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S+H Twinkles on TV for Christmas

S+H Twinkles on TV for Christmas
S+H Twinkles on TV for Christmas

UK – Ilfracombe-based S+H Technical, specialist for LED visual effects, drapes and starcloths, supplied 550 square metres of its LED starcloth product to help realise designer Joshua Grace’s set for ITV’s Best Christmas Ever.

The show, a one-off Christmas special, was hosted by Alexander Armstrong with a live audience on D Stage at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, and produced by Remarkable, part of the Endemol Shine Group.

Armstrong invited celebrity guests to his winter lodge to discuss their favourite elements of the season, and a member of the audience had the chance to win a ‘Best Christmas Ever’ hamper. A house band played popular Christmas tunes, with some of guests joining in for a sing-along.

Josh wanted a twinkly festive feel for the show and to suit the environment, a cosy fireside chat scenario with a wintry forest scene visible through the windows of the lodge.

The brief was to provide a warm, cosy and festive set for Armstrong to present his evening Christmas fun with a selection of interesting and entertaining guests. The theatrical scenery evoked winter lodge style tones and textures: lots of warm wood and decorated Christmas trees inside juxtaposed against a winter night with frosty trees outside.

The RGB starcloth was a perfect product to enhance and accentuate these atmospheres, and the product was used both as a back layer through the lodge windows, and to wrap around the back of the audience for the reverse camera shots.

“I wanted to make the whole studio, including the audience, twinkly; both like a night sky and like snowfall,” explained Josh. “Utilising the RGB star cloth meant we could have lovely blinking stars visible through the set and around the audience, or the starcloth pixels could be gently animated to look like snowfall.”

He used the starcloth’s ability to change colour to shift the vibe and energy for the music performances.

The show was directed by Simon Staffurth. The series producer was Charlotte Brookes and the executive producer Tamara Gilder.

Josh is a regular client of Terry Murtha and the team at S+H, and he comments that they are always “friendly, smiley, efficient and a pleasure to work with”.

Josh was busy over the festive period; he also designed the set for Help the Animals at Christmas, a star studded three-and-a-half-hour telethon fundraiser for Channel 5 hosted by former Strictly star Susan Calman and Cold Feet actor John Thomson. The show was staged at HQ1 Dock 10 at Media City in Manchester for production company Daisybeck Studios.

Broadcast on 21st December, it was the first ever Channel 5 telethon and helped raise nearly £700,000 for five animal charities to help rescue and rehabilitate needy and abused animals.

Once again Josh called on S+H to provide some specialist cloths for this, in the form of warm white pea-light starcloth used as a 360 degree wrap around the studio.

This Christmas show had a striking graphic logo that Josh and the design team reproduced physically as the scenery comprising a bauble with some animal silhouettes in the centre.

They created multiple cut out baubles to hang around the studio each with various animal profiles within.

A large LED screen was used for video play-ins from the various charities featuring their work including clips of the guest presenters out and about working on the ground with them.

In addition to the hanging baubles, LED wands were dotted around that could be animated to mimic the look of falling snow or candy canes, while the back layer of S+H’s starcloth brought a genuine warm and cosy Christmas feel to the environment.

Josh concludes: “Sometimes you can’t beat a traditional starcloth! It has a really familiar feel and adds a simple old-school twinkle to the studio. It’s also a very cost-effective solution for wrapping the entire studio in something twinkly.”

photos: Endemol Shine and Joshua Grace

16th January 2019

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