ROCHESTER, NY – New technologies that excel under controlled test conditions in a laboratory don’t always meet expectations in real life. Every engineer knows that; so too do lighting designers. This thought passed briefly through the mind of Jonathan Lipsy recently when he completed a video production studio project at New York’s D&C Digital, formerly the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Lipsy, the Manager of Broadcast & Lighting at Integrated Solutions Group, had specified the new Ovation E-910FC RGBA-Lime color-mixing fixture from CHAUVET Professional for the studio’s lighting system. Having tested the fixture extensively, he was impressed with how its lime LEDs enhanced its color-rendering capabilities. Still, since the technology was new, he had no experience using it in the field.
“All the pre-testing I did with the Ovation E-910FC showed me that it was going to work on this project, but pre-tests and reality are sometimes different,” he said. “This is my first design using these fixtures, so it remained to be seen how the output and color saturation would be in a real life setting. The answer, as all of us involved in this project quickly discovered, was that the E-910FC performed beautifully. The fixture had enough power to give me full-saturated colors on the set, while the addition of the lime color gave me a completely new color palette that I was not offered before. I would not hesitate to use these again on future designs.”
It was fitting that Lipsy specified a breakthrough fixture like the Ovation E-910FC for a project at the former Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The new studio represents the latest in a series of bold steps forward for the venerable 183-year-old newspaper. Like many US dailies, the paper suffered through years of steep circulation declines in the later decades of the 20th century. However, unlike many of its competitors (who have since departed!), the Democrat & Chronicle bucked the trend by focusing on delivering news digitally as well as in print. It was no accident that by 2010, the paper ranked number one in the US in terms of market penetration.
This May, the newspaper/digital media company, which is part of the Gannett chain, moved into a new 42,000-square-foot downtown Rochester facility that was designed to facilitate the delivery of digital news content. A key part of the new home office is the ground floor studio that is used to produce video news and other content for distribution online and at venues, such as waiting rooms and building lobbies. Lipsy and the Integrated Solutions Group team were called in to light the studio, which was custom-designed by UniSet.
“Sean Martin of UniSet brought me into this project,” said Lipsy. “He and his team are a pleasure to work with. I really love the set they created; it is very clean, sleek, professional and attractive. My goal was to accent the set so that it presented beautifully, but without overpowering the talent. The rich colors and tight focus of the Chauvet fixtures helped me accomplish this goal.”
The three Ovation E-910FC fixtures in Lipsy’s rig have excelled at delivering a rich array of colors. “We’re able to create some very subtle but powerful color changes with the E-910FC,” he said. “We also use our E-910FC fixtures to highlight the company’s main logo mounted on the back of the set.”
Crucial to the success of Lipsy’s design is the tight focus of the 11 COLORdash Accent Quads in his rig. Flown on the overhead grid throughout the studio, these compact fixtures are used to direct colored and white light at key design elements in the studio.
“The Accent Quad is a powerful, smaller-sized RGBA LED fixture, offering a tighter beam that allowed me to position the light exactly where I needed it,” said Lipsy. “My plan was to accent only those specific sections of the set that I wanted to present more prominently. The Accent Quad worked perfectly, because it focuses light so tightly without spillage.”
For key lighting, Lipsy relied on 16 Ovation F-95WW LED Fresnel fixtures. The wide zoom range (21° -83°) of these fixtures also allows him to achieve tight coverage. All the lights in Lipsy’s rig are controlled via a DMX signal. The fixtures are plugged into Edison quad boxes mounted in the ceiling tiles above the grid and controlled by a 100A breaker panel located just outside the studio doors.
Beyond those studio doors is a new facility brimming with cutting-edge tools for gathering and sharing news. In the words of D&C Digital president Michael G. Kane, “This is a building built for tomorrow.” Indeed it is, and its production studio’s lighting system is ready for the journey.