HSL pulled out all the stops to deliver in excess of 700 Pulsar Chroma  Heart LED fixtures to illuminate the set of the new ITV games show ‘’Golden Balls’’ for LD Tom Kinane.


Golden Balls is an Initial produced 40-part series being recorded in TV6 at the BBC’s Wood Lane Studios. It’s directed by Simon Stafford and Julian Smith and aired daily during the 5 – 6 p.m. prime time slot on ITV1. Presented by veteran comedian Jasper Carrot, it’s a game of luck, intuition and barefaced bluff as four contestants battle it out to win – or loose – thousands of pounds. .


HSL’s project managerSean McGlonecomments, “We already had 150 Chroma Hearts in stock and allocated for this project, and then at the last minute, it was decided to increase the level to over 700 units. Rising to the challenge, Sean decided to purchase the additional 600 units and Pulsar decided they were going to build them. “Team work,” laughs McGlone.   


Even after making this decisive move, it was still touch and go as to whether they would get the extras delivered and installed in time for the first show …… but everyone at Pulsar and HSL worked hard to ensure it all happened.


“HSL were absolutely brilliant” says Tom Kinane, “There were no ifs, buts or maybe’s …. Everything was just sorted and happened. That’s one of the many reasons I like working with them – great positive energy”.


The show is shot in the round. The stunning set designed by Chris Webster is semi-circular and features the Chroma Hearts ensconced into the myriad of holes all across its surface. “You are somewhat limited for choice in terms of lighting instruments when offered upwards of 700 holes, but we found the perfect solution” says Kinane.


The Chroma Heart is absolutely ideal for this type of bespoke application, needing only a +24Volt power supply and three 0 to +10V control signals. The sources in the holed wall were then covered with a series of half domes made from clear plastic prosthetic polystyrene type material, with a matt finish that acts as a diffuser.


This covering also allows the LEDs to be run up to full intensity and therefore produce a fuller range of colours.


The Chroma Hearts are being driven by video content stored on a PixelMAD computer supplied to the show by Sven Pedersen and Ross Williams. Richard Bleasdale created a custom template for them to use with the PixelMAD, allowing them to treat each panel of the set as a whole group of pixels, which really speeded up the mapping process, and Pedersen created special custom content for the lightwall.


Adding massive dynamics and looking great on camera, the lightwall can produce all types of patterns and effects. One of the generic looks Webster and Kinane wanted to achieve was to have a variety of glowing golden orange tints – emulating the ‘golden balls’ – which sometimes undulates gently, ‘breathing’ in the background. There are other static looks for certain sections of the show and then the wall will explode into movement and other colours for stings, play-ins and breaks.  


HSL has additionally supplied Robe’s new ColorWash 700 fixtures and JTE PixelPARs for the show and a WholeHog 3 console for control. Pedersen, also programmed these fixtures into the Hog which is being operated for the series by Louise Lesley. He comments, “Working with HSL is always a pleasure – the service is fantastic and they have the right attitude”.


The lights were rigged by Richard Jarvis. Generic lighting is being operated by Simon Braddock, and while Kinane is busy with other commitments, including the Dame Edna Everage Show, Golden Balls’ lighting is being looked after by Mike “Sooty” Sutcliffe.




Date of issue : 18th April 2007.


Related Posts