6 Mar 2024

INFiLED and Brompton bring Big LED to Theatre

UK touring musicals I Should Be So Lucky and Just For One Day have one thing in common – both utilise Brompton Technology LED processing and INFiLED displays provided by audio visual equipment rental company, Stage Sound Services (SSS). The combination delivers a noticeable difference in colour reproduction, especially at lower brightness levels. SSS worked with system designer and engineer, Dan Trenchard, and video designer, Andrzej Goulding, on both productions to deploy LED equipment to great effect on these highly successful shows.

Phil Hurley, SSS’s owner, notes that with 95 percent of their work being theatre specific, staying at the forefront of the latest technologies for the market is crucial.

“We’ve been supplying video for some of the biggest theatre shows for the last 10-15 years and knew we needed to find the right time to invest in LED technology; theatre is a fast, fluid market with many design requirements, but there are also budgetary constraints,” he says. “We first used LED with Brompton processors in 2021 on The Drifters Girl. From the conversations that followed with production engineers and designers, we knew that Brompton had established itself as an industry standard, as it offers high-end LED processing that allows theatre creatives to do what they need to do.”

As a result, at the end of 2023, SSS decided to purchase a number of 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors and Tessera XD data distribution units for I Should Be So Lucky. “We added more Brompton Tessera products for the Old Vic’s production of Just For One Day, a brand new musical based around the Live Aid story, which started at the end of January,” Hurley continues.

Trenchard, with over ten years experience in theatre, touring musicals, plays, opera, live events, and concert touring, including Coldplay’s latest world tour, is also no newcomer to Brompton LED processing. For I Should Be So Lucky he collaborated with Goulding to select both the equipment and supplier,as well as designing and installing the system.

With LED technology now becoming more cost effective and widely used in theatre, Trenchard feels SSS’s combination of INFiLED LED panels and Brompton Technology have been a game-changer. It allows them to offer LED not just for large West End shows, but for touring productions, allowing those that typically shy away from the technology due to cost and logistical considerations to benefit from its versatility.

He also emphasises the user-friendly nature of Brompton Tessera software, which provides clear visual data to show crews, even those not well-versed in LED technology.

“They appreciate Brompton software’s visual clarity, which makes it immediately obvious if there’s a cable fault, for example. Other systems I’ve used can conceal such information behind the user interface, leaving you with little insight beyond knowing there’s a fault. I feel the combination of SSS, Brompton Technology, and INFiLED have brought LED to theatre in a much bigger way than ever before,” he says.

Trenchard also highlights a distinct difference in Brompton LED processing’s colour reproduction, particularly when operating at lower intensities. “Running at full brightness is rarely necessary in theatre, and is often too much,” he notes, adding that screens typically run at no more than 80 percent of their maximum brightness.

“In the world of nuanced theatrical productions, where subtlety matters, particularly when creating texture and gradients, Brompton LED processing consistently delivers impeccable results,” he exclaims. “As soon as Andrzej puts his work up on the screen, it’s precisely how he expects it to look. Additionally, we can do things at very low light levels and have slow, extended fade times, avoiding issues like banding and colour shifts encountered with other LED processing brands.”

Another important factor is the support provided by Brompton’s technical team. “The quick and helpful responses we receive, whether via email or on-site visits, are vital in my line of work; rapid reactions and precision are paramount,” he states. “Having Brompton as a reliable partner significantly reduces stress levels and contributes to our success. I’m very happy to work with products that do exactly what they say on the tin.”

Reflecting on the unique challenges of the theatre market, Trenchard acknowledges the need for versatile solutions that balance diverse requirements within budgetary constraints. “We’re not in the realm of broadcasting, nor are we huge bands like Coldplay. We need a bit of everything, it has to be cost-effective, and we need it right now,” he jokes. “Understanding the capabilities of the products is truly important. This holds true for Andrzej as well. He invests significant time contemplating the outcome of his work, and when we step into the room, the ability to reproduce an image accurately on the screen is everything to him.”

With both shows deemed resounding successes, Hurley says that the feedback on Brompton LED processing has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The reaction is unanimous – everyone loves Brompton,” he concludes. “It’s definitely the way forward. We’re pleased with the support and reliability, and our team have been very grateful for the training Brompton’s provided. Having the manufacturer on hand to provide all this is a significant benefit.

“Theatre involves a dynamic range of LED usage. At low brightness, Brompton’s Tessera LED processors excel in dimming the visuals while maintaining the definition of the image overall. The finesse of the processor in controlling the panels in this way is truly remarkable.”


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