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Clay Paky with "I Raccomandati"
Lighting Designer
Fausto Carboni
Di & Di Service
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Clay Paky illuminates “I Raccomandati” (the protégés), a talent show broadcast by RAI (Italian state owned television) since 2003. Various competitors perform on stage in the company of VIPs (hence the name “the protégés”). The winner is chosen at the end of the program.

The ninth series of shows, broadcast live every Friday during prime time from the Teatro delle Vittorie in Rome, has some very elegant new scenery based on natural materials, designed by Riccardo Bocchini. There is wooden parquet on the floor and on the arch enclosing the stage, and elegant chrome-plated trim behind the three large LED walls.

The lighting equipment has been supplied by Di & Di Service, and consists of 20 Alpha Profile 1200s (half of which are arranged at the height of the proscenium and the other half in the auditorium for front lighting), 20 Alpha Spot HPE 1200s (all as backlighting), 16 Alpha Spot HPE 700s (arranged around the whole internal perimeter of the auditorium) and 16 Alpha Spot HPE 300s (also as backlighting). A few CP Color 400 MHs complete the rig.

Fausto Carboni, the director of photography, says he has performed an almost “surgical operation”. He has used the Profiles to “cut out” the special areas of the scenery that need highlighting with clean-edged light. “I also had the pleasure to try out the Alpha Spot HPE 700s, and I must say they offer truly innovative graphic effects,” says Fausto Carboni. “For example, we were able to use some lighting effects on the large entrance sphere, which is a highly characteristic special scenic element consisting of motorized plates that close with a circular movement.”

The lighting has to illuminate several materials ranging from iron to wood. The different colours and different degrees of light reflection and absorption therefore had to be taken into account. The wooden floor, for example, is enhanced using the water effect produced by the animation disc on the HPE 1200s. It was also necessary to blend the light with the video effects. There are three large LED walls, one in the middle at the back of the circular sphere, and two on the side walls. Carboni calibrated the light intensity and colour meticulously, together with director Maurizio Pagnussat, to achieve a harmonious result.

Fausto Carboni emphasizes the extraordinary compactness of the 300s and 700s: “It is incredible what you can do with these lights. Their use was vitally important to me, because the battens mounted in the Teatro delle Vittorie have limiting weight-constraints. With the compact Alpha models, I was able to mount lights without running into weight problems and could choose as many as I needed. The 700s in particular are truly miraculous works of microengineering. They are as bright as 1200 W lights with the typical weight and size of lower wattage models.”

Particularly significant appreciation also came from the sound technicians: all the Clay Paky Alpha lights turned out to be extremely silent. This is fundamental when there is a twenty-piece orchestra on stage.

Fausto Carboni concludes by emphasizing that “the reliability of the lights is crucial for the director of photography of a live TV show. Thanks to the high performance and reliability standards of Clay Paky Alphas, I have been able to face each programme with the necessary serenity.”

The director of photography is assisted by Gianluca Brunicci and Carlo Vanni on the lighting desks. Gaffer: Walter Loia