Italy – Italy’s Laugh-Out-Loud funny LOL Talent Show returned for more belly tickles this spring with audiences entertained by comedians who performed in theatres in Milan, Naples, and Rome. On stage, an eight-metre-high backdrop displayed pixel dot imagery, with LED strip ‘LOL’ lettering all driven by a Green Hippo Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 from tvONE.

The upstage screen in designer Francesco Mari’s colourful set was created entirely from RGB programmable light chains – pixel dots – with a 20cm pitch, which was customized by E-Kube Srl with help of Modena-based real-time LED expert DigiLight. This created a ‘curtain’ that acted as a background ‘matrix’ screen. The three wooden LOL letters were rigged with Philips iColorFlex LEDs, covered with opal plastic cabochons. The outline of the letters was illuminated by a programmable RGBW LED strip, while the letter ‘O’ acted as the entrance for the competitors.

In front of the stage, the judges’ platform was surrounded with RGBW programmable Flex Neon and the front of their table featured 1×8 50×50 2.5 pixel pitch LED modules. “On the judges’ table, levers triggered the Boreal+ MK2 to send a colour to the corresponding letter, according to their decision,” says Maxim Nikiforov from DigiLight. “The almost total absence of LED screens meant that our lighting system was at the centre of the scene and had significant importance. It was necessary to create visual effects for the show entirely within Hippotizer, programming in real time using generators and the management of visual content in based on the judges’ lever presses.”

The system involved the use of two Art-Net and Kinet protocols simultaneously. The team received signals from the levers to trigger the effects, which they achieved via software that converted the signal into OSC, which in turn was fed into the Boreal+ MK2. In total there were around 400 universes to manage.

“We needed to find a practical and reliable solution for this tour, and this was possible thanks to the Boreal+ MK2, which contained all our needs in a single machine!”

With no pre-made content and no live camera broadcast, all the graphic contents driven by Hippotizer were created by Nikiforov to the needs of the director Alessio Pollacci and the requests of the lighting designer Marco Lucarelli.

“I mainly used the Effect Generators by combining them with the many effects within Hippotizer,” explains Nikiforov. “I added some generators via FX Tool and used Multicontroller to set the input OSC. Another very important feature that I used a lot were masks, which proved to be a fantastic tool and very useful in managing content such as LED strips.”

For control, Nikiforov used the Hoglet4 console, noting that he didn’t need many DMX channels because of high-level recall of presets created in the Boreal+ MK2.

“Considering I was creating unique effects in real time, managing Art-Net and Kinet simultaneously, having to use many layers, and receiving impulses from the levers, the features of Hippotizer allowed me to completely customize my workflow, using the machine entirely for the management of programmable pixels.

“Customizable generators, effects and above all compatibility with TouchDesigner makes Hippotizer my favourite solution. You can do literally everything!”

DigiLight was commissioned for the production by the main supplier E-Kube Srl for technical engineering, project supervision and solution for the broadcasting of the programmable LED lighting system with various light elements proposed and created with the help of Cinzia Giordano of E-Kube.

Nikiforov provided technical engineering of the programmable LED lighting system – scenoluminoso – and served as lighting operator and project supervisor for the show. Marco Lucarelli was director of photography and lighting designer. The show was directed by Alessio Pollacci and the client was Amazon Prime.

Credit: © Maxim Nikiforov | DigiLight