HSL Dancing On Ice

HSL supplied all production lighting and rigging for the phenomenally popular British Dancing On Ice show, which yielded record ratings. Lighting was designed by Tom Kinane and Svend Pedersen working closely with scenic designer Marcus Blee.

The series was recorded at Elstree Studios’ George Lucas Stage. It involved more than 80 moving lights, 700 LED fixtures–all fed from a PixelMAD server–and 120 30’ lengths of special festoon, plus 117 points of rigging and approximately 300m of trussing. HSL’s Rupert Reynolds coordinated rigging.

“It was great to be working alongside creative talent of the calibre of Tom and Svend, and on a show that was such a runaway success and where the visuals played such a vital role,” says HSL’s Sean McGlone, who coordinated the lighting.

The scenic design is based on a series of large 3D crystal set pieces (109 in total) overhanging the ice rink, made from Twin Wall plastic material. Kinane and Pedersen spent months researching how the crystal pieces would react in situ, refracting and reflecting different types of lighting. The result is a design that’s heavily based on the dynamics of LED elements.

Pedersen specified all the moving lights. These included 30 Robe ColorWash 1200 ATs, with special color mixing palettes for highlighting the audience seating banks and flooding the rink with colors; 28 Vari-Lite VL3000s used for gobo projection and beam effects onto the ice, and 20 Martin MAC 500s around the perimeter of the rink, used for low-level airborne effects and striping the ice with color.

The large LED fixture count began with a selection of Pulsar Chroma Strips–up to four 300/600mm lengths per each individual crystal–and designed to provide coloring inside the crystal block. These were controlled via 40 ChromaZones. An unbroken single or double line of ChromaStrips illuminated the entire edge of the rink.

There was a total of 80 JTE PixelLine 1044s–in a variety of locations– underneath the floor, lighting the mirrored surface of the judge’s area, and highlighting the outline of the overhead trusses and header pieces, front lighting the crystals. More than 60 PixelPARs lined the stairway to the rear of the judges’ area and uplit sections of the set.

Pedersen ran all the moving lights and LED sources–totalling 18 universes of DMX–via his Wholehog® 2 console–with three overdrive units. This also triggered the PixelMAD system and a Catalyst digital media server feeding six of the new Barco R12 Plus projectors, which were supplied by XL Video and are specially designed for vertical flying.

It was the first time that ice has been used as a major projection surface for a TV show. Visual artists Chris Plant produced custom content and graphics for the projection and the LED sources. Plant is renowned for his organic, analogue techniques in producing beautiful imagery, based on the original psychedelic methods of the 1960s.

HSL made a special festoon with clear 35W bubbles and also supplied 60 pieces of 30’ egg strobe festoon, attached to the far outer truss, and three Studio Due Space Flowers for accents and opening stings.

Generic and key lighting sources consisted of 40 ETC Source Four® Zooms and 20 fixed lanterns. Twenty-two 5K Fresnels hung on the outer truss effectively acted as house lights. There were also six truss-mounted followspots plus all dimming, power switching, distribution, and motor control. HSL bought seven new Outboard Electronics 12-way motor controllers for Dancing On Ice and now offer this as their standard device.

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