Blackburn, UK based lighting rental company HSL has supplied equipment to the first BBC TV show to be produced at the new Media City complex & studios in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.


“Don’t Scare The Hare” is a new games show produced by Endemol which will be aired in April on BBC1’s 5.30 p.m. Saturday slot. Lighting designer is Tom Kinane, with whom HSL has worked on numerous past projects.


The show sees 2 teams of contestants pit their wits and their physical agility in a series of games which involves not scaring a large animatronic hare!


Lighting and colour psychology plays a key role in the production – if the hare takes fright during any of the games, the whole environment turns red for danger!


HSL’s Sean McGlone project managed the supply of the equipment which includes Vari*Lite moving lights, white lights, LED sources, cyc lighting and follow spots. He says, “It’s always good to do ‘firsts’ and we are proud to have had the opportunity to supply the BBC’s first show produced at  Media City .. and of course, it’s always great to be working again with Tom and his team”.


Kinane’s starting point was the trippy, highly individual ‘enchanted forest’ set design for the series, created by Patrick Watson, which included 14 mushroom-esque trees constructed from wire frames stretched over with white lycra fabric, which took the lighting, colouration and gobos beautifully.


Along the back and wrapping around two sides of the studio was a massive white cyc, which combined with the set, also demanded a real theatrical ‘back to basics’ style of lighting.


For moving lights, HSL supplied 16 Vari*lite 3500s and 42 x V*L 3000s which were positioned on an extensive overhead trussing grid and on the floor where they were concealed behind some of the set pieces.


Each of the trees was up-lit by 5 x PixelPARs ensconced in the bases, and the trees themselves were also edge-lit with ribbon LED strips supplied by Manchester based set builders EC Creative, and stood out like psychedelic beacons!


The cyc was illuminated with a combination of 60 x Iris 4s for the top half and 120 ground rows for the lower half, with another 40 ground rows utilized to illuminate individual set pieces. “Having a white cyc has given me enormous scope,” comments Kinane, “I have really enjoyed having to approach lighting in a more traditional way, and it’s a good contrast and completely different to working with an LED based set which is currently so often the norm!”



The Vari*lites were also used for some stunning gobo projections including clouds, a spectacular moon and a sun. Daylight and night time looks featured in some of the games like the Alarm Clock game set, which saw a 90 second cross-fade transform the studio from night to day.


Some of the games props – like the clocks – also had internal LED lighting (in this case Pulsar ChromaStrip) which was integral to the game playing process.


All the white light sources in the studio also came from HSL – in the form of 48 x 5K and 30 x 2K fresnel, and the 6 Robert Juliat Ivanhoe follow spots were set up around the gallery above the studio floor. Kinane says, “As always, the service from HSL was exemplary, Sean is a pleasure to deal with and the kit is in tip-top condition”.


The boldness and vivacity of the lighting brought a real funky comic book style to the visual equation, also giving the whole environment depth and 3D definition. One of Kinane’s creative challenges was that it was recorded in HD which is a lot more sensitive to light tolerances on faces, so he had to be really meticulous with his lumen coverage of the presenters and contestants.


The moving lights were operated by Max Conwell using a Chamsys MagicQ console, and the generics by James Ashdown using the studio’s ETC Congo.


Many of the lighting cues, specially those involving the props were MIDI triggered via the Cat & Mouse game playing software so they synched with the game action.


Tom Kinane’s team also included gaffer Richard Jarvis and lighting techs Dan Kinane and Chris Hyde. They all worked closely with BBC HQ1 studio manager Jim Ewart, scenic turnaround manager Rob Lawson and studio resources manager, Jonathan Harley. Don’t Scare The Hare’s series managers are Tom Blakeson and Neil Gallery, and the unit manager is Louise Bengor.




Date of issue : 28th February 2011.

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