Poland’s national broadcasting organisation Polish National Television (TVP) S.A. broadcasts across 24 TV channels and is a hotbed of news, opinion and diversity with creative production and programming covering every genre of broadcasting from news and sports to drama, soaps, talk shows, documentaries, comedy, debates, political commentary and current affairs, music shows, cultural and educational programmes and many more. It also produces its own series and movies together with an array of festivals.
The organisation has enthusiastically invested in Robe moving lights over the years with over 600 now in the inventory!
The first Robes to come onboard were 24 x Colour Spot 170s in 2005 – which are still working although not in daily use – and the latest were 32 x ESPRITES, delivered during the pandemic in 2021 by Robe’s proactive long-term distributor, Prolight. At the time, these were the first ESPRITES in Poland.
Telewizja Polski’s HQ is in Warsaw, with six studios and three spaces for films on a site that is currently under redevelopment to increase size, capacity and ensure the whole facility is equipped with technology for the future.
There are 13 regional TVP centres dotted around the country’s major cities, each broadcasting their own regional channels and content, so it is a busy and lively environment in which to work and spend time.
Head of lighting Miroslaw (Miro) Madry oversees all the studio lighting and effects lighting for outside broadcasts and has been in the post for seven years. He co-ordinates a department of 120 people, working closely with a team of talented and experienced lighting operators. These include Andrzej Jakubowski who has been with TVP for an incredible 46 years … and still loves his job.
One of his gigs is operating lights on the popular and high-profile Breakfast show which currently has 30 x LEDWash 600s and other luminaires lighting the live artist’s stage.
The number of Robe products has steadily clocked up over the years. Another major purchase came in 2011 when they invested in 100 x LEDWash 600s, which quickly became a workhorse unit, and all of which are still in daily use. As soon as the updated LEDWash 600+ and then the LEDWash 600X were released, more ‘600’ series were acquired. They also have over 60 x LEDWash 800s.
“They’ve been widely adopted for many reasons,” reflects Andrzej, “mainly for their light weight and the soft, even output which is perfect for TV.” He adds that the colour mixing is “beautiful” and enables multiple moods to be created.
“They can even be used like a fresnel and are ideal for so many different tasks, like filling backgrounds and illuminating sets, not just for effects,” adds Miro.
Over 60 x Pointes joined the stock in 2015, then 100 x LEDBeam 150s and 100 MegaPointes were added over the next few years.
The ESPRITES were chosen after a lot of research, discussion and shoot outs, and are used for key lighting on most of the newer shows being produced out of Warsaw.
“The output is powerful and even, and no replacement bulbs are needed,” Miro noted, adding that if they require a different type of LED engine, these could be swapped out thanks to Robe’s ground-breaking TE (TRANSFERABLE ENGINE) technology, which allows different or replacement LED engines to be fitted to the fixture.
“This really enables products to retain their value over time,” stated Miro, “and that genuine longevity and Robe’s commitment to long term strategic planning is super important to an organisation like TVP. The hardware can carry on for several years as the light source can be replaced, and this is something unique to Robe right now!”
They have had the ESPRITES in use regularly for 2 years and have not had a single issue. “It’s testament to their robustness and build quality,” commented Andrzej.
Both Miro and Andrzej also note how the MegaPointe is a firm favourite fixture for both, and another that gets used constantly due to its versatility. “It is a fantastic light to have in the toolbox,” affirmed Miro, adding that it is also essential to have a good relationship with the local distributor, and to get the service and support needed for a slick, fast-paced broadcast environment.
Looking ahead, they see Robe’s fast expanding iSeries of IP rated products – which mimic almost exactly the size, weight, output, and appearance of their non-IP rated equivalents – as another Robe technical coup. “The adaptability of being able to mix the two types of fixtures is unique to Robe,” says Miro, “and Robe is at the cutting edge of this concept.”
The IP rated products are of great interest as TVP produces and delivers a lot of OB work, much of it during the Polish winter with weather conditions that can be as extreme and intense as it gets!
Photo by Louise Stickland.