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SFL makes the shoe fit for English National Ballet at the RAH
UK – Leading UK production company, SFL, has just completed the AV requirements for Christopher Wheeldon’s ambitious staging of Cinderella by the English National Ballet (ENB) and The Royal Albert Hall, staged at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, London.
“The project was 18 months in the planning,” explains SFL director, Craig Lawrence. “ENB’s technical director, George Thomson, was looking to stage a large-scale production, in-the-round. The production required many different changes of scene and the use of projection seemed the obvious answer. English National Ballet had never worked with projection on such a large scale before so turned to SFL to provide that experience.
In the early planning stages, SFL was appointed as technical provider, tasked with designing and installing the AV infrastructure, utilising content provided by projection designer Daniel Brodie which not only created incredible atmosphere, but the set itself.
The ambitious design involved multiple projection points, including the floor and sky wall at the rear of the stage and it became apparent that a detailed projection study was required. SFL devised the 3D modelling and collated the rig plans, also making amendments to incorporate the RAH’s newly installed audio system, which did not yet exist in the modelling software being used. SFL also took on project management of all of the AV elements of the show during this pre-production stage, liaising with lighting, video, audio and set/costume designers to ensure the smooth delivery of the plan across all the different technical elements.
A Barco projection system was selected, comprising a mixture of 32k and 40k UDX projectors, 16 in total, all flown from a rig. Eight 40k units managing the floor, with the remainder for the sky wall. SFL ran a Plexis fibre system, delivering HD feeds and remote access to all the projectors. This involved some long cable runs, one around 400m. Disguise 4x4 and 2x4 media servers were employed for playback.
“In the end, we devised a fairly straightforward system,” explains Sungho Jeong, SFL project manager. “We used multiple 10G networks to allow movement of the large amount content, and also installed another robust WiFi network to enable multiple editors on the floor to line up the media servers and projectors and manage the tight turn-arounds.”
“We really appreciate the expertise that SFL brought to the project, and the support they provided throughout. The team went above and beyond the brief, and rose to the challenge of coordinating sound, lighting and video, ensuring that the production no only worked seamlessly, on time and within budget, but was also a masterpiece artistically.” said George Thomson, technical director at the English National Ballet.
photos: Ian Gavan
4th July 2019
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