Gekko LED lights used at Sky News in London

Sky News has chosen LED lighting from Gekko Technology for its “Jeff Randall Live” newsroom in London's financial district. The studio has as its backdrop a view directly through an exterior glass wall.

Airing at 7:30 each weekday evening, the cameras have to contend with the setting sun as the rear outlook of the studio is due west. Care was taken to achieve camera positions, which use nearby buildings to mask direct views of the sun, but this can be hard to achieve consistently as the sun sets.

The initial solution considered involved using HMI fixtures running through DMX-controlled dimmer shutters into soft boxes. This introduced complications in terms of control, power draw and the large amounts of heat that multiple HMIs produce, especially when used in a confined space. Sky then approached Gekko Technology via Broadcast & Production Services to investigate an LED-based solution. Sky is no stranger to LED lighting but was concerned about shifting colors when dimming them or using them at relatively low intensity.

Gekko supplied a range of its fixtures — powered by kleer color, the company's color tunable LED light engine. The chosen solution centers on kezia hard-source lights.

Fully color tunable, the kezia fixtures provide a high volume of even light, with a color temperature range of between 2900K and 6500 Kelvin. Color temperature stability is maintained via a feedback loop built into each light. If a shift in output is detected as a consequence of rising ambient temperature, for example, the kleer color system automatically adjusts to the temperature specified.

The kezia 50 fixture was deployed for back lighting the set. This requires only 50W of power yet equates to a 250W tungsten source. Power supplies for the lights are contained in separately integrated units, each capable of driving up to four lamps. This made rigging a relatively straightforward process with no undue loading on the ceiling-hung grid.