4 Oct 2022

Brompton Technology Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Walking down memory lane

Brompton Technology is celebrating 10 successful years in business, but the story of its revolutionary approach to LED video processing begins much earlier than 2012. According to CEO Richard Mead, it started while he was working with a team of designers, software developers and hardware engineers at Flying Pig Systems, now part of ETC-owned High End Systems, an innovative lighting control specialist and originator of the Wholehog lighting consoles.

After Flying Pig’s purchase, seven of its original members, including Mead, decided to form their own company, Carallon, at the start of 2004. “Essentially, we wanted the freedom to develop our own control systems for the entertainment industry,” explains Mead. “Inevitably, when you put a group of engineers together, they come up with a variety of ideas for products. We chose the ones we thought were best and created several spinoff companies from Carallon to take them forward. Brompton was the second of those spinoffs.”

At the time, the LED video industry was in a period of significant change. It had been dominated by big players like Barco who were providing LED video panels and proprietary processing as a package. Mead and the team saw an increasing number of decent quality LED panels being manufactured more cost-effectively in China, and they were attracting attention. But the one area where they fell short was the processing.

Mushang XR Stage_Shanghai

“The vision for Brompton from day one was to plug that gap and develop a processing system that could be paired with the panels coming out of Chinese factories,” continues Mead. Brompton’s first customer was VER, one of the world’s biggest AV rental companies, now part of the PRG Group, who essentially pre-ordered the entire first run of Brompton’s Tessera LED processors. By 2013, VER was using Brompton LED processing on the biggest live televised shows of the year, with the first really high-profile project being the Oscars.

From live events heroes to film/TV LED processing experts

The company grew steadily, remaining very focused on live events until 2018 when new applications in film and television production started to emerge, and the Brompton team saw they had a need for the same high-quality LED video processing the company had been providing for live events. “From the beginning, we’d always prioritised making LED screens look good to both the eye and the camera, so this new market was a natural fit for us,” explains Mead.

In 2019, well over 80 percent of Brompton’s business was still in live events. “But in 2020, because live events were so suppressed, we focussed on the area that was actually accelerated by the pandemic – virtual production and XR,” says Mead. “Despite live events coming to an almost complete halt, we were actually able to grow our business through the pandemic.”

SIX60. Photo by Matt Clode

Early adopters working with LED screens for film/TV did not always have a smooth ride. LED screens that were not designed with use on camera in mind sometimes turned out to be unsuitable, and the wrong LED solution or the wrong pairing of screen and camera would cause more problems than it solved. Even when working well, the LED screen was often a fixed point that every other department had to adapt to. But, despite those challenges, the technology’s many advantages mean the market for LED in virtual production has grown rapidly.

Brompton has responded with a wealth of tailored features, working hard to ensure LED screens became a collaborative partner in the creative process, rather than an obstacle to work around.  “This is an ongoing process of working with users to understand the pain points, then developing new features in our Tessera software, or integrating with complementary technologies to create more streamlined workflows for virtual production,” says Mead. “The leading practitioners recognise the solid foundation that Brompton processing gives them, in terms of ensuring colour accuracy, eliminating artefacts and rock-solid reliability.”

Capitalising on growth opportunities

With the return of live events, and virtual production still going strong, there is rapidly increasing demand for Brompton’s cutting-edge, robust, tour and virtual production-ready LED video processing products. To support these two core industry sectors, and to be able to apply the company’s LED processing technology to new markets, Brompton has secured a £5.1M growth capital investment from specialist private client alternative investments business, Connection Capital.

According to Mead, the investment will enable Brompton to capitalise on growth opportunities and deliver outstanding visual experiences to more and more people worldwide. “Whilst our focus on quality and dedication to customer service will remain the same, Connection Capital’s investment gives us the ability to scale up rapidly to meet demand and address the new opportunities that are presenting themselves,” he says.

As part of the company’s growth trajectory, Brompton has recently moved into a new UK HQ in South West London, which will feature dedicated demonstration and training areas, and allow customers to better experience the company’s latest offerings. The injection of funds will also facilitate further recruitment over the next six to 12 months.

As well as its base in London, the company has outposts in Shenzhen, Taipei and Los Angeles. Mead also reveals that it will open an office in mainland Europe in the near future.

“Our ultimate customers are the users doing live events or film and television production, and we have a team who are there to support them and work closely with them. But our processing needs to be integrated into LED panels, so we have another part of the business that works closely with our manufacturer partners who are integrating our Tessera receiver cards into their panels. This is a big focus for our offices in Shenzhen and Taipei, though they are increasingly supporting a lot of end users in Asia as well,” says Mead.

Richard Mead

10 years of success – what’s it like?

For Mead, the company’s success is multifaceted.

“The team take a lot of pride in the quality of the products, both in terms of the depth of features and their reliability. Everyone, from the engineers who develop the products and software to those that are out there selling and supporting it, are committed to delivering the absolute best. We are extremely proud of the quality of our support, which has been key to our success, originally in live events and now in film and television production. Brompton users can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week and know they have an expert on the other end of the line who understands what they need and can help them solve a problem – and sometimes we’re answering questions that aren’t actually to do with our products. We see support as an opportunity to build relationships with users and make sure they know we’ve got their back.”

Ed Sheeran’s ‘Mathematics’ tour. Photo by Ralph Larmann

From its beginnings 10 years ago, Brompton now has a 50-strong team and delivers product to over 100 countries.

“I am extremely proud that Brompton LED processing solutions are trusted on tours for some the world’s biggest artists, most recently Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour and Metallica’s The Return Of The European Summer Vacation tour; on film and TV productions such as Westworld, House of the Dragon, and Star Trek: Discovery; gaming tournaments like the latest League of Legends: Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) and the first Wild Rift Icons Global Championship; and in globally renowned virtual production and XR studios including Pixomondo (PXO), Big Picture Australia & NZ, Creative Technology (CT), AUX Media Group, Ark Ventures and Mushang XR Stage. There are too many projects to mention here, but we are grateful to all our partners and customers around the world for putting their trust in Brompton solutions.”

Global but true to its roots

The company’s global success does not mean its roots are forgotten. On the contrary, everything from the choice of name, designed to encapsulate a made in Britain, quality feel, and its continued manufacture in the UK, honour its heritage. “Our promise,” says Mead, “has, and always will be, to offer high quality products and service that our customers can rely on.”

SIX60. Photo by Matt Clode

Brompton is an excellent example of a successful business that cemented its name in the live events industry and then pivoted, almost overnight, into virtual production for film and TV. It is now emerging even stronger.

“We have a passionate and highly skilled team, a global network of partners and customers, industry-leading Tessera video processing technology, diversified revenue streams, soaring demand for our products, and ambitious plans. We are very excited about the future for Brompton Technology.”


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