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Jimmy Kimmel Moves to LED Lighting With Cineo

The newly re-lit “Jimmy Kimmel Live” studio

LOS ANGELES—I’m the lighting designer for ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show and a couple of years ago I was asked by the show’s producers about transitioning the production to LED lighting. I told them that at that time the technology was getting a lot better, but was not quite to the point where I was ready to deploy it.

We revisited the subject of LED last December and I felt that based on what I had seen at the Live Design International show last fall—after short-listing some manufacturers— we could proceed with an LED makeover.

The show originates from the historic El Capitan Theater, a Hollywood landmark, and this presented some real challenges in terms of air conditioning, as we are limited in the scope of infrastructure changes that can be done at such a protected facility. I wanted to use this opportunity not just to take advantage of the power and HVAC savings that LED illumination would bring, but also to do a relight for the show as we shoot it today, as opposed to the show 10 years ago when we first did the lighting.. The show has changed over the years and we shoot it very differently now—it’s not just a desk, a chair, and a couch situation at “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” We use every inch of the studio and I need to be ready for whatever Jimmy and his writers come up with.

As mentioned, the show has been on the air for a decade and I was looking for technology that would last for at least another 10 years.

One of my biggest concerns is color shift over time, as I’ve seen some LED lighting equipment become unusable due to blue or green shift in just two or three years. I wanted to be sure that didn’t happen with the equipment we purchased.

CRI (color rendering index) or the “quality of the light” was also very important to me. When we asked manufacturers to bring products to us for evaluation we would look at a wide range of skin tones and color swatches on our cameras. We also looked at how we could shape the light with diffusion, barn doors, snoots and how we would use the lights in our space.

Cineo’s TruColor fixtures were unique in our evaluation as they use “remote phosphor” technology. The way the fixtures create high-quality soft light is like nothing else. They were the best-looking products evaluated, hands down. Due to the technology Cineo uses, the color temperature will never change and the CRI is the closest you can get to an incandescent source. The color temperature can be accurately set in steps from 2700 K to 6500 K, also allowing me to use this color temperature option as a tool. The CRI measurement for the TruColor fixtures was the best I could find—98; brighter than a 2 kW soft light and it operates on less than 450 Watts. I used both large and small TruColor fixtures to replace all of our soft lights and the results have been outstanding.

Christian Hibbard is an Emmy-nominated Los Angeles-based lighting designer and photographer with more than 20 years of network television experience. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Cineo Lighting at 310-425-3425 or