CBN TV studios upgrade to ETC Selador® LED lighting

One of the longest-running programs in broadcast history, CBN’s The 700 Club, had been using an analog lighting system for much of its run -- the last 30 of 45 on-air years. The show, which is accessible to 1.5 billion people around the world and airs weekdays, was due for a technical overhaul – from lighting fixtures to control. Their new future-proofed system includes a hybrid lighting rig of ETC Selador® LED luminaires and conventional fixtures controlled by an ETCNet3™ network with an Eos® system at the front. It was recently installed with the help of ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.) and 4Wall Entertainment -- and without interrupting the live schedule.

CBN’s Supervisor of Lighting Randy Read says the upgrade was driven by CEO and 700 Club executive Gordon Robertson: “Gordon is well informed about the production world. He wanted to not only change out the system but change the way we think about how we light. So, the mandate to use energy-saving LEDs came from him. We attacked our technology with a whole new mindset.”

Most of what CBN shoots in Studio 7 is magazine-style format: show hosts and guests seated behind desks or on an open set with a skyline backdrop. Read and his crew determined they would light the talent, backdrops, and cyc with LEDs. “We got every manufacture of LEDs into our studio so we could see whose fixtures would work best for what we wanted to do.”

“Since we were already lighting at a very low foot candle (20), we could replace our 2Ks, 5Ks, and 10Ks. Even though we were using these lights, we were dimming them so far down that the color temperature was all over the place. With ETC’s Selador Pearl and Lustr LED luminaires, we could get the foot candles we needed and adjust the color to each person’s skin tone using the light – instead of having to do it with the camera.” Using ETC Eos control, groups are constructed for each area on the set, with color palettes built appropriate to the person being lit. With a couple of keystrokes, the lighting can be quickly adjusted to current needs.

CBN’s new hybrid rig combines the strengths of LED-based luminaires with conventional fixtures. “All of the keys, fill, and backs are now LEDs,” explains Read. “All of the sets are lit with 1Ks, and we don’t have to dim them, which means the color temp is the same everywhere. The Selador LEDs are calibrated to match that color.”

Since their old system was analog, CBN had to build a data-distribution system from scratch. ETC project manager Doug Tuttrup explains the solution: “Studio 7 went from no data distribution to an ETCNet3 system with over 175 data points. They are now able to send Net3 data anywhere in the studio, and with ETC’s touring Gateways can get any of eight thousand ETC Eos console channels on any batten in the facility. Additionally, in the main equipment rack, permanent DMX-output Gateways with RJ-45 connectors on the front were installed. These Gateways are preconfigured for the most popular DMX universes, allowing Randy and crew to quickly get DMX wherever they need it without installing a portable Gateway or having to touch the configuration. This is perfect when specials or effects need to be added at the last minute. They simply move a patch cable from the network switch to the DMX output on the rack-mounted Gateways and they have direct DMX to their data drop. This system is powerful, flexible, and fast.”

The new system has raised CBN’s production values. Says Read, “We can control everything from dimmers, moving lights, LEDs, and smoke machines to future technologies. We also now have the ability to make changes in a second and in real time, instead of having to wait until after the show.”

“The most challenging aspect was replacing the whole system without shutting down production in the studio -- something no one in their right mind would try, but we did it,” laughs Read. All of the lighting was taken off of the main system and put onto temporary dimmers provided by 4Wall while the dimmers were reprogrammed to match the layout of the main system. “This could not have been done without the design leadership of ETC’s Doug Tuttrup and 4Wall’s Buddy Pope, as well as onsite support of ETC’s Josh Selander and CBN’s own Doug Bethune. These guys saved my life too many times to mention. They are real pros and know their stuff.”

CBN plans now to update their Studio 6, using the same ETC solutions and gear.

Installation

CBN Studios, Virginia Beach, VA

Product List

Quotable

“We got every manufacture of LEDs into our studio so we could see whose fixtures would work best for what we wanted to do. Since we were already lighting at a very low foot candle (20), we could replace our 2Ks, 5Ks, and 10Ks. Even though we were using these lights, we were dimming them so far down that the color temperature was all over the place. With ETC’s Selador Pearl and Lustr LED luminaires, we could get the foot candles we needed and adjust the color to each person’s skin tone using the light – instead of having to do it with the camera.”
-- Randy Read, supervisor of lighting


Other Broadcasting Installations

Channel 10 News, Jerusalem, IsraelWhen the managers for the news studio at TV station Channel 10 in Jerusalem were looking for new lighting, they knew they would need something small but high-powered for their relatively compact studio. They invited ETC’s Israel-based dealer Danor Theatre and Studio Systems to visit and discuss a range of different products. As marketing manager Erez Hadar explains: “We talked about the pros and cons of fixtures from several different manufacturers, before it was agreed that the ETC Source Four LED would be the best tool for the job.”
Featured Installation >

Supersport, NigeriaAs more Africans are investing in widescreen TVs and higher-quality video technology, they are also seeking high-definition broadcasting to view. None of the free-to-air broadcasters transmit in HD, so, along with a few other subscription-based stations, Supersport Africa – part of a continent-wide subscription-TV network owned by a division of Multichoice International Holdings (MIH) – decided to fill the vacuum. Multichoice converted a warehouse in Lagos, Nigeria, into three TV studios as part of a ‘fast-track' project to create an HD-broadcast facility. They are using a range of ETC lighting fixtures, dimming and control equipment for their production work.
Featured Installation >

Scenofest, Prague, Czech RepublicEvery four years, the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) collaborates with the Prague Quadrennial – the world's largest scenography festival – to present Scenofest, an educational project of performances, workshops and special projects for students from across the world. Thousands of students and artists from around the globe flock to Prague to participate in the event. Part of this year’s festival – held June 16th to 26th – was Six Acts, a collection of educational and artistic projects created by international groups of artists that were staged at cultural sites throughout the city. ETC lent a variety of lighting equipment to Scenofest that was used during several of the Six Acts and in student workshops.
Featured Installation >

Royal wedding dress exhibition, London, UKAn exhibition of historic bridal dresses just got the royal treatment – lit by ETC’s Selador® Lustr LED luminaires. The priceless dresses date to 1816 and were recently on display in Kensington Palace, London, ahead of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Featured Installation >

Daybreak, UKWhen Daybreak, a UK TV ‘breakfast show,’ was launched at the end of last year, it was with a flourish. Not only did the station spend a great deal of money enticing stars from other channels but they knew the set needed to look great.
Featured Installation >

The London Studios, UKJohn Pocock is a freelance lighting console operator who has worked on popular British TV shows such as QI, Have I Got News for You, Parkinson and The British Comedy Awards. He tells us about why he loves his Congo control desk.
Featured Installation >

NASCAR Countdown, ESPNAs NASCAR drivers get ready to start their engines, and fans get settled in to watch, ESPN broadcasts a revolutionary sports show from the sidelines of the racetracks. NASCAR Countdown uses the latest technology, including a lighting rig full of ETC’s Selador Series™ LED fixtures, to bring viewers up close with the action of NASCAR racing.
Featured Installation >

Westlake Village Studios, CAIn 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.
Featured Installation >

Deal Or No Deal, South AfricaThe hit game show Deal or No Deal has proved to be very popular around the world and has now made its way onto South African television. Lighting plays an important part in setting the ambience for the show, and the production team uses ETC equipment to create many of the signature effects.
Featured Installation >

Dancing on Ice, ITV, UKEarly Saturday-evening television in the UK has traditionally been ‘the’ slot for light entertainment. But between mid-January and mid-March 2008, the slot moved to Sunday, when Dancing on Ice was broadcast by ITV. Now licensed to eight countries worldwide, the program follows a familiar format: professionals (in this case, ice dancers) are teamed with celebrities, who are taught to perform ever more elaborate routines as the series progresses. Each episode, judges and viewers decide who is good enough to stay in for next week’s show.
Featured Installation >

Polish Public Television (TVP S.A.), PolandPoland’s broadcasting market is one of the largest in Eastern and Central Europe. Polish Public Television (TVP S.A.) is the largest broadcaster in the country – with an average of eight million viewers – and is one of the largest public stations in Europe. Steeped in history, TVP was created in 1937, the first television channel in Poland. Transmission was short-lived when the studio was destroyed in 1939 by the advancing German army. The studio officially reopened on October 25th, 1952, with the first Polish telecast following the war.
Featured Installation >

Munich Olympic Hall, GermanyFor over three decades, the Olympic Hall in Munich has been used for a diverse range of events. With seating for almost 14,000, it is one of the largest event locations in southern Germany and offers a diversified program nearly 200 days of the year, going well beyond classic sporting events such as the 1972 Olympic Games to include rock and pop concerts, exhibitions and tradeshows, corporate events, and much more.
Featured Installation >

Media Center, Bern, SwitzerlandOn May 30th, 2006, the first TV broadcast from the new Media Center of the Federal Houses of Parliament in Bern, Switzerland, was transmitted. Accommodating the editorial offices of various radio and television stations, as well as production workspaces and radio studios, the Media Center is home to the 280m2 TV studio of the SRG SSR (Swiss Radio and Television Association). Much of the lighting equipment for the new studio was supplied and installed by ETC, from ETC’s center in Holzkirchen, Germany.
Featured Installation >