ARRI LED lights re-equip RTS studio

Swiss public broadcaster RTS looks back on a successful year of using ARRI L-Series LED Fresnels in the world's first fully automated TV studio.

RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse), part of the SRG SSR Group, is responsible for the production and broadcasting of radio and television programming in French-speaking Switzerland. On June 30, 2015, RTS opened its groundbreaking, fully automated studio, equipped with state-of-the-art ARRI LED lighting fixtures.

Planning for the modernization of the 340 sqm RTS studio began approximately three years ago. The intention was to use the studio for magazine and entertainment productions in the future. A project team from Despar Systeme AG was given the brief to take advantage of the latest technologies in order to allow the space to be shared by several different productions, while minimizing setup times.

All 1,984 of the studio's 2K and 5K tungsten lampheads would be replaced -- ideally with LED fixtures, although the same light output had to be maintained. Products from several lighting manufacturers were tested, with the ARRI demo equipment supplied by Swiss dealer ECM.

Emmanuel Derval, Head of the Studios & OB Vans Production Unit at RTS, comments: "A lot of different fixtures were tested, but because of the very high color index and light output of ARRI LEDs, the decision to go with ARRI was made very quickly. All the colors of the skin tones, backgrounds and set decorations looked absolutely natural."

Because of the very high color index and light output of ARRI LEDs, the decision to go with ARRI was made very quickly.

Initially it appeared as though ARRI L7 LED Fresnels would have to be combined with tungsten ARRI 2Ks, because at that time the ARRI L10 was not yet ready for shipping. Eventually, however, ARRI was able to deliver L10 lampheads in time to meet the schedule, so the final order was for eight L10-Cs to replace the 5K tungstens and 62 L7-Cs to replace the 2K tungstens. 50 of the L7-Cs and all of the L10-Cs were delivered with motorized yokes and barndoors from Licht-Technik, and hanging on telescopes from MTS.

 

After a year of working in the re-equipped studio, Derval is full of praise for the efficiency of the ARRI LEDs: "This studio is used for several shows, so after one finishes, our crew has to set up the next one. In the past, with the old equipment, the staff needed four to six hours to set up a show. Now they need one hour at most to set up a new show or a magazine. It means that we are able to produce, in one day, up to three or four shows, instead of one show in two days."

Time and cost savings are at the heart of this success story: "Thanks to our control system, it is possible to store, recall or duplicate the lighting setups," says Derval. "There are no more gels to cut, no more adjustment of each and every lamphead, and no more ladders. The workflow is simpler, which allows more time for creativity. Additionally, the heat output has reduced dramatically with the LED lampheads, so our air-conditioning equipment is much smaller than it was before, leading to space and electricity cost savings."

In terms of the quality of the light and of the lampheads themselves, Derval has been pleasantly surprised. "The light output is extremely stable and the fixtures are very robust," he says. "At the beginning, as LED was a very new technology, we were supposing that the fixtures would not fully satisfy our requirements, but after using them for over a year we haven't had any problems at all."

Following this trend-setting installation, two other RTS studios have been refurbished with ARRI LED lampheads, and the sports studio is now also equipped with ARRI LEDs.