Incorrect Information in Update #3

I know it’s been out for a few days now, but I’ve been stuck in the tudio all week and missed it. The information given in update #3 is not enntirely correct. Specifically, hardly any venues use sodium vapor lighitng anymore. In fact, if any kind of broadcasts are done from the venue, then there is absolutely no way this would be the lighting in the venue. A majority of venues now use Metal Halide discharge lights as their source, which has a color temperature more in the 5000Kelvin range, but, more importantly have a vastly superior color rendering index (CRI) of about 60-70 on average, versus about 20 for sodium lights.

Additionally, the fields at FIRST events typically are NOT light using the venues lighting alone, if at all. There is usually a supplemental lighting package provided by a production company, which ususally consists of either source four pars made by ETC ( ), or StarPar by altman. ( )

Thee lights are readily available from your local stage lighting comany for rental. The suggestion FIRST made of buying the halogen work light is a good one, but remember when you use it, that you need to turn off any other light sources in the room in order for it to be effective.

Hope this helps…

Jason Rudolph
Lighting Designer/Programmer

I don’t beleive that FIRST meant that the venues used sodium lighting, but that most high school gymnasiums do, which would be a standard place to test the robot.

I have to disagree with part of the post. Yes, many of the newer competition venues (e.g. the Siegel Center at the VCU/Richmond Regional), or those intended for broadcast environments (e.g. the Great Western Forum at the SoCal Regional) will have metal halide lighting. However, many of the older venues in which regional competitions are held were never intended to source broadcasts and still use sodium vapor and mercury vapor lighting (e.g. the Halsey Field House for the Chesapeake Regional and the Matthaei Field House for the Detroit Regional). In addition, many of the events - particularly the “low-cost regionals,” which will be more than half of the events this year - will not have any supplemental lighting, and the entire lighting environment will be determined by the house lights.

A quick initial survey of all the regional venues with FIRST makes me believe that the light levels and mean color temperatures from event to event will be all over the place. I will attempt to get more details on lighting environment for each of the competition venues from Steve Sargeant and provide that information. But the short, simple message to all the teams is “bump up the light levels in your test environment A LOT, and be prepared to pay a lot of attention to the calibration numbers provided by FIRST for each event.”


I know that the lights in the Purdue Armory (Boilermaker Regional) burn with a distinct golden-orange hue; however, there is also a lot of natural light in the daytime. I don’t know if this regional is “low-budget” or not but expect the lighting conditions to be all over the place here. Basically, be sure to calibrate your cameras on Thursday!

I think that this information is really going to be critical, as if the venue does use sodium lighting, without any supplemental lighting package, then those cameras are going to be VERY dificult to use, especially when discerning between yellow and red.

Mercury vapor isn’t too bad, but sodium lighting + cameras = bad stuff…

The bit of info all should glean from this discussion is that the lighting is going to vary in color temperature and intensity across the playing field. If supplemental lighting is brought in, it is likely to be color corrected but the house lights will still be on and affecting the overall color temperature. In any case it will not be possible to flat light the entire playing field. In addition, nationals will play in a venue where there is some daylight available and depending on weather and time of day, it will produce variables most regionals will not contend with. Expect there to be color differences that might affect the response of the camera. Do not be fooled by your own vision. Even those that are experienced in noting the subtle differences in color cannont predict what the camera sees as green or yellow.
Jason, do you always work out of NY and on TV production?

I actually work out of Miami, at the Network headquarters for Univision (largest spanish television netowrk in the world)
I am a lighting programmer/designer and also the head technician. I run the lights on Sabado Gigante (one of the longest running shows on television) and Don Francisco Presents. I also am involved with our special events, one of which I am currently prepping for, which is basically the Grammys for the spanish world, which will air live on february 24th.

All this and I don’t speak spanish, go figure…

Spanish, English, it’s all TV. I work for WTTW in Chicago as Broadcast Engineer. I do get a call every once in a while to repair the DeSisti battens or dimmer packs when they go bad.

I seem to have reembered there was a boradcast engineer roaming around on here somewhere, now I remember!