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TG 1 Rai Studios
Rai, Saxa Rubra studios - Rome
Director of photography Fausto Carboni
Scenographers Flaminia Suri and Carlo Cane


The Saxa Rubra complex in Rome is RAI’s most important television production centre.

TV, radio and newspapers all combine within the production village, where the Italian state broadcaster transmits from four TV and five news studios. Here are located the RAI Uno, RAI Due, and RAI Tre stations, and their associated news programmes (TG1, TG2, and TG3).

However, the flagship programme for news and information is TG1. Twelve editions a day go out on the airwaves, while the studio also has to cater for a wide range of current affairs, including politics, culture and religion, with the capacity to stage live audience events.

Since their studio sets have a life-span of just three years, RAI’s in-house scenographers Flaminia Suri and Carlo Cane are constantly looking for new ideas, along with TG1’s Director of Photography (and senior Lighting Designer) Fausto Carboni. Having updated the cameras to digital, the design team deliberated how they could create greater studio versatility, using a highly-saturated lighting backdrop in which a low-energy landscape could instantly be transformed via DMX. Their quest led them to the product range of Coemar.

Mr. Carboni was aware that the transfer to a LED solution would represent a giant leap for an institutionalised, public service broadcaster — but he could see real advantages in the long lamp-life and low maintenance of lamp sources that would produce no studio noise and require no cooling.

RAI’s DP reviewed a number of alternatives and conducted comparative tests. But he was well aware of Coemar’s pedigree and a visit to the company’s HQ in Castelgoffredo confirmed that their large portfolio of LED products contained all the instruments he required.

Thus the decision was taken to mix LED spots such as Coemar ParLite LED’s with studio standard halogen generics.

The original TG1 Mattina studio, with a fully-redundant lighting system, was first to be upgraded; at the same time, two former studios (the TV7 weekly news room and an adjacent studio used for special events) were being merged into a single vast oviform space.

The deadline for completion was the Italian presidential elections in April this year, when a live studio audience would be present. Thanks to Coemar LED lighting it has been transformed into one of the most dynamic presentation studios anywhere in Europe.

At the same time, the creative team of Suri, Cane and Carboni wanted to maintain continuity throughtout the smaller TG1 satellite studios; this ranges from the diffused colour blocks mounted behind the plexiglass fascias to the Coemar PCB10 RGBs which up- and downlight a skeletal, geometric sphere representing the world in several of the studios. Hundreds of tiny floor-and ceiling-recessed Coemar PCB3 3200K LED’s, have also been distributed among the studios to provide a discreet warm white solution.

Interestingly Carboni has combined old and new linear Coemar technology — juxtaposing the classic 300W halogen Ribalta with the new blue LED Coemar StripLites, fitted with diffusers behind the screens. These 3W LED battens, with 30° beam angle and 100,000 hours of flicker-free lamp life, back wash the displays and are perfect for the TV studio environment; this provides a striking counterpoint with the studios’ high-definition PDP plasma video and monitor walls.

The completely-restyled TG1 represents the cutting edge of Coemar’s LED technology and allows them to make full use of the multiple sets.

In this environment Coemar have again provided a mixture of ParLite LEDs, StripLites, Ribaltas, Coemar PCB3 and Coemar PCB12.

The switch to LED has proved an immediate success for RAI in terms of both power consumption and creative set changing.

Giorgio Radice commented, “Mr. Carboni had an exac