Over 400 Anolis LED fixtures have been installed into the new Supersport HD studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Project Details

They are integral to the stunning set design created by Michael Gill and part of the lighting design by Joshua Cutts of AV Unlimited, who also undertook the installation.
The Anolis fixtures were supplied by South African distributor, DWR. Located in M-NETs Studio 6, Randburg, Johannesburg, this is the first installation of its kind, featuring a large LED set which is setting new imaginative and technological standards.

With sustainability a key issue, this whole elegant, highly versatile lighting rig can be run off 2 x 15 amp plugs! An amazing achievement considering the size of the studio. Gill, who collaborated closely with Cutts to produce the original aesthetics, wanted "Something contemporary and totally different that utilised the best technology in the world".

The new studio was launched in time to broadcast comprehensive coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first World Cup to be held on the African continent. Lighting is an important aspect in all Gill's work. He likes to create 'live' environments where the dynamics can be switched quickly and dramatically with the application of light. In this case, the geometry and layout of the lighting installation also brings a distinctly different 'showbizz' feel to a sports channel, again breaking new ground.

The Anolis LEDs - the majority of the 400 pieces are ArcLink™ fixtures - are installed underneath selected floor panels and behind the back wall set pieces - which are finished with either glass or opal Perspex fronts. Together, these constitute 105 different sections or 'light boxes' all over the set ... and are all individually controllable.

The homogenised Anolis lightsources create a beautifully smooth wash when combined with the diffused panel fronts. The Anolis fixtures are all run from ArcPower™ transformers - 5x ArcPower™ 16x12, which is a custom driver developed specially for this project by Anolis in the Czech Republic, and 4x ArcPower™ 144s. Several Robe CitySkape 48™ LED wash fixtures are used for highlighting set pieces and toning the trusses and the slick - visible but understated - metalwork that also shapes the set structure.

In addition to being able to change the entire look and feel of the space instantly, the lighting gives the scope to create very special effects, e.g. the flag colours of the competing teams for the different World Cup matches. They have also built up various identities and unique looks representing the Supersport branding by illuminating different parts of the set, which can be matched to graphics appearing on plasma screens dotted around the studio. Slick colour wipes can be applied across the whole room to transition between the different looks.

Broadcasting 18 hours and 4 or 5 shows a day during the World Cup - with a variety of related magazine and youth programmes in addition to the pure sporting coverage - the installation allowed the creation of completely fresh and different looking environments for each show - and they still have plenty of headroom to constantly think of new looks. Lighting can be used either to make the space function as one huge area or it can be split up into 8 different segments.

Gill had used Anolis fixtures before on a Lotto show at the start of the year is very impressed with the fixtures brightness, which led to them being spec'd again. It was the first time that Cutts had used Anolis products, but he is pleased with the end result. It was a bold move to make by Supersports and a big investment, but with the lower running costs and the virtually maintenance free nature of the LEDs, the short term investment will most definitely pay off in the future. Other benefits of the installation include minimal heat output from a huge amount of lighting - so less air conditioning needs to be used to keep the studio at a comfortable temperature, thus further reducing the studios environmental impact and energy bills.

"The feedback has been phenomenal," confirm both Gill and Cutts. "I would put LED lighting and these products into any show we'll ever do from now on if the budget allows," enthuses Gill. DWR's Duncan Riley comments, "It's really great to see a cutting edge design crafted with this technology. Already it's the talk of the TV production community in the country, and I am sure will inspire others to look into the benefits of low power, high impact installations!"