Blackburn, UK, based lighting rental company HSL supplied Vari*Lite moving lights and over 700 Pulsar ChromaStrips of varying lengths for the new ITV series, Magic Numbers, produced by CPL and aired live weekly in the prime time Saturday night slot of 8 p.m.

The show’s lighting was designed by Tom Kinane, who has used HSL to supply lights to numerous shows in recent years. HSL’s Project manager was Sean McGlone, who comments, “It’s always good to work with Tom and his team. The show looked fantastic, interesting and different, and we’re specially happy to be working on such a high profile new production”.

Magic Numbers was presented by Stephen Mulhern, directed by Chris Power broadcast from The London Studios (TLS) on London’s South Bank. Kinane’s starting point for the lighting design was the vibrant set designed by Andrew Gates, based on a sequence of funky, different shaped scenic light boxes.

It was Kinane who suggested that the ChromaStrip LED lightsource would be ideal to internally light the set pieces, of which there are 20 in total.

HSL delivered the ChromaStrips to set builders Set Square in Mitcham, Surrey, where they were wired in to the scenic pieces by the show’s senior technician Richard Jarvis, together with Chris Hyde and Daniel Kinane as they were built. This was an intense process that had to be finished in a very short time.

Once the set was installed in Studio 1 at TLS, Kinane worked on lighting it with a selection of fixtures including the 52 Vari*Lite VL3000s. Sixteen of which were on the deck and the other 36 rigged in the studio roof, used for washing the stage and beam effects and lighting the performance stage area for the weekly guest artists.

The multicolour looks and scenes created within the set looked stunning on camera as well as for the live audience. The set was wide and low and its lively, energetic aesthetic involved dramatic splurges of colour that swept across the whole environment, instantly changing the atmosphere.

Another visual element of the show involved playing with colour temperature. It was shot in daylight (5600°K) which is unusual, so Kinane lifted all the stage and set lighting colour by about 30%, giving the space and set an almost comic book appearance, fitting with the games show genre and making Magic Numbers very distinct.

Kinane is also using SunStrips around the studio, which come out with a shimmering golden tint due to the shooting in 5600. Other fixtures on the rig included i-Pix Satellites positioned on the floor pointing up to illuminate some of the scenic pieces hanging in the roof.

All the ChromaStrips and Vari*Lites were controlled by Max Conwell via his Chamsys MagicQ 100 Pro lighting desk. The conventionals and white lights were run by James Ashdown using TLS’s ETC Congo console.

Kinane says, “It’s been a real pleasure working with Sean and HSL again – the service and support is excellent and highly efficient and the kit is always in great condition”.

This first series runs for 8 weeks and has been a massive hit for ITV.

Working alongside Kinane, Jarvis and Conwell were vision controllers Darryl Bidwell and Steve Williams, CPL production manager Annie King, TLS studio managers Paul Braithwaite and Clare Philips and gaffer Michael Sullivan. They used 6 house spotlights, co-ordinated by senior operator Steve Embury from TLS. The show was produced by Mike Agnew and Barbara Lee.

Date of issue : 15th October 2010.

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