As “Wheel of Fortune” begins shooting its 37th season, the popular game show has been replacing its ageing lights with LED fixtures requiring less power, generating less heat and needing little maintenance. Joining the show’s upgraded rig are Ayrton Khamsin compact LED profiles provided by Sony Set Lighting.
“LEDs have finally caught up to where they’re able to replace a 1200 W arc source,” says Lighting Director and Programmer William McLachlan. “I’ve used Ayrton fixtures on other shows; they’re building interesting lights that are becoming mainline workhorse fixtures.”
Through McLachlan’s long-time relationship with ACT Lighting, the exclusive distributor of Ayrton fixtures in North America, he learned about the new Khamsins. “We wanted to expand the show’s plot with moving key lights, and Khamsin had just come out. They had all the features, the output and the quality of light that we needed. So ACT lent us some Khamsins for a shoot out, and we actually shot some shows with them.”
The Khamsins “definitely stood out,” he reports, so he recommended them to DP and Lighting Designer Jeff Engel, and Khamsins soon joined a group of 85 moving lights on the pipe grid over the 150 x 250-foot stage.
“That’s a big footprint to cover; we needed lights that would be usable from 90 feet away, and Khamsin’s output put them over the top,” says McLachlan. “They serve as moving key lights that save us lots of time as shots are set up, they fill the need for shutters required for a portion of the plot, and they paint the scenery with pattern, texture, softness, tone and color.” The program’s puzzle board and wheel remain the same show to show but the rest of the set changes to offer viewers an array of different looks.
McLachlan didn’t hesitate to recommend the new-to-market Khamsins due to his past history with ACT Lighting. “They choose to represent quality equipment and support it as if they were the manufacturer,” he says. “ACT is better than anybody in the business at treating and supporting equipment as if it were their own products.”
The Khamsins went live with the new season of “Wheel of Fortune” that began shooting in July. “We’ve done our first two taping cycles, and the Khamsins are working great and looking fantastic,” McLachlan reports.
Brian McElroy is the gaffer for “Wheel of Fortune.”