Lighting Design Group Lights Vikings Studio with Chauvet

Photo: Dak Dillon

The Minnesota Vikings studio at Twin Cities Optical Performance Center features four distinct video-shooting areas, designed by Peter Provost of Provost Studio, and illuminated by Lighting Design Group’s Mike Grabowski.

The colourful lighting system features close to 100 Chauvet Professional Ovation and COLORdash fixtures.

Beyond its breathtaking appearance, the studio offers maximum flexibility for broadcasting during the football season and throughout the year. An example of this can be seen its main section, which has a cutting-edge acoustic wall that rises to open to a 170-seat theatre for live audience programs.

With its ability to create a rainbow of realistic colours and change them quickly, the Lighting Design Group’s system supports the TCO studio’s combination of beautiful aesthetics and responsive versatility. “This was a really neat project to be a part of, not just for its great looks, but also for its functionality,” said Mike. “It’s the first fully fleshed-out studio that the Vikings have had, and one of only a handful of such facilities in the entire league.

“From an aesthetic standpoint, this studio is sleek, cutting edge and powerfully branded without being over the top,” continued Mike. “Bryan Harper, the Viking’s Vice President of Content and Production, Jordan Struck, VEN Producer, and the production designer Peter Provost deserve a lot of credit for making something very special happen. I think this sets a gold standard for the league.”

There are four distinct shooting sections in the TCO studio. The primary area is devoted to the anchor desk for potential sportscasts, game day halftime reports and post-game programming. (This area also converts to a live audience broadcast studio when the acoustic barrier is raised.) A second area with comfortable leather chairs is used for in-depth sit-down interviews, while a third edgier-looking section hosts social media podcasts and a fourth serves as the space for standup reports.

Mike positioned 75 Ovation E-910FC LED ellipsoidal fixtures with a mixture of 19°, 26°, 36° and 50° lenses throughout the studio. The RGBA-Lime fixtures serve as key lights as well as colour washes in the four shooting areas, where they are hung from center-set positions.  Additionally, the Ovation units work as front stage lights when the acoustic wall opens and the main studio is used for live broadcasts.

“Being able to flip the colour from the Ovations to anything we need is hugely helpful, especially given the emphasis on versatility at this studio,” said Mike. “Another invaluable feature was the ability of the Ovation fixtures to project very crisp gobos. This is a sports studio, so we needed to project team logos – and of course they had to be flawless. Aside from delivering this level of perfection, the Ovations allow our clients to preview gobos before they purchase anything. On several occasions, we printed the gobos on acetate so we could get the sizing and art exactly right… and then we sent it off to be built in glass after we knew we had EXACTLY what everyone loved. That was a real client-pleaser!”

For added colour accents, Mike positioned 20 Chauvet Professional COLORdash Accent Quad fixtures throughout the four shooting areas. Aside from adding extra colour, these fixtures are used as eye candy in some backdrops, always with an emphasis on displaying accurate colours.

“Along with the quality and evenness of the light, colour rendition is of the utmost importance here,” said Mike. “The Minnesota Vikings logo colours are instantly identifiable, and they must be accurate. We even built two versions of a lot of the colours—one for the naked eye, when tours are being given, and another for the broadcast.  It’s all part of the versatility that’s been designed into this studio.”