Young Talent Time delves into Pandora’s Box

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2012


Channel Ten have reinvented Young Talent Time after a 24-year absence from our screens, and there’s no doubt it packs a visual punch. 

The lighting is designed by Francesco Calvi and supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems with Paul Collison producing and replaying the screen content for the show. Paul also acts as lighting director when Francesco is unavailable.

Integral to the look of the show is a large panorama of LED which allows the creative team to create the show’s environment on a 360 degree surface. Sometimes the LED surface is treated as one single surface but this is not always possible as the LED screens are used similar to legs in the theatre to mask entrances and this leads to overlaps with the images.

“This means that often the LED screens are treated as individual surfaces rather than part of the panorama,” said Paul. “It’s a fairly organic thing to be working with, evolving and changing according to the song.

“It’s a monstrous video project. Our LED map is 11,500 pixels from end to end and 800 pixels high. It’s a massive surface area to treat and although some songs only use maybe a third of that, you still have to build your content to fill that map as you never know when the camera will pan out. We’re building all of the content in Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, and then rendering all the different images to create the panorama made up of the four different LED screen types that have been supplied by TDC.”

Controlling all of the above mentioned media are thirteen coolux Pandora’s Box Media Player Pro’s all being run from a Pandora’s Box Media Manager Pro and a MA Lighting MA2 console.

Once the content has been created in the 11,500 pixel wide map it is broken up into different cells of information so each Pandora’s Box Media Player Pro only receives the images that it is required to display rather than each machine receiving the entire image and only outputting a little bit of it.

Paul favours Pandora’s Box for this type of production mainly because of the versatility of being able to run it from a lighting console when required and then being able to syncronise to timecode that he has made with particular detail to the interaction between the performers and their choreography and the video content.

“I bounce between triggering loops from the MA2 and treating them like lighting fixtures, to running clips from the timeline so that we can synchronise all of our videos with the soundtrack,” explained Paul. “That way we can get some of the interaction that we’ve been working with fairly closely between the content and the performers.”

Paul particularly likes the fact that Pandora’s Box is an entire system; it’s not thirteen stand-alone media players rather one system.

“So all I need to do is load the content into the Media Manager Pro and it automatically spreads the content to each machine across the network. The Media Manager Pro does all the communication to the individual media players and that allows me to easily to go between triggering loops from the lighting console or playing back from the timeline directly from the manager.”

The rig includes Martin MAC TW1 fixtures for key lighting and stage washes, Martin MAC2000 Profiles, Pro Shop Honeycombs, Unique Hazer, Studio Due NanoLEDs, Pro Shop truss warmers and heaps of Martin MAC101 LED fixtures.

“The MAC101’s have been fantastic,” added Paul. “They’re so punchy and they’re in every nook and cranny we can find to put them in! They really are awesome.”