Located at One Market Plaza, CNBC’s San Francisco studios are well positioned to cover the tech leaders  Silicon Valley and other notable companies that are literally just down the street. Even more notable, from my perspective, is the studios’ spectacular view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

CNBC recently updated the daylight control system at its San Francisco studios to ensure it is making the most of this striking (and very recognizable!) backdrop throughout the day. I worked with John Chiala, technical manager for CNBC West Coast Bureaus, to get the installation just right. It helps when the person in charge, like John, has enough knowledge about lighting to make good decisions about a studio full of windows. For those who don’t already have that knowledge, I always hope they’ve hired a consultant who can fill in the gap.

The solution we put in at CNBC included three gels — a neutral density (ND) .3, an ND .6, and an ND 1.2 — to give the lighting team flexibility in getting the right look. With every .3, we’re bringing the light down by one f-stop, which equates to a 50% reduction in light. Using the system we installed, CNBC’s lighting team can choose any combination of .3, .6, and 1.2. They now have a really great range of options. As John put it, “We’re surrounded by windows, and it gives our studio operators much better control over the lighting.”

Here you can see John standing in front of the news desk with two different daylight control configurations.

CNBC Studios

The best way to evaluate whether or not you’ve gotten daylight control right is to light the set properly and view it on camera. Together, the human eye and brain can do a lot to make up for imperfect lighting conditions. But they don’t get the opportunity when a person is looking at video that has been produced on screen. That’s what broadcast tools like lighting, daylight control, white balancing, and shading are for: creating the ideal on-screen look.

I often have to tell customers, “Forget what it looks like to your eye! Turn on the camera.” The images they see on the monitor will look brilliant.

As you can see from these screen captures of the “Tech Check” morning and evening shows, CNBC has mastered its use of our daylight control solution.

If you want to be sure you’re handling daylight control in your studio — current or in the design phase — just get in touch! It’s a great feeling to see daylight control done right.

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