Martin Stagebar 54’s go to the top of the class

Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

The classic game show It’s Academic has been a long-running success for Channel Seven. Hosted by Simon Reeve, it’s an educational and entertaining show that sees students from primary schools compete against other primary schools in an attempt to win cash and prizes.

Moving light operator Michael Burton has been with the show since the beginning and although the set hasn’t changed much, the lighting has kept up with the latest technology. Crucial to the set up of the show are the coloured screens behind each team of contestants which are lit in different hues. When a team member hits their buzzer the screen turns white to indicate which team has answered.

Before the latest round of filming It’s Academic a bunch of par cans achieved this effect but were not an ideal solution. Then lighting suppliers Lots of Watts came across the Martin Stagebar 54, a compact and powerful LED answer.

“The decision to switch to the Stagebars was made because the par cans draw a lot of power and take more set up time,” remarked Michael. “The Stagebars deliver a much more even spread of colour and they also allow me to run effects. The colour temperature is good too. Also the space they are in is pretty confined and the fact that the Stagebar produces no heat is a real bonus.

“I have only used the Stagebars on this show but I can see them used in many more capacities. In fact I’m quite impressed by them and they’ve worked really well.”

A total of nine Stagebars are used: three mounted on Martin MAC2000 road cases behind each screen. From there they can colour each school in green, red or purple. When a child presses the buzzer the MA Lighting grandMA console triggers a MIDI signal to change the StageBar colours.

Alongside the studio lighting there are eleven Martin MAC2000 fixtures: five in the air and six on the ground. One of the MAC2000’s in the air contains a glass gobo of the It’s Academic logo which it projects onto the floor of the studio.