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Clay Paky at TOP OF THE POPS 2004 / 2005
Lighting Designer
Riccardo Barbaglio, Massimo Cavenaghi
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The BBC’s historical music program, “Top of the Pops”, has returned for the 2004/2005 edition, with the Italian version featuring Doxa’s Top 40.

Presented once again by Daniele Bossari with the help of Silvia Hsieh, this program is broadcast every Saturday afternoon on Italia Uno, and for the first time this year, on the satellite channel Italia Teen Television.

The program may not have changed, but the studio certainly has: Top of the Pops now has a new highly efficient set with new elements and an enlarged lighting system.

Unlike last year, two stages can now be either separated or joined, and a special arrangement was designed to adapt to the size of the studio: the stages are positioned perpendicular to each other and at an oblique angle from the cameras to create a greater sense of depth.

The program’s graphics have also changed, including a simpler and subtler logo. The BBC ensured that the Mediaset studios had the three “polos” and soundwaves – as set designers call them – which are simple, fresh and full of impact.

“The most important innovation here – reveal LDs Riccardo Barbaglio and Massimo Cavenaghi is the new lighting system. Last year, the Italian edition of Top of the Pops stood out for the quality of its lighting effects, which received compliments from the BBC. This is one of the reasons why Einstein, the Italian TV production studios which work with Mediaset and the BBC, decided to invest more in lighting effects, which we wanted to make into a distinctive aspect of this year’s program”.

Another reason has to do with the arrangement of the two stages on different axes: each stage had to have its own truss for both front and back lighting as well as a truss for both stages and the studio’s ring. In the end, the set design was adapted to the lighting design, as in fact the set designer, Roberto Bassanini, presented his project with all the battens already included. And for the first time, the lighting system includes the new Alpha moving body projectors and the wall-mounted Point MH.

Barbaglio spoke about Clay Paky’s Alpha with the console technician Andrea Mantovani : “These are innovative products for our market, with an incredibly luminous output and a host of high quality effects: Alpha Spot HPE features many different rotating and fixed gobos and an animation disc which can be combined with gobos for creative effects. Alpha Wash, on the other hand, has an incredible zoom and can diffuse color perfectly at all angles, including short distance projections: this is essential when you are working in relatively small environments like this one”.

Alpha Spot HPE and Alpha Wash were positioned on battens over both stages to guarantee special effects and illuminate the public. A grid of Point MH projectors was fitted onto the right-hand wall of the studio. “The Point MH projectors were a revelation last year”, continues Barbaglio. “Using just a 50 watt lamp, they are able to create clear-cut color beams – this is mainly because of their top quality halogen lamp which is filtered perfectly by the digital camera. And Point MH has another two extraordinary qualities: firstly, its compact size, which enables easy positioning in a small TV studio; and secondly, its ability to “animate” the scene while being an attractive feature of the set design. This year, we decided to create an entire wall to install a series of 20 Point MHs, which are all synchronized and “dance” to the rhythm of the music with the Sound-to-Light system”.

The lighting system includes Stage Color 300 and Stage Light 300 in the chrome versions, Mini Scan HPE , CP Color MH and CP Color 400 e Stage Zoom 1200: a variety of products able to provide any technical solution to filming as well as giving the program that distinctive Italian style.

Barbaglio continues: “A music program designed for young people should have a certain character and a dynamic interpretation of the music through the use of light; however it is best to avoid a hotchpotch of too many elements. We usually listen to each track more than once the day before, in order to interpret it through light according to the rhythm and the type of artist on stage”. Massimo Cavenaghi agrees: “I am delighted with the design, as it gives Top of the Pops a strong image and personality, already renowned throughout the world. The original format is exported to 88 countries, while a dozen countries like Italy produce their own program based on their national tracks. The program’s success owes a lot to the lighting system and Clay Paky, which provided impeccable support and helped us exploit every potential of these new technologically advanced products.”

Production: Einstein / Mediaset
Lighting service: Xenon
Lighting Designer: Riccardo Barbaglio, Massimo Cavenaghi
Console technician: Andrea Mantovani

Clay Paky lights: 20 Alpha Spot HPE, 30 Alpha Wash, 20 Point MH, 8 CP Color 400, 10 CP Color MH, 14 Mini Scan HPE, 11 Stage Light 300 (chrome), 14 Stage Color 300 (chrome), 4 Stage Zoom 1200

Sound system: Meyer
Sound service: Backstage