2014
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