LAS VEGAS – Full Tilt Poker's new NBC reality show Face The Ace gives the average Joe a chance to beat the world's toughest poker pros for $1,000,000. Recently filmed in Las Vegas and hosted by The Sopranos star Steve Shirripa, the show debuts August 1, 2009. Everything about it is stylish, including its set design, which is inspired from a modern hotel suite, featuring a heads-up poker table in front of a large window that looks out to a view of the Strip.
Creating scenic and lighting that atmospherically paralleled this Vegas suite-theme proved almost as challenging as playing a Texas hold'em match against one of the show's aces. According to Lighting Designer Justin Garrone of Innovative Show Design (Lake Mary, FL), which provided the scenic and lighting design for Face The Ace, the show's Set Designer Chris Runnells wanted to “give the feel of being inside a high-class hotel kind of like the Fantasy Suites at the Palms Resort and Casino.” “The director and producer wanted the lighting to be subtle and as realistic as possible, with no trussing visible,” said Garrone. “But at the same time, they wanted to have movement of light and changing colors. So in order to get lighting that performed to their specifications, yet looked like it would naturally be in this hotel suite, I needed to use architectural fixtures.”
The architectural fixtures chosen by ISD were LEDs from Acclaim Lighting, supplied by CYM Lighting Services (Rancho Mirage, CA). They included: 11 X-Eye-HP RGB, 8 X-EYE-HP WW; 20 X-Dot-4 RGB; and 8 X-Stick-12.
The Acclaim X-Eye-HP RGB is a high-power focusable color-changing downlight powered by 15 1-watt RGB LEDs. Eleven X-Eye-HP RGBs were installed as recessed lights in a scenic header that goes all the way around the entire set to act as “beauty lights” for the camera. “The director (Jason Wald) wanted to get a star effect off the lights, so they put a star filter in the jib cameras,” explained Garrone. “However if we had used more conventional lights with trussing, they wouldn't have been able to get this star effect, because they wouldn't be able to show the lights on camera, since the lighting grid would be visible and this was supposed to look like a real hotel suite. So I decided to add the X-Eye to act as a permanently installed recessed architectural lighting fixture, which would typically be found in a â€˜suite' like this. That way, they could show the lights on camera and get the star effect, while still keeping everything very realistic looking.”
Garrone turned to Acclaim for a realistic-looking white light, too. He used a warm white 3200k version of the X-Eye (X-Eye-HP WW) to act as natural architectural lighting on the columns inside the set.
Another of the set's main scenic features is a bar, backed by rows of shelves containing liquor bottles and assorted decorations as accents. These items were downlit with Acclaim's X-Dot-4 RGB, a lightweight 1.5”x1.5” square fixture with four SMD RGB LEDs. Twenty of the compact X-Dots were used – one to spotlight each individual piece on the shelves.
The focal point of the set is, of course, the large circular heads-up poker table, which sits center stage. To accentuate the gaming table, Garrone added color below its top, using Acclaim's X-Stick-12 RGB, a high-output slim-profile linear tube containing 12 SMD RGB LEDs. “The table has a stainless steel base, so we scraped some color down there, using the X-Sticks where needed to get the light. The fixture has such a super low profile that we could tuck it up wherever we needed it to go,” said Garrone. “We also put some X-Sticks on the safe where the $1 million prize is kept.”
Besides fitting into the set's appearance and spatial requirements, the Acclaim LEDs handled and performed like an ace, added Garrone. “They were very bright with a quick response time, and they were very easy to install. That was one of our big concerns, because we were on a very tight deadline and we were installing all these architectural fixtures with custom wiring. But the wiring wasn't too complicated, so we were able to get it done very quickly.”
What's more, said Garrone, he was “blown away” by the price of the Acclaim LEDs. “I was amazed by how inexpensive these fixtures were for all that you get out of them.”
Following is a list of companies and individuals involved in the design, engineering and lighting of Face The Ace:
Innovative Show Design – Scenic and Lighting Design Firm – www.iShowDesign.com
Chris Runnells – Scenic Designer
Justin Garrone – Lighting Designer
Mark Dowling – Project Manager
Nate Mitchell – Graphic Supervisor
Show Partners – www.ShowPartners.com
Show Partners was responsible for all engineering and operations for this show.
CYM Lighting Services – Lighting Vendor – www.CYMLighting.com
Kevin Swank – Lighting Supervisor
John Lotz – Lighting Programmer
Sandy Kittisit – Master Electrician
Chris Good – Master Electrician
For more information, contact Acclaim Lighting at 323-317-9800 or visit www.acclaimlighting.com