Hoak Media’s KVLY Station Installs Litepanels

Litepanels 1x1 floods illuminate the television station KVLY in Fargo with the right tungsten – heat-free end energy-saving

The energy-saving features of the LED lighting equipment from movie and broadcast pioneers Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand, are well known. But Hoak Media’s KVLY television station, based in Fargo, North Dakota, have recently found that changing their studio lighting to Litepanels has brought a host of other benefits in addition to the energy savings dividends.

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One of these is dependability. “With our old tungsten lights, every time we turned them on it was an adventure,” said station Operations Manager Jeff Petrik. “It would be five minutes before the newscast, one of our camera operators would turn on studio lighting and we would have bulbs that needed replacing.” Not only did these replacement bulbs cost the station a great deal of money, the maintenance also distracted the crew from final preparations for their challenging newscast production. Sometimes Petrik would get a call from the newsroom wondering why an anchor was not sitting in their normal position on the set. The answer was usually that a light had blown and there was no time to fix it.

Dependable and long-lasting

Litepanels LED lighting fixtures can be expected to last over 10 years in normal operation, offering unrivalled dependability. “Since we got Litepanels, we’ve had no problems,” said Petrik, “when you turn the lights on, they’re there.” Steve Mulkey of Redwood Media Group, the lighting designer/integrator who managed the installation of Litepanels at KVLY, amplified that thought. “It’s hard to put a monetary value on it, but broadcast operations people know what that costs, just in aggravation and distraction. With conventional lights, it’s not just the high maintenance cost of repetitive lamp changes – the cost could be a heck-of-a-lot more than that if somebody is distracted and misses one of the other tasks that they should be doing at the station.

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From old school to state-of-the-art lighting equipment

Petrik describes the station’s pre-Litepanels lighting equipment as strictly old school. “Before, we had tungsten lighting with no dimming whatsoever and, in addition to wasting a lot of energy and generating a lot of heat, we had to position them 2½ to 3 feet closer to our talent than what we have now.” Petrik’s crew previously had no choice but to run the lights at full power, reducing light intensity when necessary by adding scrims and diffusion, which limited where the lights could be placed. Using Litepanels 1x1 fixtures, which feature an array of LED bulbs on a one foot by one foot (30cm x 30cm) square panel, the fixtures could be positioned further back and much higher, and then dimmed to exactly the intensity required for great modeled lighting on the talent. As an example, not one of the Spot or SuperSpot Litepanels fixtures used as backlights are run at more than 50 percent intensity.

The ability to set the lighting and rely on it to be perfect day to day has become more important to stations like Petrik’s. “A lot of local stations in smaller markets are losing expertise, so I want a system where we turn the lights on and they make great pictures.”

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Heat-free LED technology

In addition to the considerable annual savings on energy to light the studios and the reduced requirement for air conditioning thanks to the new fixtures beeing heat-free, Litepanels has provided a complete lighting solution that has significantly streamlined Fargo’s KVLY studio newscast production.

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