strictly come dancing
Specialz Add More Glamour to Strictly
Each year the Strictly Come Dancing Live show gets that bit more glitzy and that bit more glamourous. Now in its twelfth year, the live production of the iconic TV show has gone from strength to strength, extending that warm glowing feel-good feeling from the small screen to arenas around the country for its enthusiastic and loyal audience. Each year the show specification is revisited and refreshed with each set piece and prop given a re-evaluation. This year, one of the recipients of a revamp were the chandeliers, a must-have ingredient of a Strictly set.
Production manager Andy Gibbs goes into detail, “We had maintained the chandeliers for eleven years, bringing them out of storage annually to add that extra dressing to the set look. Our tour director is Craig Revel Horwood and during the initial discussions about this year’s show, he was keen to include fountains and waterfalls. Clearly, with 1200 panels of wooden dancefloor that gets loaded in and out and carefully laid at every venue, this was never going to happen. I suggested we go down the LED route and approached Specialz to come up with a proposal. The resulting design and fabrication produced four chandeliers which proved to provide effects far beyond the original expectation.”
Specialz MD, Dave Smith goes into how the fixtures were developed. “We exchanged various ideas and settled on a concept using programmable node RGBW LEDs and based around three half circle mirror balls on a tier. They had to be the same size as the old chandeliers to maintain the truck pack, they had to be battery powered, wi-fi controlled, needed to rotate and descend from a winch. Our SPI cards have a unique programmable animation capability which allowed us to essentially group the 12,000 channel count to 360 for all four fixtures.
Powered by 12V Li-ion batteries, each unit was fitted with its own charged so they could be charged up after each show when they were dropped in. The specification was originally that they need to run for about fifty minutes per show but, as rehearsals progressed it was clear that they were being used far more than originally planned so a significant comfort zone was built into their running time.”
Specialz’s confidence that the chandeliers were going to be an FX winner were proved right. Indeed, so much so that they provided the inspiration for another part of the set as Gibbs explains, “We had a large 10ft diameter, four tier centre piece that was built by Howard Eaton Lighting and used the same technology from Specialz to harmonise the look. Put together they were simply stunning.”
Smith confirms, “By supplying Howard Eaton with SPI cards, Wi-fi receivers and the RGBW tape for the revolving centre piece, we were able to enable continuity in both look and programming. Similar treatment was also given to a number of lampposts, made by Total Fabrication that decorated the set.”
“From the first concept, we were sure that these were going to sure fire winners,” concludes Smith. “Our Specialz LED driver and battery technology enabled us to deliver a programmable system that was manageable and yet still provided the LD Richard Jones with a fixture offering a multitude of looks and effects that significantly added to the ambience of the show. Here at Specialz, we know there is nothing better than another satisfied customer!”