In 2006, the Dole Foods Corporation decided to extend its message of healthy living by opening the Westlake Village Studios, a 40,000-square-foot TV broadcast facility that is part of the Four Seasons Westlake Village Hotel in California. The studios' productions focus on wellness and include viewer-education on nutrition, exercise and health. Outfitted for professional-grade production, the studios employ a full ETC lighting control system.
Flexibility was paramount in the decision to specify ETC equipment. Beyond the studios, the lighting system would have to offer flexibility for video production throughout the hotel and outdoors, allowing fast and easy access to presets, both at the main console and from remote stations.
An ETC Unison® architectural lighting control system and ETC Sensor® dimming are used in the hotel, so it was a logical choice to use the same equipment in the studios, to make technical support and integration easier. Kyllene Jones, a principal at Lighting Design Alliance in Signal Hill, California, says: "The studio lighting has to work seamlessly with the hotel system, so there must be full flexibility in case higher light levels are needed for TV cameras. Sensor's individual preset controls are very helpful there." Sensor and Unison panels are situated at various points in the studios, master control rooms and hotel spaces, so technicians have access to dimming controls wherever filming is taking place.
Meanwhile, the central lighting control for the studio is handled by an ETC Congo™ console. "While complex cue sequences are not nearly as common in TV production as in theater, broadcast personnel are coming up with more and more complex requirements for their control devices," says Norman Russell of consultant Norman Russell Design.
One of the biggest challenges for Westlake's lighting board is the fast changeover between tapings, and Congo helps ease this process with its Direct Select keys, providing short commands for fast results. "We were looking for a console that would allow a quick and straightforward manner of setting up a preset for recall or submaster operation, and for complex cue sequences to be recorded and played back, but also be capable of controlling our automated lighting fixtures," says Russell. Congo's extensive fixture libraries and effects capabilities let Westlake technicians experiment with their intelligent fixtures, even during a live taping.
Westlake's rig also deploys numerous conventional lights, among them ETC Source Four® fixtures, including ETC Source Four PARs. "The Source Four ellipsoidal spotlights that transformed this fixture category over the past two decades are an indispensable tool in studio lighting, so we specified a significant quantity of these units," explains Russell. "We particularly like the lens barrel interchangeability for beam angle choices, the efficiency of the 575 watt HPL lamp, and - of course - the crisp cut and controllability of this spotlight."
ETC's reputation for service was the final selling point for Westlake. "The manufacturer's support for the system after the sale and for future additions or modifications was very important to our client."