controller, with its roller ball rather than faders.

The dimmers (manufactured by LEE) need software to
give them a square law response that most of us are familiar with. A call to Martin Professional
Lighting revealed that they have developed software to give variable fader law on demand, but there
was not at that time, completed documentation to go with it.

The follow spots in the large studio were not equal in intensity (or
colour) at any given distance. I was told that the bubbles had been
changed and that this had not improved matters. It appears that TRT is
investing large sums of money in new technology, but the lamps,
which are many years old, are not having the benefit of proper
maintenance or a planned system of replacement.

To be fair to the lighting men, historically, they are basically
technicians who have learnt ‘on the job’. They are constantly up
against a whole layer of officialdom who do not appear to understand
or respect their viewpoint.

As if that wasn’t enough, whilst I was there, modifications were being
made to the metal framed set using angle grinders, just a few metres
from the brand new digital cameras. The atmosphere was more that of
a factory than a TV studio. A blue haze of the most user unfriendly
nature hung in the air.



Friday February 23
rd


Cold but bright, a light covering of the
white stuff. Ebru and I went to the studios
in the old Radio building. I took
measurements of the light intensity in both
studios and was shocked (but not entirely
surprised) to find that they were as high as
3200lux! Readers will be aware that this is
more than twice as much as tube cameras
require and ten times as much as CCD
cameras need. One studio in the building
was still using tube cameras (but not for
long) and that is where I chose to give our
lighting workshop.

First, I gave my comments
(diplomatically) on the existing lighting
and why lower light levels would be
beneficial. Next I devised a lighting plan for the show that was due to take place the following
morning. I explained the function of each lamp and then we proceeded to rig the lamps accordingly.
Each key light was set to about 1200 lux with the faders set at 70% rather than the 100% previously.

All very well, but there were a few problems to make life more difficult:

1) The lamps were mostly non pole operated theatre type.
2) There were no stepladders available.
3) There was no system of intercom between studio floor and lighting gallery.
4) There was no way of switching lamps on from the studio floor.
5) There was no light meter available to the studio.
6) Picture monitors were of very poor quality

As if this weren’t enough, I was told that Directors regularly overrule lighting men and insist on
changes to lighting. “Make it brighter”, would be the plea.

A touch of the white stuff
A touch of the angle
grinders…..
Trying not to be too dispirited, after that session we moved across the
corridor into the other studio, recently equipped with new digital
Phillips cameras:

Surprise, surprise, light levels were still around 3200 lux. One lamp was
being operated without its fresnel lens. Neon displays were being used
in many parts of the set whose terminals could easily touched by hand.
Worryingly, each time I pointed out what I perceived as a major safety
issue, the reaction tended to be one of shoulder shrugging.

My dilemma, as always, was how much change could I introduce
without alienating the guys or destroying what was already acceptable.
Too many changes at once would confuse and maybe even make things
worse.

I was feeling a tad
depressed as I typed
up the day’s
observations. The enormity of what I had taken on
and the inadequate time scale of my training
programme in Turkey was coming home to me. This
was almost the end of phase two and there seemed so
much yet to do. I really needed two of me.

A splendid meal and some kirmizi sarap (red wine)
cheered me up and mentally prepared me for the
main event of the evening: watching (with a
professional eye, you understand) the Eurovision
Song Contest Turkish Entry selection Programme.
Yes, quite.

Saturday February 24
th


We arrived at one of TRT’s oldest studios, somewhere deep below ground level in the old headquarters
in ‘Embassy Land’. This is just about half way up the giant hill connecting TRT’s main broadcasting
centre with the city centre.

The previous afternoon I had run a lighting workshop to light a small chat area ready for today’s live
transmission. I wasn’t best pleased when the Camera Control operator complained about the ‘shadows’
in the picture. The ‘shadows’ were those of normal portrait lighting with normal, as opposed to
cellulose baking levels of fill light.

The lighting man was absent. He arrived some 15 minutes after transmission started! That was OK
because the shadow hating CCU operator had put all the lights on at full (except one of the backlights
which wasn’t on at all) instead of the 70% that I had painstakingly done with explanation to the guys
involved. If that wasn’t bad enough I noticed that there was absolutely no continuity in lighting staff
from the previous day.

The quality of most of the colour monitors in the gallery was appalling, and once again, the production
talkback was turned off. Not a good start to the day.

Monday February 26
th


Ebru has arranged a series of workshops and seminars for the few remaining days of phase 2. I created
a number of handouts using examples of TRT’s lighting to make various lighting points. My technique
was to incorporate pictures of lighting in areas where I had already given comprehensive training taken
off screen during transmissions. Why was the key light at the wrong angle, blue light hitting a face,
insufficient backlight, etc., etc.

Yep, the big hands on
3 and the little hands
on 200.
The Director watching a ‘sing through’
The last workshop of this trip was with a completely different set of guys who were from what was
once clearly a film unit. It was like a breath of fresh air, they were really quite clued up in many aspects
of location lighting and we had a really enjoyable, light-hearted interactive session covering everything
from shooting day for night to the best places to eat in Turkey.

And so it was that Phase two faded to
black. The view out of the flight linking
me with Istanbul and home served to
remind me that the horizon of my Turkish
experience was not yet calm and
untroubled.

Izmir and Istanbul as well as Ankara were
to feature in Phase Three. I was looking
forward to that, Izmir is on the southern
coast of Turkey. That at least promised
warmth!