BCE chooses ARRI LEDs for RTL City studios

ARRI LED lights illuminate the 3 new studios at BCE headquarters, RTL City, in Luxemburg. 

Part of RTL Group, Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) is a European leader in media services, system integration, and software development for the media market. Based in Luxemburg, this leading technology company inaugurated their new company headquarters in April 2017, complete with 3 brand new, state-of-the-art studios. The lighting requirement for the modern RTL City studios was for them to be lit exclusively by LED. The experts at ARRI were involved in the project since inception in 2014 when the first thoughts and plans were discussed. After taking part in an EU tender and being awarded the project, ARRI, not only provided the equipment, but became responsible for the planning, consultation, construction supervision and management of the lighting for all 3 studios.

The new studios at BCE headquarters are fully equipped with LED lighting making them some of the first in Europe. Studio 1, with a grid construction, is a multifunctional production studio, mainly used for magazine programming with live audiences. In this studio, ARRI has employed the first real Cyclorama application of their SkyPanels with the SkyBender.

The second studio or “news studio,” also utilizes a grid construction and contains 3 sets for live shows. This studio has a much higher technical standard and multiple cable and other installations as a backup in case one setup breaks down.

The TV or virtual studio is the third studio at BCE headquarters and boasts of a “green screen.”

For all 3 studios, the LED lights are controlled via signal transmitted from a console through sACN-Ethernet (IP protocol). This allows for cable reduction on set compared to standard DMX cabling. The lighting control desks were supplied by EATON (Model: Zero FLX 88) due to their intuitive surface, overall quality, feature set, as well as the service the company provides. 

The modern News Studio at BCE headquarters in Luxemburg.

Andreas Fleuter, Manager Special Projects at BCE, discusses the lighting for RTL City studios and the group’s decision to entrust ARRI with this important project.

Can you describe the project’s goal and it’s given requirements?
The aim of this project was to build premium studios at our new headquarters in RTL City. This complex hosts a large technical infrastructure for the production of more than 30 TV channels and various radios.

How many studios needed to be outfitted? How big are they and what are they used for?
Three studios needed to be equipped: The news studio (around 180sqm), the production studio (250 sqm), and the virtual studio. The production studio is used for several changing shows with individual sets. The biggest one is the “Televie.” The news and virtual studios are used for the daily live production of RTL Letzebuerg, the national public program. These productions include news, magazines, talks, as well as sport. RTL Letzebuerg holds the rights for Champions League soccer.

Why did you want to go with LED fixtures?
In general, we have high energy standards for the entire building; we wanted to minimize our carbon footprint. We also wanted to reduce the cooling infrastructure in order to reduce background noise during the shows. With LED fixtures, heat dissipation is low but the light output is good enough to handle most situations in the studios, even at greater distances. Another big advantage with LEDs is the possibility to adjust color temperatures via remote.  With respect to these issues, LED lighting was mandatory and we wanted to use in all the studios.

How did you decide which supplier to choose?
We tested and compared several products, not only by measuring the illuminance levels but also the quality and functionality. We narrowed it down to two well-known manufacturers with a good line up. However, the technological skills and developmental power of ARRI made the difference in the end.

What kind of testing did you do?
Well, I would say that we employed the most standard forms of testing. But we also did tests in combination with a LED wall, which we wanted to install as well. 

RTL Letzebuerg colleague Guy Kirsch positioning ARRI lights in Studio 1.

Why did you end up choosing ARRI lights? 
It was a given that the products from ARRI were of high quality, but it was really the expertise of the company that convinced BCE. We also had to respect the budget limitations; ARRI was able to demonstrate competitiveness here as well.

How useful is color controllability?  
The ARRI lights give us a large color spectrum palette which covers all our needs for various types of productions. Standard production nowadays prefers daylight color temperature. However, the flexible color control we have for atmospheric lights as well as show lights is impressive. With ARRI lights it is even possible to use a green key on a white curtain background.

What other features of the ARRI LED lights are important to you?
We were very pleasantly surprised to learn that we can evenly light a 6 meter high curtain with the S60-C soft lights using the SkyBender.

How would you rate the complete service from the ARRI Group? 
Given the framework of their project management tasks, ARRI worked together with the construction companies intensively. Efficient logistics is also an essential component in the success of a project like this; ARRI was also able to demonstrate a very special commitment in this part of the process. The integration of their material was done in a very effective manner. ARRI, RTL Letzebuerg, and the BCE teams worked hand in hand. 

Another view of the News Studio at RTL City.

Photos: RTL Eric Steichen