An artist toasting 3000 lux plus, and the tube

cameras were operating at F6.7.
Dimmers were being run at 100%. I have
explained in seminars time and time again why
this is a bad and wasteful practice. No change
here, then.

The ‘pistons’ were unmanned. Production
talkback was turned down. There were no
lighting changes or adjustments between or
during items. There were multiple shadows on
every area of the set. There were many
distracting reflections on the top of the set. The
designer had incorporated a large pink backlit
panel behind the presenter. Yes, pink. I had had a
diplomatic chat with the designer about this pink
panel on a previous occasion, giving my reasons as
to why pink was not the best colour to put behind
an interview area. The answer came back: “But I
like pink, Mike!” I then suggested that maybe the
pracs could be dimmed somewhat. She said they
would try that on a future programme. I
subsequently found out that carrying my request
had caused deep consternation. The pink panel
pracs were in the same circuit as the cooker hob
used for cookery items. You’ve guessed it; they
went on air with a ‘dimmed’ hob without realising
it until the presenters tried cooking! I wished I had
been a fly on the studio wall on that day.

Tuesday February 20

Back to Irkut’s ex cinema studio to see what was
happening with the Song Contest set. Sami, one of the best potential LD’s that TRT has, had some
strong ideas on lighting the set, and as they agreed with the directors wishes, I was happy to let him and
his colleagues do it their way. The set at least was built out of neutral toned surfaces, which at least
gave lighting a fighting chance to ‘ring the changes’. A lot of hanging lanterns had appeared that were
All lamps at full (FL) tells me nothing has
changed in this studio since my first visit.
The pink blob and the dimmed hob
Dry run of the Eurovision Song contest (Turkish entry selection)
A floor lamp that I hadn’t catered
for! A 5K tungsten Pani projector.
new to me, but I decided that the best thing that I could do was to watch the sound check rehearsals for
each band and make notes of potential lighting
problems and solutions as they went along. This I
did for all ten songs liasing with the director
where appropriate.

Afterwards, I had a short meeting with the
lighting men to discuss all that I had seen during
the day and proposing the various thoughts that I
had. In particular, I was very unhappy with the
position of one of the old Strand CSI follow
spots, as it’s present position always caused huge
Jimmy Jib shadows on all and sundry.

Thursday February 22

Irkut studio for ten a.m. Most of the crew were there, but only one lighting man, at first. They had all
been working late again the previous evening and were, understandably, tired. I noticed that they had
adopted my idea of the two side lamps for the dance area; indeed, it gave a nice coloured edge to the
‘boomerangs’ as the side panels had become known. The follow spots had not been moved at this time.
It was clear to me that they had worked hard at lighting the sets without spillage of light, one lamp, one
function as I had kept stressing.

Problems came when I asked for more floor lamps to be
rigged to back light the musicians and set. The rift
between lighting and lighting special effects came to a
head and there were heated arguments. Eventually, the
lamps were rigged by the effects people but control would
not be extended to the lighting control position. Even the
coloured filters were provided from a separate source!
They rigged a totally separate dimmer system so that any
co-ordinated control during the show was virtually

The talkback burst into life. An aggrieved voice from
Vision control (100 metres away!) complained that the
lighting level was too low. Pictures were fine, but I
quickly descended from the circle to the stalls to check the
iris settings for myself. As I thought, F4ish on the brand
new Phillips digital cameras even when shooting an area
at the area at the back of the stage where the follow spot
was struggling to produce 300 lux. Once again I
defended the ability to produce excellent pictures with
light levels down to
200 lux as their
colleagues in
Istanbul were already

One of the problems
that the lighting men
are up against is that
the Martin Case
lighting board is
really designed as a
moving head
Gelling up
Irkut’s large studio Lighting Gallery with its Martin Case Controller