The tenth edition of the popular talent show, which started in Britain, is richer and more dazzling than ever. Work on it started a good five months before the recordings (for a “normal” television programme ninety days is usually enough) since the lights and scenic effects are essential components for the success of the show.
The lighting director Massimo Pascucci explained that X-Factor Italy is not just a television show, but is also a real “live event filmed with cameras, where the artists are free to roam the stage and even put on their shows in the corridors and theatre galleries.” Other components typical of live events include the large number of LED walls that accompany the performances and the use of purpose-built scenery. The lighting equipment and filming covers every corner of the theatre, including a dolly hanging in the air which sweeps and ranges far and wide, from one side of the studio to the other.”
The lighting director and production designer work closely throughout the whole week to set up a completely different show for every artist that performs: a kind of “show within the show” that repeats from the first to the last episode, even when there are very few competitors. Although there are less new talents, the number of performances does not decrease, and each one has different characteristics.
“The meticulous care taken over every single step, from the competitors’ performances to the various parts of the show, is unique to the Italian version. The day after the live Thursday episode, work starts immediately on the next one, and the set and lighting designs are created and tested for up to twenty hours a day on the days before the live broadcast: there is hardly a moment’s peace.”
The Claypaky Scenius Profiles stand out in the large lighting rig. They were the first Scenius units used in Italy TV-wise. “They are excellent lights,” said Pascucci. “Definitely the best beam shapers on the market, which also offer saturated colours and a light quality which is hard to find with other lights. I mainly use them to mark out sections of the scene. The Profiles allow me to change situations on the fly, in keeping with the flexibility and speed required by the show.”
“The Scenius Profile also allowed me to create original, interesting lighting effects, using the beam shaper at the minimum beam angle: a wide segment of bright light which moved along the cracks of the doors in the scene, opening and closing when needed thanks to the ‘total curtain effect’ only this light has.”
The Sharpys, instead, play an important role during the play-off, which is one of the most exciting moments of the show: “I made them interact with the big moving triangles on the stage, creating a ‘break’ effect to introduce suspense. In my opinion the Sharpy is the tracer par excellence owing to its luminous efficiency and continuity of use.”
X-Factor Italy is a tribute to modernity in all respects, even as regards the lighting choices: “I removed all the conventional lights, from the manual beam shapers to the white lights. I am convinced thatsmart moving lights have long reached the quality of light required specifically for use in television, besides offering countless advantages in terms of flexibility and range of effects. I even use moving lights to create face skin colours, which is one of the things that most distinguishes the way I work.”
Luca Tommassini is the artistic director of X-Factor Italy, and Marco de Nardi is the lighting operator and designer.
Italian rental company AMG provided the Claypaky Scenius.