Lighting Systems for TV Studios provides a wealth of information concerning not only lighting but general studio requirements such as cyclorama cloths, control areas and resource allocation. The book includes all the latest technical information and covers issues such as distributed dimming, Ethernet and the Advanced Control Network. It is the first book written specifically on the subject and is set to become the ‘standard’ resource work for the sector.
The title’s concept is to consider different lighting requirements such as dimmers, luminaires, networks, suspension, control desks and electrical systems. It then looks at various situations, related to specific studio size and operational requirements. Projects ranging from a simple single-camera school or college studio through to a large national broadcasting studio are discussed and explained.
A number of examples of designs are included, together with explanatory drawings and photographs of installations and products. The aim is to simplify an often complex design process into smaller and more easily understandable elements.
To provide further assistance, the author has produced specifications for major items of equipment and these are available from the publisher’s web site to purchasers of the book. Preparation of individual project specifications can be made by using this unique facility.
Lighting Systems for TV Studios strips away the jargon and delivers understandable subject areas along with explanatory photographs and diagrams.
Technology is moving so fast that existing users, beginners, consultants, architects and specifiers will all find something of interest. Readers will also benefit from the continuous update service provided by the publishers on the etnow.com website.
Asking me to review this book is a bit like asking Charlie Dimmock’s opinion on Hydroelectric just because she has a winning way with water. So I’m in at the deep end …
Nick has written a dauntingly large book at 500 pages, but then he has covered a very large subject quite comprehensively. Wisely, he sets out what he does not cover, which is how to light a production. However, by the end of Chapter 9, he claims that the reader should feel comfortable in designing a Lighting System for a TV Studio !. The summary that he then gives is absolutely vital and some people may well prefer to read this Chapter first as it asks many questions about the project that one is assumed to be in hand. This is a fair assumption,
as I suspect that this book will only be read by those who want to get the best out of a Studio, or to revamp it or design it as part of an existing complex. This is not the sort of book to read on Boxing Day after the mince pies, although it is certainly entertaining and it is written with a jaunty style and it contains some 270 photographs and diagrams.
As Lighting Designers, any one of us may be called to co-light a production chosen for televising, and on this level it would be relatively easy to get on the wavelength of the TV Lighting Director. However, as per its title, this book is about TV Studios, where all Lighting tends to be done by the specialists, many of whom have worked their way up through the Camera Departments. It is the nuts, bolts, technical earths, and pantographs of the factories of make-believe that Nick Mobsby chiefly addresses, although equippers of theatres would be advised to read the section on networking. I have never seen the DMX/Ethernet and Advanced Control Network interpreted so readably and accurately.
Other areas that may impinge on sweet old theatre, include Transistor Dimming and Fluorescent Soft Lights, DMX controlled. Some of the Safety Issues are common to both cultures. Bits of all our futures are in the book.
Jim Laws, FOCUS magazine
Nick Mobsby is a well practised and experienced engineer in matters of TV lighting and related issues, having been involved in the business since the mid-70s. This is a hefty book, detailing all aspects of TV lighting likely to be encountered by any practitioner, and judging by its list of sources, it can be pretty much considered an authority on the subject. Whilst mainly concerned with the engineering techniques and practicalities of equipping and operating a studio lighting system, the book's strong historical perspective provides a useful context for current practices. The first half of the book also gives a history on the invention and progress of television in the early years, as well as an explanation of how cameras and light interact.
The reader is then taken through the process of designing the studio, looking at the requirements of the empty space and the equipment needed. Moving on from this stage, there follows a detailed chapter on planning the installation, starting with the principles of lighting and the art of lighting a space and people for camera, before investigating the required infrastructure (fixtures, power supplies, data and so on). Being studio-based, there is a good coverage of suspension systems such as grids, trusses and pantographs, as well as dimming systems, their types, characteristics and requirements.
No such book would be complete without good coverage of the electrical requirements, and there is plenty of well-written explanation on aspects such as diversity, phasing. earthing and also related areas such as house, working and emergency lights. Finally, there are two chapters looking at lighting control systems and data networking: including the latest trends in Ethernet-based control.
The book is copiously illustrated and also contains suitable equipment tender specifications for various items of equipment, and is recommended for anyone involved in lighting installations, not only for TV.
Lighting and Sound International magazine, Nov 2002