WorldStage Provides Behind-the-Scenes Lighting Support for Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Always a favorite of TV viewers, the 141st Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show took center stage at Madison Square Garden recently. But not all the action happened on the floor of the Garden. WorldStage provided lighting support to lighting designer Ben Carlson who was busy behind the scenes with the broadcast desk, the “Ready Ring” for dogs preparing to enter the arena, and a multitude of remote interviews.

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Carlson heads New York City-based Ben Carlson Lighting & Photography, LLC. He specified an all-LED rig for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which aired on Fox Sports 1 for the first time. The lighting designer was tasked with finding fixtures that matched the color temperature of the lighting on the floor of the Garden. He also had the challenge of lighting both the dogs and their handlers.

“You have to think two feet off the ground for the dogs and higher up for the people talking about them,” he laughs. “You have to shift your thinking to that point of view.” The all-LED package from WorldStage gave him “nice soft and even” illumination plus “the flexibility to move around – a lot of interviews are done on the fly based on the availability of a judge or a winning dog and its handler. You need to grab your gear and go.”

“We worked closely with Ben and his gaffer, Jason Rea, so they had everything they might need,” says WorldStage project manager Derek Abbott. “For a live broadcast event like the dog show interviews can pop up on short notice. There’s only one shot to get it right. So Ben needed lights that were lightweight and mobile, lights that could move easily from place to place.”

WorldStage introduced Carlson to the Cineo Matchstix, which he used in the stand-up interview area where the dogs have their stalls. The versatile 12-inch phosphor panel is an ideal choice for tight spaces, notes Abbott. “We bought Matchstix to be used as camera-mounted lights but have used them in a lot of different situations,” he says. “They’re excellent on a podium and in places where space is limited.”

Carlson quickly became a fan of the Cineo Matchstix. “It’s a really neat light that even has a little dimmer. It worked very nicely – we couldn’t have done what we did with any other fixture,” he reports.

Two battery-operated Litepanel Astra 1×1 Bi-Color LED panels also accompanied the hand-held cameras covering roaming hosts.

The dogs’ Ready Ring and the broadcast desk were fixed locations backstage.

Carlson likens the Ready Ring to a tunnel entrance for athletes. “The dogs got pumped up there before running onto the Garden floor,” he explains. “A lot of close up shots were done there.”

He lined the Ready Ring’s truss with 23 Chroma-Q Studio Force V 12 phosphors to light the dogs and their handlers. He also used two Chroma-Q Color Force 48 and nine Color Force 72 LED battens to uplight the black curtains and reinforce the club’s purple and gold palette.

Carlson selected five Litepanel Astra 1×1 Bi-Colors as people lights for the broadcast desk. “Having the Bi-Colors was super-important because the show cut back and forth from backstage to the arena and we needed to match,” Carlson says. “The Litepanels are punchy and bright, too.”

The lighting designer programmed and operated an ETC Gio console for lighting control. WorldStage supplied active and back up systems, which Abbott called “the perfect choice for an all-LED package like Ben’s.”

WorldStage also furnished Carlson with all of the control, power distribution and cable for the two-day show.

“WorldStage was full service, very easy to work with and so flexible trucking gear to the Garden,” says Carlson. “I used all the lights in the rig and will probably spec a similar package next year.”

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