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New Studio Design for BBC World News America

World-leading public service broadcaster BBC World News America recently underwent renovations to their high-profile studio in Washington, D.C. BBC is an iconic news brand known around the world. With a new set design, comes the need for new studio lighting.

Eastern Lighting Design worked closely with award-winning (broadcast) production design firm Clickspring Design (out of New York City) to create a slick studio environment. The studio is a small space and the challenge was to create a clean and sleek design while giving BBC as much lighting flexibility as possible. While the entire studio was gutted and re-built, the lighting had to fit into the existing power load footprint.

“Small spaces can quickly become crowded with lighting fixtures.” Explains Matt Gordon, Lighting Designer and President of Eastern Lighting Design. “Our goal was to blend the lighting fixtures into the architectural aesthetic as much as possible.”

Chroma-Q® Studio Force II™ (9) and Chroma-Q® Studio Force Phosphor™ (15) were chosen for BBC’s design because they are compact fixtures with an amazing output. Both black and white versions of the fixtures were used to blend seamlessly into the set.

With the current global pandemic impacting the time-frame of this project, Eastern Lighting Design had to be flexible in both the design and the time allotted to the project. During the lockdown, they had to wait to get into the studio. After the lockdown, they had to adjust their lighting plans to accommodate social distancing practices.

BBC World News America required a flexible space to work within. Specific blocking was created at the news desk that can shift as the season progresses.

“The Studio Force Phosphor™ creates a wonderfully soft base. This provides the presenters with a flexible environment to move around in. This is the starting point for anything the BBC needs to do within the studio.” Explains Matt Gordon. “The Studio Force II™ adds a secondary layer. This fixture has more direction and control and can highlight specific areas including, the anchors and guests within the base. Combining both types of fixtures was ideal as they have identical form factors that lends well to the small size of the studio. These fixtures blend into the set if they are seen in a wide shot from the camera.”

The project took a little longer than anticipated starting in early March and wrapping up in early August. BBC News America was able to host its first live broadcast on Monday, August 17, 2020, in its newly designed studio.

“We are a long-time user of Chroma-Q®’s studio lighting fixtures. We have had a lot of success with the fixtures and they are always reliable. The quiet operation from the fans and low power consumption make Chroma-Q®’s fixtures ideal for the studio environment.” Remarks Matt Gordon.

Eastern Lighting Design worked with Chroma-Q®’s North American Distributor A.C. Lighting Inc.