Game shows are more fun when they’re challenging. Perhaps that’s why Game of Talents has been such a runway success. The show, which originated in Spain and quickly spread to other countries to debut in the US on March 10, asks two teams of contestants to use their intuition and wits to figure out the hidden talents of performers based on only a few carefully selected clues.
It isn’t just contestants, however, who are tested by this exciting program. Game of Talents also presents an interesting challenge for designers who must often simultaneously key light the contestants sitting in their chairs as well as the performers on stage, all while fitting within the parameters of a broadcast application.
Michiel Milbou and his team at Never Fear Shadows met this challenge in winning fashion when lighting the Belgium version of this show, thanks to some adroit key lighting accomplished with CHAUVET Professional Maverick MK2 Profile fixtures supplied by Splendit.
“We were retained by Fremantle Production, who we have enjoyed working with many times in the past to light this program,” said Milbou. “A challenging part of this show was creating two different levels of key lighting. We had to light contestants looking at the stage, as well as the person on the stage, much as we do the jury and performer in the Masked Singer.”
“It’s difficult to light in this situation, because the ideal place to hang the key lights is in the middle of the other set,” he continued. “The camera also has to look through the key light of the other set. I try to design key light to minimize the chance of that happening.”
Milbou was able to position the 27 Maverick MK2 Profile fixtures in his rig discretely without sacrificing the quality of his key lighting for contestants or performers. The advanced optics of the 440W LED fixture, most notably its 4-blade dual position framing shutter system were critical in helping him achieve this level of control.
While ensuring optimal key lighting for everyone on the set, Milbou and his team also worked to give each performer a unique look. “We knew in advance there were going to be many acts,” he said. “With this in mind, we wanted a lot of sidelight for different situations. Sometimes, there are many people on stage, while at other times there may be only one person. In putting together our lighting rig, we wanted to make sure that we could sidelight at different heights to adapt our design according to what was on stage.”
In addition to the profile units, Milbou’s rig featured two Maverick MK3 Wash fixtures and 20 Maverick MK1 Hybrids, as well as 54 ÉPIX Strip 1-meter linear units, all of which were also supplied by Splendit.
Positioned to the left and right of the entrance to the set, the MK3 Wash units were used to highlight moments when contestants and performers came on stage. “We relied on the washes to pump up entrances,” said Milbou. “They provided nice punch with their big lenses. We used them to blind the camera at those moments.”
Also adding impact to the entrance of contestants and performers was a see-through LED screen that Never Fear Shadows added to the set. Milbou explained how this design feature came about:
“In many cases, the most important moment is when the curtain goes up,” he said. “In the past this was always done with an actual curtain that was pulled up. We wanted to do something a lot more modern for this show. I wanted something like a see-through LED screen, but the others didn’t trust the technology. We did some tests with the screens, putting somebody behind at a distance, shining light onto it and I took some videos with my phone. Those immediately convinced the others.”
Also endowing the set with unique visuals on the set were the ÉPIX fixtures, which were used to create an array of engaging geometric patterns. “The shapes bring every element of the design together,” said Milbou. “We created hexagons with the strips that are reflected in different parts of the design. This makes it more than just freestanding elements.”
“We really wanted a shiny floor too, because it allows us to do more with less,” continued Milbou. “We could use fewer lamps for bigger effects. Plus, the video screen is doubled in size through the reflection.”
Like any successful project, lighting Game of Talents was the result of a team effort. Milbou gives credit to executive producer Olivier Deprez , producer Stien Smets, Maryse van de Wyngaert and Koen Verbrugghe from the show– a well as his Never Fear Shadows team of Jan Lerminiaux, Piotr Szabliński, Niels Huybrechts, Cedric Eestermans, Rik Uytersprot, Cedriek Stoffels, and Max van den Abeele.
True to his company’s Never Fear Shadows moniker, Milbou incorporated ample amounts of dark spaces into his design. “I love working with darkness and light,” he said. “The combination highlights contrasts and adds depth to a set.”
Strategically placed dark spaces also create a sense of suspense, leading people to guess about what’s next, exactly the kind of mood that is right at home in this hit show.