HOG Power Drives Later … With Jools Holland
Over the last 25 years, ’Later … With Jools Holland’ has become a veritable institution in British music television for its unique format and enigmatic host. High End Systems’ HOG consoles have become an institution in their own right on the program, controlling a wide variety of automated lighting and other production elements. Under the direction of LD Chris Rigby, Hog Full Boar 4 and Road Hog 4 consoles are used to control the moving light package, while an ETC Congo console handles conventional lighting in the studio.
With the show’s aggressive production schedule, four different Hog operators - Mark Ninnim, Russell Grubiak, David Bishop and Steve Kellaway - are employed for the show. Andy Clark operates the ETC Congo, and Vision Supervisors Daryl Bidewell and Rachel Donaldson round out the lighting team. The lighting production gear is all on hire from Aurora / VER Lighting, while Ninnim’s own Hog 4 and Full Boar 4 desks were supplied through AED.
Ninnim has used the full range of Hog desks throughout his seven years with LWJH, throughout his career moving through Hog 2 to the Hog 3 and ultimately to the new Hog 4 platform. For each production run, the studio is set up on week one and stays intact for the eight weeks of tapings. Ninnim explains, “Each week is always the same - we have a load-in day for the bands on a Monday, and we get copies of the tracks and stage plans for each band. As operators, we are generally left to get on and program the show, with very little input from Chris, as he knows we are aware what will be required generally. As LD, Chris will work with the Gaffer and sparks and set the main keys for each act. Later…With Jools is a very stylistic show, with the emphasis on the music and not on the lighting. We’re there to compliment and support and not be the focus. Therefore, generally, its one look per song, no flashing lights, no sharp gobos and minimal light hitting the floor. We also know that we can’t use certain colors during the show.”
In addition to a Full Boar 4 as the main desk and a RoadHog 4 as the active back-up, the show also employs two DP8000 processors, one live and one back-up with an extender on each DP. Ninnim elaborates on the show’s preference for the HOG platform: “The HOG truly is crucial to our operation. Each operator sets the desk up their own way and we just load our own show file in. I like the fact that everything is customizable on the desk, so four operators can configure the console in a way that works for them. I tend to color code all my lights, and then lay the lights out in my own groups for each stage. This makes programming each stage very fast and efficient. I really like using the Command Keys, as I have my haze machines on a couple of buttons. I’m also a big fan of comment macros, and use them to do quite a bit of releasing during the show and changing pages.”
Ninnim says that although some bands turn up with their own LD, Jools has a ‘house look’ and they must work around that. “Some LD’s might say, ‘can you do this song in red’ or ‘the singer prefers a strong back light’, and on those occasions we will work with the LD to keep them and the artist happy - but that’s as far as it goes. The LDs that come in are there to look after their client as much as we are. We also know many of the LDs that come in and we all get on really well; it’s good to see your mates on a job for a change!”