Broadcast lighting levels

Perth, 21st February 2010

With the Winter Olympics in Vancouver moving into its second week I guess we have all been able to catch some of the sporting heroics on TV at some point in time. Because of the worldwide audiences the events are held both during day as well as at night. Our interest of course is professionally focused on the night events and we look out for glimpses on how various events are lit. The ski slopes, the luge tracks, the ice rinks, etc.

As it is the world’s biggest sporting event one would assume that lighting for the performances of the athletes is first priority. However it cannot be denied that with millions, perhaps billions of people around the world watching, the lighting for broadcast purposes is probably as important perhaps even more important. With today’s high tech video recording abilities (slow motion, super imposing images, visual time tracking, etc) lighting is critical.

TV broadcasting for such major event basically means that the lighting design needs to account for each and every camera position! From the TV broadcast it is easy to see that each and every corner of the track or venue is covered by fixed camera’s for general viewing, but there are also the moving, roving and “on board” camera’s that track individual athletes, etc. Lighting levels are reported to be anywhere between 1000 and 3000 lux vertical! But with the modern camera technology being able to record images at very low lighting levels one can be forgiven to question whether we really need these sort of high lighting levels??

Oh…and there is the public…Somehow I have the feeling they are the forgotten ones…  :). The opening ceremony for instance was specifically designed for TV. The public in the stands did not have the same beautiful visuals as we had on TV!

PS: The Dutch just won their second gold medal…yes you guessed it…in the 1500m speed skating 🙂 

21. February 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting applications, lighting design | Leave a comment

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