BBS Area 48 Lights Illuminate New AJ+ Studio

BEND, ORE.—My company has provided consulting, design and integration services to broadcast, production and corporate studios worldwide for more than 20 years. During that time we’ve experienced the transition from incandescent to fluorescent studio lighting, with the rest of the industry now swiftly moving into the world of LED lighting technology. And in our various television broadcasting and production projects, we’ve used just about every lighting instrument design available.

Recently we completed a lighting project for “AJ+,” a new digital news startup from the Al Jazeera Media Network. This project demanded great soft lighting and was a perfect place to use Area 48 remote phosphor soft lights from BBS Lighting.


Al Jazeera Media Network’s AJ+ studio We had to light a series of talent positions throughout the newsroom space, and needed a good LED soft light for the primary illumination. To meet this requirement we turned to Area 48 lighting instruments as they provide a very even and powerful source of light. The fixture’s remote phosphor design separates the raw LEDs from the color phosphors that are coated on a translucent panel at the front of the unit. This construction provides an inherently soft source that responds well to the control accessories that are available.

Another important plus associated with the Area 48 lighting instrument is that it does not use fans for cooling, relying instead on the convective movement of air through the fixture for exhausting heat. This eliminates the potential for any sound issues within the studio and also ensures that the fixtures are going to have a better service life as there fewer points of potential failure. That’s really a big advantage in a busy news production operation where down time for servicing lighting fixtures can be disruptive.


Another feature of the Area 48 lighting instrument also enhances its performance. Many LED fixtures employ phosphor coating of individual LEDs. This exposes the phosphor to heat that can degrade color quality and can cause color shift in color temperature as the fixtures heat up. By separating the phosphor-coated panel from the LEDs, Area 48’s remote phosphor technology provides more consistent and precise color over the life of the fixture.

The new Al Jazeera AJ+ facility is located in an historic building on King Street in San Francisco which was never designed to accommodate television production. Even with modern HVAC and power distribution, maintaining an efficient and comfortable work environment within the Al Jazeera space is a challenge. The studio lighting is up much of the day as the operation is constantly producing content for the Al Jazeera networks and the Area 48 LED technology provides some very nice savings in energy and operating costs. Actually, this LED lighting technology is a key player in the overall energy efficiency of the facility.

AJ+ was not our first experience with the Area 48 devices. We’ve also used them in installations at a number of other television origination facilities with equally good results.

Steve Mulkey is the owner and chief executive at Redwood Media Group LLC and may be contacted

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