Olympic and world-champion skaters might have been on "Thin Ice" in a two-part reality show produced by O'Neil Entertainment, but lighting designer Scott Wolfeil of LDG (Lighting Design Group) was on solid ground when he sourced the competition's lighting complement from Scharff Weisberg Inc.
"Thin Ice" aired live on March 19 and 21 on ABC from the Premier Ballroom of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Olympic gold medalists Dick Button, Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt served as judges for the anything-goes competition, which paired skaters in five teams.
LDG senior project manager David Marcucci teamed with Scharff Weisberg project manager Jeff Benish to assemble the lighting rig, which included fixtures from the house inventory of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. "Having a nationally-broadcast ice skating competition staged in a ballroom provided plenty of technical challenges, particularly the rigging and trim heights," says Marcucci. "The challenge was to get a quality lighting angle that would make the talent look great without being in the way of the audience or the cameras."
He points out that the lighting package comprised both low-tech and high-tech instruments from 90 Color Kinetics iColor Accent LED Tubes that lined the ice and two High End Showgun kits that marked the skaters' entrances to PAR Bars and a large array of Mole Fays for room and audience lighting.
Scharff Weisberg also supplied VARI*LITE 2500 wash and 2500 spots in the automated lighting package plus more than 60 Source Four ellipsoidal spots and numerous Kino Flo light banks and Diva lights. Showcasing the skaters' on the ice were three Robert Juliat Ivanhoe and three Aramis HMI long-throw followspots and additional medium/long-throw Ivanhoe and Cyrano followspots. Hazers and foggers were on hand for dramatic special effects.
A grandMA console and backup unit from Scharff Weisberg provided lighting control. The company also furnished full truss and rigging for the show as well as expendables. Laura Franks was the programmer on the job.
"Lighting designer Scott Wolfeil did a great job keeping the important design elements while allowing substitutions to be made that would help us maintain the budget," says Marcucci. "Our gaffer, Ronnie Skopac, made important contributions that enabled us to load in the show within the tight timeframe that was given to us."
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