Photo: © & ® Studio 100

Prolific Belgian TV and stage entertainment producers Studio 100 asked Painting with Light to design lighting and video, including content creation, for their 2018 Ketnet (Children’s TV channel) musical Team UP which played to sold out crowds in four major cities around Belgium. Directed by Tijl Dauwe, the production starred musical actress Goele De Raedt and Ketnet-wrapper Sander Gillis in the lead roles, accompanied by a cast of 12 – 15 year old new actors and singers who auditioned via TV series „Ketnet Musical“, a reality style competition devised to source potential new singing, dancing and acting talent.

Lively, fast paced and foot-tappingly entertaining, the Team UP narrative had a sporting theme and highlighted the ups and downs of an intensely competitive and potentially rewarding world where the desire for perfection and achievement, jealousy, insecurities, bullying, stress and anxiety all interplay. The show followed the success of previous Ketnet musical productions Kadanza, Kadanza Together and Unidamu, in which Painting with Light was also a key creative partner. Painting with Light’s Paco Mispelters worked hard to deliver a tourable lighting design to meet everyone’s dramatic expectations and fit into an expedient budget. He took Studio 100’s impressive double-decker set design as a starting point.

Photo: © & ® Studio 100

This featured a complete first level balcony and a gymnasium style climbing frame structure upstage as well as a 10 metre diameter stage revolve further downstage, which was used to play out specific scenes and to move props and additional set assets on and off stage. Paco explained that the lighting challenges “included getting lumens into some difficult to access spaces and helping to create multiple locations”, including the school gym, the principal’s office, the technical closet, a train interior, etc. On top of that, he also needed to enhance the atmosphere and emotion of the piece as well as reinforce the lively musical numbers which permeated throughout.

A series of trusses were installed at each venue and used in conjunction with house fly bars. As the set was immediately beneath some of the fly bars, meaning that they could not come in low, ladder trusses were hung beneath selected bars allowing strategic positioning of fixtures that could light the side wings of the set. Paco chose 15 x Vari*Lite VL3500 Washes as his general back and stage washes, and they were picked for their fresnel lens which “produces a nice softness to the light, and is generally great for theatre shows,” stated Paco.

For hard edged sources, he used 24 x Claypaky Alpha Spot 1500 profiles. He needed a powerful fixture with shutters which were essential to creating some of the smaller and more intimate scenes that entailed closing down the space. Locations like the technical closet or the principal’s office needed this technique, which worked very effectively as the big set simply became absorbed by the darkness.

Photo: © & ® Studio 100

For physically lower level lighting, Paco used 32 x URC LED PAR zooms, a proprietary product from lighting supplier Phlippo Productions, and there were 12 x Robert Juliat 2K Profiles for main key lighting … so it was a small rig for a busy show, and Paco chose fixtures carefully for their great value and maximum effect. To light the set pillars, he searched for a small, compact fixture and found the Briteq BEAMSPOT1-DMX FC, a very narrow LED source with interchangeable frost filters that proved ideal for the task. Thirty-two of these were used to pick out the 16 pillars, one fixture positioned at the top and one halfway down the pillar, both down-lighting.

Precise lighting was also needed under the set balcony, using a source that would not produce lots of clashing shadows, so after a bit of research, Paco positioned 12 x Chauvet Épix Strip Tours –  a 1-metre LED batten with 50 x individually mappable LEDs in a row and a 125º viewing angle. He removed the standard frost filter on the front to attain more intensity. Lighting was operated on the road by Arjan Grootenhuis using a grandMA2 light console, complete with an NPU in the system to assist with the channel management. This was ramped up in particular by the ÉPIX Strips, adding 600 channels alone to the mix, but well worth it to achieve the look everyone wanted.

Painting with Light’s team also designed the show’s video, which featured a 3 metre x 2 metre high LED screen that flew in and out throughout the performance, helping to create scenes and locations like a digital scoreboard for the sports competitions, a television in the principal’s office and views out of the windows on the train. A Christie Pandora’s Box media server was supplied by Painting with Light for the playback video, with content produced by Arthur Claesen … and programmed onto the server by Pommeline Claesen.

Paco, who also lit last year’s touring production Unidamu, concluded, “It was fantastic working with the Studio 100 team again – we really enjoyed some great synergy and there was a lot of scope to be imaginative with the lighting. I think we are all proud of the end result”. Team UP production rehearsals at the Plopsaland Theatre in De Panne preceded the show’s premier, which was also shot for a DVD – putting additional pressure on the production team to get everything spot on – and then played multiple shows in Hasselt, Ostend, Ghent and Antwerp.

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