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Clay Paky illuminates “Parla con me”
Lighting Designer
Valerio Leccese
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“Parla con me” (talk to me) is a television show first broadcast in 2004. It is based on an idea by Serena Dandini, who hosts the programme together with comedian Dario Vergassola. It is currently shown late night on Italian state channel Rai 3. The director is Igor Skofic and set designer Maurizio Marchitelli.

The Director of Photography Valerio Leccese spoke to us about the spirit of the programme, and how the lighting design was conceived: “‘Parla con me’ is a weave of different genres, including television, theatre, live show, talk show, and even cinema! The scenery and lighting were therefore designed in synergy, in order to reflect this variety of styles and combine them.”

Nothing short of four distinct areas were obtained from the small Rai/De Paolis studio: one for the interviews conducted by Serena Dandini, one for the live performances, one for the comic entr’actes, and one for the homage to cinema. The main set combines warm wood-like materials, columns and monuments (a symbol of “history”), and newspaper stuck any old how onto the walls (a symbol of “modernity”).

The lighting equipment consists exclusively of Clay Paky lights: 14 Alpha Profile 1200s, 22 Alpha Spot HPE 575s, 22 Alpha Wash Halo 1000s and 6 CP Color MHs. Valerio Leccese told us that he specifically asked for lights made by the Italian company because he deemed them the most suitable for his needs: saturated colours, excellent optics, multipurpose, utmost reliability even in heavy duty use, and very long-lasting lamps.

Valerio Leccese, who is particularly appreciated for his innovative ideas in television lighting design, illustrated some of the characteristics of his style: “I try to exploit the whole potential of the lights fully: often not more than 60-70% of the possibilities are used, even in very professional environments like TV studios. I also try to recreate a perfectly symmetrical multipurpose layout when arranging the lighting equipment so that I am as free as possible to step in and make changes while things are running. In this case, for example, the live space hosts a different group of musicians every week. It is therefore necessary to adapt the lighting design each time. When you are not constrained by international formats, like in this case, you are completely free to work, and I find this deeply satisfying.”

The director of photography went into even more detail regarding a particular slot during the programme, which he interprets in a wholly personal way: “During the talk show I use visual effects all around the guest sofa. For example, I aim some coloured gobos on the floor or on the end walls to speckle the newspaper, and I combine the white of the panels with special spotlight effects, or give them notes of colour with the Halos. This is useful to surround the guests with a special atmosphere, which softens the typical talk-show coldness. The audience is instead illuminated with suffused light during the interview, and CP Colors during the other parts of the show. The aim in this case is to allow the warmth of the surrounding audience to be felt, and establish a conversational mood.”

“Parla con me” is a RAI-Fandango production. Tecnolight supplied the motorized lights and trusses. The rest of the equipment is material owned by RAI. The DMX lighting desk operator is Fabio Antonetti, the gaffer Fausto Bombardieri.