In conceiving the studio setting for Channel Nine’s Under Investigation with Liz Hayes, the show’s Supervising Producer, Gareth Harvey, wanted a unique, realistic and “immersive” environment and for that he chose Epson EB-1755UNL and EB-L1505UHNL projectors.
Harvey explained, “I wanted both an ‘organic’ feel to the set-background and also an immersive environment for the panel discussion. I didn’t want the ‘video’ look of a green screen set and originally thought of using LED panel-wall. I then did a test shoot using projectors and immediately decided they provided the ‘look’ I was after. Discussing with the company that provided the test projector, they spoke very highly of the top-end Epson projectors – so we made contact with Epson Australia. I also wanted the studio monitor and screen to have the same look and so also decided on rear-projection for that element too.”
Harvey’s primary requirement for Under Investigation was to have projectors powerful enough to illuminate a large studio without the projected image being washed out by the studio lighting.
He added, “It was also critical to have ultra-short throw projectors, so that the projectors could be close to the studio backdrop and allow the set and cameras as much space as possible without interfering with the projector beam.”
In total Under Investigation uses two EB-1755UNL projectors fitted with ELPLX02 ultra-short throw lenses for the backdrop and an EB-L1505UHNL projector fitted with an ELPLU03 short throw lens, for the rear projection screen. The results, according to Harvey, are nothing short of spectacular.
He continued, “I am frankly amazed by the performance of the Epson projectors, in the size of image that could be projected versus the very short distance from the studio wall. This allowed us complete freedom of movement and we could easily set props in front of the projectors. The image was also intense enough to be unaffected by studio lighting.”
It isn’t just Harvey who was impressed with the Epson projectors as he explained, “Everyone, including the audience and television executives, is very impressed by the whole studio ‘look’ created by the Epson projectors. There were many comments that this sort of projection hadn’t been used in a show like Under Investigation before and that it really helped immerse the audience in the topic being discussed. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and true to form after our first series aired, there were a number of copycat programmes and advertisements using the same projectors as we had.”
On Under Investigation the production uses the Epson projectors as the set background and on the rear-projection, to feed pre-recorded video to the studio discussion. They “stitch” two 16:9 images together to form a panorama backdrop in the studio and this helps create what Harvey calls, “their unique look.”
Gareth Harvey concluded, “I have been extraordinarily pleased with the results we’ve achieved and with the technical support from Epson, in particular their projector guru Gehan Perera. We have, by all accounts, achieved a distinctive and unique look for the show. It literally looks like no other news program on television – and that is almost entirely due to the Epson EB-1755UNL and projectors EB-L1505UHNL and our projector look.”