The Tonight Show Tapes in Texas with TurboRay
Date Posted: 2/5/2020
Photos: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is already enjoying TurboRay fixtures this season in its New York City studio, under Lighting Director Fred Bock. So when the show trekked to Texas for a taping in Austin, 24 of the special effect LED wash lights were designed into the rig at Bass Concert Hall.
Mick Smith of Eastern Lighting Design serves as lighting designer for the remote shows outside the NBC studios. His choice to continue using TurboRay was simple. “I was wanting a fixture with a larger aperture and more homogenized, attractive look to it. The diffusers on the TurboRay checked that box,” he explains.
“Secondly, I wanted a fixture with a decent zoom range that could especially give me great beams. A real bonus was having quad control of the LED engines - and the aerial effects we were able to quickly achieve - to give us unique looks for the different beats of the show.”
The TurboRays - which are manufactured in High End Systems’ Austin, TX headquarters - were interspersed between profile fixtures across four trusses over the stage. “The trusses were trimmed higher downstage just below the proscenium arch to lower upstage at the top of the LED screens, helping to fill some of the negative space above the set in the wide shots,” the LD notes.
The TurboRay washed light on actor and Austin resident Matthew McConaughey and TV’s “Fixer Upper” hosts and Waco residents Chip and Joanna Gaines.
But when it came time for the evening’s musical act, the TurboRay went into eye candy mode for rapper/songwriter Gucci Mane. “Even though they’re not featured in some of the music shots, the TurboRay were integral to the look of the act,” Smith says. “Our programmer, Kevin Lawson, was able to dive deep into the fixture’s capabilities and wrote some great effects for our musical act. The lights exceeded our expectations and looked great on camera.”
Smith is brought in as lighting designer for remote shows outside of the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center. “Staff lighting director, Fred Bock, brought me in for the first remotes in Orlando right after Jimmy Fallon took over the Tonight Show in 2014,” Smith explains. “It’s a massive team effort in a short amount of time. Fred is our conduit and translator in a sense to the staff production team, making sure we have all the details to deliver the level of production The Tonight Show demands.”
4Wall NY supplied the production package for the Nov. 7, 2019 all-student taping at the University of Texas in Austin.
The Team credits:
- Fred Bock: Tonight Show Staff lighting director
- Mick Smith: Remote broadcast lighting designer
- Kevin Lawson: Programmer
- Ronnie Skopac: Gaffer
- Stephanie Shechter: Best Boy
- Mike Mustica: Production Electrician
- Nkosi Mason:- Production Electrician
- Christian Reyes: Production Electrician
- Carl Anthony Beauregard: PixMob Operator
- Lighting equipment package: 4Wall NY, Account Rep Bob Looney