ARRI LEDs illuminate studios in Nairobi

Newly equipped with ARRI SkyPanels and L-Series LED light fixtures, Citizen TV and Inooro TV in Kenya can now boast of state-of-the-art, user-friendly, and energy-efficient studios.

Citizen TV in Nairobi is a national station in Kenya that broadcasts mostly in English and Swahili to various countries in Central Africa. Owned by Royal Media Services Ltd., the largest media house in Kenya, Citizen TV airs a wide range of programming from local to international and commands 70% of the viewership in Eastern and Central Africa. Inooro TV is a 24-hour Kikuyu vernacular station and is also under the brand umbrella of Royal Media Services Ltd. When the task of updating their two main studios became necessary, Citizen TV and Inooro TV chose to use ARRI LED lighting. In an interview, Newton Seth Andabwa, Lighting Director and gaffer at Citizen TV, provided insights into the background and development of this large-scale ARRI LED project.

Round table discussion airing on Inooro TV

Tell us about your project and its requirements.

Our new studios required lighting fixtures that are user-friendly and comfortable to use in whatever situation the studio needed. For example, we took regulating interior temperature into consideration. Over the years, we have received several complaints about the uncomfortably high temperatures in the studio from guests who have come in to be interviewed. In the end, I figured out which products provided several advantages including overall cost, system maintenance, energy efficiency, lifespan, and service operations. We soon realized that we needed to assemble a full-dimension LED television studio for this project.

Why did you choose ARRI lights?

In handling and working with different ARRI lights from 125 watts to 20,000 watts, I discovered how sophisticated and durable the lights were in addition to the easy assembling and operating on set and location. Another advantage of ARRI LED lights is their versatility; they can be used in events, filming, and TV productions. Because of their rich RGB white application, they can also be used as TV studio wall and floor LED illumination. They also don’t require dimmers since they are controlled by DMX data cables.

ARRI SkyPanels and L-Series LEDs at work on the set of Ballot 2017

What are the major technical advantages you have experienced with ARRI LEDs?

Consistent with ARRI’s commitment to top performance, all their lights and lighting accessories are made of high quality materials. Compared to other manufacture’s LED products, ARRI LED lights have a longer life span and we have experienced that they need less maintenance. ARRI LED light fixtures are easy to understand, install, and use. They are robust, assembly is fast, and with the applied technology, troubleshooting is easy. 

Indoor ARRI LED lights for studios are 100% user-friendly for our crews, our guests, and our anchors, who spend the most time under light. Their components are automatically sensitive to temperatures and can regulate themselves accordingly. These lights can reach every corner of the room with less energy than our previous fixtures. With the same amount of electricity, we can employ a greater number of lamps, and we only need to use very small, portable generators with the ARRI LEDs. ARRI LED lights are very sensitive in case of high excessive power flow—they will go off and to a secure mode.

ARRI SkyPanels and L-Series lights illuminate dark skin beautifully

Tell us about the challenge of illuminating dark skin.

ARRI SkyPanels and L-Series lights can imitate the look of daylight, tungsten lights, and white lights while offering a wide variety of color options. For example, by adding or taking away green tones with different mode nobs attached on the fixture, it is easier to get the skin tone right. To illuminate dark skin properly on film, one needs to have ample amount of light. Because the SkyPanel has tremendous output across the entire CCT range, brighter than a 2KW Tungsten soft light or a 6 KW tungsten space light, we could use less equipment and less crew for the same amount of light. 

What about your experience regarding the durability of ARRI LEDs

After more than a year of daily operation, I have not experienced any issues with the LED fixtures. It’s amazing that our ARRI LED fixtures are still at 100% output and that each and every external adjustment knob is still in operation. I would give ARRI a 100% rating for their LED lights never disappoint and never fail. 

Newton Seth Andabwa on set of Power Breakfast

Photos: © 2017 Newton Seth Andabwa