ARRI LED lights in Japan
Covering Tokyo and the Kanto region, and broadcasting nationally via Fuji network local stations, Fuji Television produces programs that encompass drama, variety, sports, news, music and more. This major Japanese broadcaster, also known as Fuji TV, recently upgraded one of its studios with S60-C and S30-C SkyPanels, as well as L10-C and L7-C L-Series fixtures. Chief Lighting Designer Koichi Uematsu and Junichi Sato, Head of Lighting Division Technical Production, here discuss why they chose ARRI LED lights.
What prompted your studio upgrade and what led you to LED?
Koichi Uematsu: After 20 years of use the facilities and equipment were due for renewal. In addition, life has changed since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake; as a TV station we are required to take effective measures for eco-friendly energy saving and also disaster management. LED lighting was a prime choice for this size and type of renovation due to its low power consumption, reduced daily costs and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), allowing us to operate for longer during emergency situations.
I have designed a few LED studios over recent years, but choices on the market were limited. Last year I attended ARRI's Lighting Symposium in Germany and was impressed by the SkyPanel -- it's really a great fixture. The combination of color tuneability and power in the SkyPanel and L-Series is unique. This studio is designed for sports news, music shows, variety shows, news broadcasts and many other types of program; it is a flexible space, so we needed a flexible lighting solution, which the ARRI LED lights provide.
Junichi Sato: My background is as a cameraman, so I know how important it is to match color temperatures when shooting. For some of our programs we have multiple lighting sources such as fluorescent, tungsten and LED, but it has always been difficult to match them and deliver even colors for a nice image. The tuneable function of the ARRI LED lights is therefore extremely helpful, as it lets us match these different light sources.
Did you go through an evaluation process before investing in the ARRI lights?
KU: Numerous brands were tested, from manufacturers all over the world. We compared the color performance of different LED brands against tungsten, and we also tested brightness and light balance, meaning the light field and edges on focus and flood. The ARRI lights had tuneable colors, which made them better for color reproduction, but brightness is important as well. After the evaluation I chose ARRI LED lights for the main studio lighting and some other brands to supplement them.
For the studio's key light I actually chose the SkyPanel S60-C rather than a Fresnel. With the intensifier and honeycomb accessories the beam angle can be made tighter, which is good for a key light. I think this is a totally new application for the SkyPanel -- using a soft light as a key. Then if I need a bit more punch or accent on the subject I use the L7-C, L10-C or S30-C, with the L10-C and L7-C also able to provide a strong edge light, if required.
What other features of the ARRI LED lights are important to you?
KU: For studio operation we have to assign a DMX address to every fixture. The RDM functionality of the SkyPanel and L-Series increases our operational efficiency because we don't lose time manually assigning a DMX address to each lamphead; we can do it from the console without any hassle.
JS: I think the SkyPanel Firmware 2.0 upgrade was a great enhancement and I really appreciated the addition of the Rosco and LEE gel libraries. ARRI's development approach reflects the fact that the company makes cameras as well as lights, so it addresses the needs of cameramen like me. It also considers not just how color and light are perceived by the human eye, but how they are captured and represented by cameras and monitors.