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Robe iSpiiders maximise drama and space for Big Brother Mzansi

Robe iSpiiders  maximise drama and space for Big Brother Mzansi

Robe iSpiiders maximise drama and space for Big Brother Mzansi

South Africa:

South Africa-based television lighting specialist, Blond Productions, has supplied technical production for a range of reality TV shows, including several iterations of Big Brother over the years. The company was called on to help with the long-awaited return of Big Brother Mzansi, produced by Red Pepper and broadcast on Mzansi Magic, with it having not been on screens since 2016.

Blond’s head of the show lighting department, Ryan Lombard, designed and operated the lighting, working closely with a new set design created by Michael Gill, and several of his Robe moving lights including ESPRITES, LEDWash 300s and six of Blond Productions’ new iSpiiders. Blond made this initial purchase of 12 iSpiiders for the German version of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, which was shot in the South African bush, for which they needed some sturdy, weatherproof LED wash fixtures.

For Big Brother, Lombard needed to produce a nice general wash enveloping the studio floor that could also illuminate various set pieces around the walls and sides, complemented with key lighting.

The series was recorded at the Red Pepper Studios in Linden, Johannesburg, in a space that was formerly a parking garage, with the Big Brother house nearby. Due to the compact nature of this, all of the lights had to work in a truly multipurpose context to maximise the studio space.

Punchy back lights were required at the rear of the set, so the six IP65 rated iSpiiders were positioned upstage to provide these solid general back washes.

“I didn’t need to worry about dust or any other environmental elements,” stated Lombard, referring to the iSpiiders’ sealed optical chamber. Blond also purchased the wireless DMX modules with its iSpiiders, which have proved useful for daisy chaining fixtures together and saving on data cabling.

The Big Brother studio was a compact space, but the set design and lighting meant that it never appeared to be so on camera. Some of the 12 LEDWash 300s were positioned in the roof with the rest along the sides of the space at floor level for eye and camera candy.

Lombard has worked with Gill of Red Pepper Productions on several previous projects, including the last two seasons of Big Brother Nigeria, and his challenge on this one was to blend and match the lighting to the set. “It’s always a pleasure working with Michael,” he commented, “we engage in a lot of discussion beforehand, and his environments are designed with lighting in mind, which makes the end results fun to produce and more visually coherent.”

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