We are in Paris, it is January, and the Men´s World Championship in Handball 2017 is on!
Denmark is playing, and we´re hoping to end up in the finals - (sadly we got knocked out by Hungary in the eighth finals)!
Danish National Radio and Television (DR) has set up a studio in Paris, right next to the audience seats. From that spot they will keep all Danes updated on how the competition is coming along.
The DR Television studio at the Handball World Championship in Paris 2017
When building a studio in a place like this, it is important to use lighting fixtures that are easy to set up and take down. Because every time a new game is on, the crew has to pull down all lights, so they are not interfering with the broadcasting of the game.
When making the annual Danish Christmas Show which was broadcast on DR Television, these balloon lighting fixtures had been used:
"Our in house lighting expert Henrik Christensen originally came up with the idea, and then they were custom-made by us for that show"
Peter Plesner, founder of BB&S Lighting, explains.
Balloons and Stars custom-made by BB&S Lighting to the annual DR Television Christmas Show
"They loved the look of them and their soft light and felt inspired to use them again in the Handball World Championship studio in Paris. The balloons look like giant handballs, so they would fit perfectly as part of the set design"
Henrik Christensen says.
So they ordered 3 and just 1 week after they were set up in Paris.
"We made the lights on a very short notice"
"We got the cool balloon shaped covers from David Mohen, the Europe Director of Airstar in Paris. Then we put 18 Pipeline Raw 2 foot inside each balloon, which makes the output 36.000 lumens a lamp"
The LED balloons are mounted on lighting stands. After a little hazzle with the many cords, the first two balloons are easy to handle and quick to set up.
"Because the light is still a prototype, we didn´t have time to make it wireless. It is also a little bit heavy, almost 10 K. However next time we make them, they will most likely be a lot lighter and with multi cords"
Connecting the 3 BB&S Balloons will be quicker next time when the lights have a multi connector.
The weight made it a little bit challenging to hang the third light in the right position as it has to be positioned above the camera without the entire stand tilting, and without getting in frame.
"But they managed to get it fixed properly. They look like 3 big moons, don´t you think?"
The balloons finally in place for the World Championship
But not everybody is equally exited with the big beautifully shining balloons.
The woman in charge of the World Championship Broadcasting is yelling:
"Turn those lamps off. They take away attention from the event"!
The vision of using the LED lights as set design goes down as a lead balloon. But unfortunately it is true, the conditions of the sport´s hall doesn´t allow for the shiny handballs to be part of the set this time. But maybe they can stay in the picture as studio lights without getting in frame? As Henrik puts it:
"The LED handballs emit this really nice soft light which is actually a lot less disturbing for the players than using a spot would have been...
...By using the balloons this homy feeling is created in the studio. When the viewers turn on their TV at home, this soft, warm, round and delicious light enters their living room and makes the handball experience feel a lot more comfortable, like this event is going on in the viewers own living room".
After explaining the people in charge the importance of having nice soft light in the studio, and then showing them how quickly it is to take down the balloon LED lights from their stands, they agree to keep them as studio lights. Henrik is exited:
"It literally takes less than 1 minute to pull all three lights down or put them up again...
...If they had to set up a rig instead and attach lighting fixtures to that, it would take a lot longer to pull it all down or up between games"
Two lighting technicians pulling down a BB&S Balloon in few seconds
Henrik is happy his huge handballs stay in the game. They do have to be shut off 2 minutes before the beginning of a game though. Some black velvet is put on the back of the balloons as well, as they emit light in all directions - after all they were custom-made to be part of the set design in another show.
Henrik is happy to learn that the DR crew was more than satisfied with the balloons, and that their needs were completely fulfilled by them.
Furthermore, they would like to continue using them for sport events.
"We had a great collaboration with the DR crew, and we´ll be looking forward to getting their feedback and making these balloon LED lights even more user friendly".
So in the end everything turned out quite satisfactory.
If only Denmark had ended up in the finals, everything would have been successful!
Watch a short video of the studio from the World Championship in Handball 2017
If you´re interested in watching the broadcast from the DR studio you still have a little time.
The games end on January 29th...
...but our LED Lights continue to shine!