Thomas Gerdon's TV Debut For X4 Atom On Mein Bestes Jahr

GLP’s mighty X4 atom, the latest addition to its hugely popular X4 range, enjoyed its German television premier in the best possible way — when Thomas Gerdon selected 116 of the compact fixtures, containing the same high output quad color LED source common to the entire X4 range, for a new prime time series.

They were used to light up the Capitol Theatre in Offenbach in front of an audience of 400 for a Saturday night series on the RTL network called Mein Bestes Jahr — a retrospective in which Germany’s top comedians showcase the best and weirdest moments of their own favorite year.

The versatile Gerdon has worked extensively with RTL, and with some of the country’s favorite comedians such as Mario Barth, regularly sourcing GLP LED solutions from Felix Sandmann at PRG.

It was Sandmann who accompanied Gerdon on the first site meeting to this old theatre with its circular ceiling when they undertook a survey of the venue which is increasingly being chosen for television productions.

But as the lighting designer noted, “Whereas in a dedicated studio you have lighting bars, tracks and rigging points, and you can rig endless lights, you couldn't hang 100 moving lights or 1K fresnels from the bars at the Capitol — it would have been too heavy.” It was at this point he had his ‘lightbulb moment’. “I just stood in the middle of the venue and said ‘We need these atoms’.”

Having frequently used the original impression X4 and X4 Bars — which he now describes as “a standard in TV studios”, he knew he could depend on the same engine, output and color mix.

“I wanted to produce a lot of little stars, ‘blinking’ lights, without having to run an enormous amount of cable. Since there was also a limitation on available power, I thought that if atom was as good as I had been told, then I definitely needed this fixture. In such a small venue it was important to have the right fixture in the right place.”

The lights would feature from the stage to the back of the audience. “I used them inside the LED walls as a (*) Cam-Flare (Lens-Flare) effect with a further 12 on the front truss and at ground level for audience backlight.” Another 30 were used on top of the circular balcony rail, shooting into the audience for Cam-Flare and audience backlight.

The effect not only impressed Thomas Gerdon but also Felix Sandmann, whose PRG inventory is rich with GLP’s extensive X4 family.

And Thomas Gerdon says he sees it very much as a ‘family’. “There are two reasons for me using the X4 atom,” he states. “The color mixing quality of the impression family is reliable and this fixture fits well into that. For example, if you do color presets it will work well for the entire X4 range. You need the [7:1] zoom and color mixing, while the pan and tilt is a nice add on. In this instance I didn't need the larger X4 but I knew I could have all these features within the atom — at the right size and right price.”

Another advantage, he said, was that the X4 atom didn't require any camera tests. “Because it’s an X4 you know the pulse width and so on because it’s the same LED engine — you just need to install them and patch them. In a small theatre noise might have been a problem but these use such a small fan that they are noiseless.”

Atom may be the smallest particle of a chemical element but it is starting to make a giant impression on lighting designers.

(*) Cam-Flare (Lens-Flare) is the name for the bright image of the light source in the form of the iris, which is caused by reflections from one or more lenses … hence ‘flares’

Photo Credit: Ralph Larmann

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