PBS Newshour Re-Light by The Lighting Design Group (PLSN July 2015)

The Lighting Design Group Plays KeyRole in New Look for PBS Newshour

Created: 30 July, 2015
The Lighting Design Group Plays Key Role in New Look for PBS Newshour

SHIRLINGTON, VA – On Monday, July 20th, PBS Newshour, filmed at the WETA studio A, featured a new look that included new graphics, music, lighting and set. The show now features a clean, open, airy look consisting of large freestanding blue, red, and amber, acrylic panels carved into shapes evoking the PBS logo. Complementing the new set is a new lighting design by Dennis Size, vice president of design for the Lighting Design Group (LDG).
More details from LDG (

The entire set, which has four interview areas for anchors Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill, is encircled almost 360 degrees with a 20-foot-high white cyc. Eric Siegel worked with scenic designer George Allison, Newshour executive producer Sara Just and Newshour director Joe Camp on the project,

The lighting design involved a total overhaul of the existing electrical system — removing the decades old, malfunctioning dimmers and converting the existing circuits in the grid to hot power appropriate for LED technology.

Gaffer, Lesli Tilly, along with electricians supplied by LDG from our D.C. labor pool, worked closely with Barbizon Lighting in D.C. and Newshour Lighting Director, Charlie Ide to convert WETA’s Studio A, in Shirlington, Virginia, to an energy efficient space.

Size spec’d all state-of-the-art equipment consisting of 80 Source 4 Lustre Series 2 ellipsoidal, using primarily 14 and 19 degree lenses, as key and fill lights.  He also used 25 Sola 12 Lite Panels LED fresnels as softlight washes. The color temperature chosen for the studio was 5,000 degrees Kelvin, in part for the crisp “pure white’ quality of daylight, and also because of all the large monitors used all around the set.

Lighting the massive cyc required testing to ensure the proper look.  The design required the acrylic panels to be lit only by the bounce light off the cyc itself.  So getting the right instrument for such dominate parts of the set was crucial. Units were demoed at Gotham’s Scenic Shop in New Jersey.  Ultimately 70 Selecon LED Cyc Lights were purchased to light the cyc entirely from the floor.

Control is achieved by an ETC Gio console.

In addition the Home Base anchor desk was outfitted with 10 Cineo Matchstixs to provide a soft fill from below for Gwen and Judy — counter-balancing the ellipsoidal key lights, almost all of which were hung at 20′.

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