HSL has supplied the upcoming BBC Series “Hole In The Wall” with 300 square metres of SoftLED curtaining, 160 Pulsar ChromaStrips, 60 i-Pix Satellite LED bricks, 24 JTE PixelLines and 20 Vari*Lite VL 1000 moving lights and a WholeHog 3 console for control.

Lighting for the 10 part series – due for screening in the autumn – is designed by Tom Kinane. The eye-catching set was designed by Richard Plumb, and Svend Pedersen worked closely with Kinane in programming and operating all the LED, digital lighting and moving lights. Another important element of this winning visual equation was BBC vision controller Jim Murphy, and HSL’s project manager wasSean McGlone.

Hosted by Dale Winton, the show features two teams led by Anton De Beke and Darren Gough. Each team has 3 lycra-clad celebrities who have 7 seconds in which to jump through a tracking wall with variously shaped holes …. Or end up head first in a swimming pool!

For Kinane, the installation of the swimming pool into one end of studio TC8 at BBC’sWood Lanefacility meant the loss of 6 ft of headroom, which in turn affected the way he lit the set elements and action. Richard Plumb came up with a set design incorporating 10 large scenic chevrons, and wanted to use an LED back cloth from the outset for displaying people’s names, other text and assorted graphic backgrounds. Kinane and Pedersen recommended the SoftLED, having worked with it – and other options – before.

The 12 SoftLED panels are arranged 4-wide and 3 down around the perimeter of the studio, giving a spectacular moving backdrop. Plumb particularly likes the way the careful application of certain types of LED material to the shapes and surfaces of the set can dramatically increase its depth and perception on camera.


The PixelLines were located under the stairs and staging area and used – among other effects – to wash the space with the team colours of red and blue.

Each chevron was framed by sixteen 600mm ChromaStrips, and front lit with two V*L1000s scaled to fit the shape.

The chevrons were constructed from corrugated material, so the Satellites were carefully positioned below – 4 per chevron – for up-lighting and catching all the return surfaces, contrasting with the down lighting from the Vari*Lites to produce complex two-tone texturings with the different qualities of light. The other 16 Satellites covered the silvered material panels behind the tiered audience seating.

Other V*L2500s and 3000s over the studio floor were used for beam excitement and other effects during the game, and the floor contained chevron shaped sections of Barco MiStrip LEDs supplied by Anna Valley.

All the LED and moving lights were controlled via Pedersen’s Hog 3 which was triggering the Catalyst media server storing all the content. On occasions – e.g. count-downs – this was also triggered by a MIDIfeed from the special Lumina games computer that synched lighting, sound and video together for those cues.

Kinane comments, “Working with HSL’s Sean McGlone has been a pleasure as always. He’s delivered everything that was promised and was also extremely helpful in setting up demos so we could all see the results of using different types of LED before making the final choices.”

Date of issue : 15th August 2008.

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