Kelly Clarkson Show is wrapped in Robe
Multiple Grammy award winning Kelly Clarkson has rocked the foundations and redefined daytime talk show television with her award‐ winning, high impact “The Kelly Clarkson Show” (TKCS). The pleasure and the pressures of lighting this dynamic and ever‐ shifting environment recorded on Universal Studios in LA’s Stage 1, has been down to Darren Langer of DCLighting, a lighting design and direction practice also based in LA, specializing in television and multi‐ camera environments. Darren has relied on several specific Robe products throughout series 1 and 2 of The Kelly Clarkson Show – Pointes, BMFL Spots and BMFL Blades, PATT 2013s, Spiiders and Tetra2s – to ensure that the studios and sets have looked fresh and invigorating every time for this truly unique talk show format.
Ahead of the first series launched in 2019, Darren was interviewed by the network executives together with several other lighting designer / and director candidates, from which he was selected. It was a totally new client, so he was delighted to get the job based on DCLighting’s vast and rich creative porfolio of lighting music and talk show projects over theyears.
“One challenge with this one was the truly multipurpose nature of the lighting required,” explained Darren. It demanded a fine balance of musical performance and expression juxtaposed with the more structured approach of a daytime talk show. He knew immediately the lighting design would have to be uber‐ adaptable, and Robe products immediately entered his thought process.
With flexibility at the essence of the lighting, Robe products ensured “we had capacity to transform instantly from a sharp, animated daytime talk show set to a sexy after‐dark ‘musical dream’ at any point,” says Darren ... and switch back instantaneously at the push of a button!
Season 1’s lighting had eight Robe BMFL Blades and eight Pointes permanently installed, and these were augmented with more Robe specials, depending on the songs and action of the day.
Frequently used fixtures included PATT 2013s 15 x Spiiders, and 24 x Tetra2s, all; supplied, together with the rest of the lighting equipment, by Illumination Dynamics.
Fixture positions varied constantly around the studio, but “these Robes they were fundamental to each show,” said Darren, giving them almost infinite options to create diﬀerent looks throughout the season. The goal was to never repeat the same look! Darren picked Robe fixtures generally for being “bright, fast, clean, with fantastic color options, great flat beam fields and for the sheer versatility.”
He maximized the Pointes in particular as they can do equally good wide and narrow beams and have an endless array of in‐air eﬀects and fast movement perfect for floor coloring and texturing, and for fast color chases and movements. “We’d often hang them and even use as back‐light on the artists for creating moody silhouettes and other trick‐of‐light gags!”
The Spiiders were another multi‐ tasker with lots of diﬀerent beam eﬀects and quirky pixel and graphic eﬀects possible on the LEDs. They were also excellent floor washers, back‐of‐shot eye candy fillers and diﬀerent shapes.
Two RoboSpot systems were an invaluable asset to the show, both run by Chris Nelson. The BMFL FollowSpots being remote controlled were positioned one over the audience and one above ‘home base’ where Kelly usually sits for interviews, allowing pick ups in any part of the area that the host or guests would generally roam. The two base stations were located side‐ by‐side backstage enabling Chris to easily swap between as needed.
These and all the other lights in the studio were controlled via a grandMA2 console.
After the timeframe, programming was the next most galvanizing task throughout the two series for which Darren had input from a fantastic team over the period comprising Andrew Law, Brian Larsh, Brandon Dunning, Jeﬀ Handke, Felix Peralta and Tyler Glover.
The lighting department was also controlling a media server that dictated most of the screen content, so, with the assistance of technical manager Eric Feder, they didn’t miss a beat!
Photo © Weiss Eubanks, NBCU