Ajeet Khare, Managing Director, Canara Lighting Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Broadcasting is going through a paradigm shift. This situation has created tremendous pressure on decision makers to select suitable equipment for their operations. Fear of being left behind or becoming obsolete is forcing managements and decision makers to understand future requirements and take appropriate and swift decisions. Major criterions governing decision making have to address key issues such as future technology requirements, obsolescence rate, proven technology products, cost of equipment, and running cost. The bottom line of such detailed analysis and complex decision making is to ensure their businesses survive, are profitable, and are able to make a significant impact in a highly competitive and congested scenario. {mosimage}

On studio lighting front, technology has invaded in a significant manner to meet current demanding requirements. There is a wide variety of lighting technology available to select from. We have conventional technology products and the latest ones such as LED, OLED, etc. Correct selection of technology is important for different requirements in studios. However, most of the TV studios are looking at using LED technology to equip their studios. This technology offers tremendous advantages on running cost, ease of operation, meeting new regulatory requirements on carbon emission, etc.

Another major change taking place is in the area of studio lighting design. A large amount of time is spent in rearranging lighting fixture positions, pan, tilt, etc. This cost is significant in program studios. In order to reduce overall time for lighting set design and placement, it is becoming important to automate them. Various approaches are to use motorized rigging system. Depending upon the studio size and height, different options are available. One can choose from motorized self-climbing tele-climbers, motorized flying grid, motorized telescope, motorized pantograph, and custom-built automated systems. Such equipment is internally wired for power and signal to avoid cluttered look. They can be positioned to the new requirement in a jiffy. Modern-day control systems provide various options such as remote controller and wireless or Wi-Fi controllers. The latest approach is to have touch screen pads. Automation of rigging equipment reduces the time required to create a new setup and also reduces manpower cost. Maintenance and adjustment of lighting fixtures is a lot more convenient and easy. Broadcasting studios in Asia, Middle-East, and European countries use automation in rigging widely and effectively. Indian broadcasters must look at this competitive tool to remain ahead of others.

Ease-of-operation leads to perfection. We all are aware of proper positioning of lighting fixtures to achieve best results. However, due to effort required to climb up the ladder and to make final adjustments, many a time this is ignored due to action required to get the ladder and do the job. Again, if the camera man wants another adjustment, it gets ignored. However, if the lighting fixtures are used with pole operation system, it is possible to make multiple adjustments in pan, tilt, flood, or spot effortlessly. But in the Indian context, selection of pole-operated lighting fixtures are ignored due to additional cost involved which is, however, negligible compared to convenience and quality of results possible to achieve. In program and entertainment studios abroad, it is very popular to use lighting fixtures with motorized yokes. With this facility, it is possible to achieve any adjustment in pan, tilt, flood, or spot with a touch of button or screen. Indian broadcasters and production houses should look at this option, which will help them achieve better results with lesser manpower in the shortest time.

Studio lighting system gets least importance while broadcasting equipment planning is carried out. There is a general feeling that any kind of lighting system should be able to perform the job. If it was true, all leading channels select and use latest and high-end products, but still the picture quality varies drastically from channel to channel. Here studio lighting system plays a very important role. This can be easily resolved by choosing a competent and professional lighting partner. They must have long practical experience in the field of lighting design; lighting products must be produced as per international quality levels; and should be able to install, commission, and test the lighting system on site. Another important factor is training customer's technicians in not only proper usage but also in lighting design for different events and shows.

Managements and decision makers should consider studio lighting system as a very important aspect of their broadcasting operations.