Litepanels' Gemini 2x1 Soft LED panel is the behind-the-scenes star of the U.K.'s popular "Dancing on Ice" (DOI) program, currently airing its 11th series on ITV. For the latest series, the show's producers turned to an innovative new lighting strategy — 40 Gemini panels mounted on five towers around the on-set ice rink.
DOI features celebrities and their professional partners figure skating competitively in front of an all-star judging panel. The 11th series premiered in early January with contestants ranging from actors and reality TV stars to musicians and athletes. Controlled with a remote lighting console, the Geminis provide outstanding color accuracy and the flexibility to apply different effects and intensities in an instant.
"I've been a satisfied Litepanels customer for a long time, and I still have quite a few earlier-generation Litepanels LEDs in my kit. Litepanels was the first company to come out with a 1x1 panel with consistent broadcast-quality color rendition, and they've really raised the bar on 2x1 panels with Gemini," said Roger Laxon, "Dancing on Ice" director of photography. "For DOI, we knew the Geminis would be perfect for helping us execute on our new creative vision in a way that could meet our extremely tight timeframe and budget."
Laxon and DOI producer Sam Rees-Jones enlisted gaffer Daf Cook to help them turn their vision for the tower-mounted Geminis into reality. Cook then contacted Nick Edwards, managing director of Version 2, a UK-based rental house that had recently added a large quantity of Gemini 2x1 Soft LEDs to its inventory. Version 2 supplied a complete lighting and rigging package, including 40 Gemini 2x1 Soft LED panels.
The ingenious lighting design includes five towers with eight stacked Gemini LED panels on each tower. Cook is able to control the lights' colors, intensity, and effects using a HedgeHog 4X console from High End Systems. This makes it easy to adapt the lighting from show to show as required by Laxon and director Dave Sutton.
"The light towers were a fairly big departure from our traditional approach to lighting DOI, but everyone on the production has been really pleased with the result. The Geminis have performed perfectly, and we really appreciate the support we have received from Nick and Version 2 in providing a one-stop shop for the lights," Cook said. "Any other 2x1 LED would have required a lot more structural rigging for this configuration. But the Geminis are ideal because of their light weight and their built-in power supply, which made them much easier to rig high up on the towers."
Laxon added, "The Gemini's gel, HSI, and CCT modes mean we can dial in any color we like without having to apply gels to the lights physically. In an instant, Daf can fine-tune the intensity of the colors to get the exact effect we're going for, and in a hue that looks best on screen. There's no way we would have had this kind of flexibility using gels."
Byron Brown, product manager, Litepanels, commented, "Speed is always critical on any production, and Gemini is the complete package: a soft light that can be rigged extremely fast and in many different and complex configurations, but also provides outstanding and consistent color accuracy for any type of film or video project. The new season of DOI is a great example, and we're very proud that Gemini is playing such an innovative role."