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S+H Ends 2017 on a High Note
UK – S+H Technical, specialist for LED visual effects, drapes and starcloths, supplied a varied and spectacular array of high profile television shows in the run up to a bumper festive season, including Strictly Come Dancing, Children in Need and the final of 2017’s X Factor UK.
S+H’s Terry Murtha comments: “It was great to be working again with many of our regular clients like Strictly and Children In Need, and also with some exciting new ones; it was the first time we have supplied anything to X-Factor, so we were delighted to be offered the opportunity.”
S+H again supplied starcloth for the main hub of the BBC’s 2017 Children in Need live telethon at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. The broadcast was directed by John L Spencer and was the culmination of an action-packed year of fundraising activities.
The marathon live broadcast on BBC One and Two united a glamorous array of stars and spawned a host of special collaborations, all of which helped raise a record breaking 50 million pounds plus for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.
Production designer Alex Craig utilised 350 square metres of S+H animation cloth and 450 square metres of its RGB Starcloth product, which were an essential element of his eye-catching scenography.
Alex’s stunning studio set was based around a huge main performance stage and catwalk, with several large scale LED screens, each surrounded by an impressive four-layered pros arch. Dramatic curves and metallic finishes were used throughout the set, and giant flown spheres completed the design.
The S+H Animation cloth, which features high density individually controlled LED pixels that can create low-to-medium images, video loops and flash animations, was wrapped around the perimeter of the studio, under the control of lighting director Gurdip Mahal and run via one of the show’s lighting consoles operated by Will Charles.
It ensured that there were never any back-of-shot ‘black holes’ and also could be linked to the colour and movement of the video content and images appearing on the screens and other LED surfaces.
These soft products also amplified the size of the set, particularly on camera, and gave a full 360 degree perspective so it looked a lot larger simply by filling in gaps with a light source, an effect particularly noticeable on wide and moving crane shots.
The starcloth was used behind some specific set pieces to create those classic twinkling ‘magic’ television moments, of which there were many during the up-beat, lively show which was presented in the studio by a team of well known and loved presenters and included exclusive interviews with Peter Kay and his Car Share co-star Sian Gibson, and live performances from Jason Derulo, Katie Melua, Rita Ora, Sam Smith and The Vamps, while the cast of long-running soap EastEnders revealed their many hidden singing talents!
Alex comments: “As always, Terry did us a fantastic deal on the animation and star cloth and sent an amazing crew to Elstree to rig it all beautifully.”
S+H has supported the massively successful Strictly Come Dancing for the last decade.
This year, specified by BAFTA Award winning production designer Patrick Doherty, S+H products were supplied for the weekly episodes recorded at Elstree Studios as well as the Blackpool and Christmas specials. Patrick, known for this fresh and innovative approach, often uses drapes and softs when building his visual pictures
For the weekly show, over 600ft in total length of red velvet starcloth was supplied with a 25ft drop, together with around 3000 pea-lights in strings which were integrated into the set.
Terry Murtha commented: “It’s been great to be involved with Strictly for so long and to see the series develop over time and increase its amazing popularity. Although there are certain 'givens' each year in terms of look and style, there are also new, different and surprise elements which add to the fun.”
For the Blackpool special staged at the seaside city’s world famous Tower Ballroom, another 400 feet of Pea-light strings were supplied to replicate the Strictly signature pea-light effect in this different environment. These were overlaid onto 400ft of plum-coloured velvet drape which was also used for masking stage and set elements.
For the 2017 Xmas special, additional pea-lights were supplied and integrated into a large scenic bow in the middle of the stairs in the Elstree studio, plus a variety of swags and strings were suspended from the staircases and other set pieces, bringing extra festive sparkle.
This year’s highly anticipated X Factor final was staged at London’s ExCeL Centre and won by Rak-Su, a popular urban boy band from Watford.
Lighting designer Tim Routledge ordered an 800ft wide by 20ft deep wrap of starcloth to cover three walls of the arena, which was sourced via the series’ lighting supplier Neg Earth for the nail-biting two final shows.
Terry comments: “We’ve not been involved in X Factor before, so it was brilliant to receive the call from Neg Earth and enjoy seeing our kit used to great effect on the show!”
25th January 2018
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