E/T/C London Fires Up Sandhurst

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Large format projection specialists E/T/C London supplied seven 6kW PIGI projectors with double rotating scrollers to produce a spectacular 120 metre wide backdrop on The Old College building at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, for “Music On Fire” 2008.

It is the third time that E/T/C London has been involved in the biannual 3-day mixed-media extravaganza and “Firework Prom” which attracted audiences of up to 10,000 per night with proceeds going to the Army Benevolent Fund.

The PIGI scrollers contained 19 metres of film and produced over 100 looks on the building, with all artwork created by media designer Paul Chatfield.

Chatfield took approximately a month to research and compile the finished artwork, working closely with show producer, Major Sir Michael Parker.

Major Parker also storyboarded the show, which was accompanied by specially selected music and a narrative voice-over. The creative brief was relatively broad in terms of eras, dates and timescales, with much of it referenced to times when Britain was involved in specific wars and conflicts. Chatfield had access to the Imperial War Museum archives among other resources.

For one section, he photographed the stained glass windows of the Indian Chapel inside the Old College Building, which bear memorials to all the foreign troops who died for England up to the Second World War.

There was also a popular James Bond 007 sequence at the start of the second half of the show - Bond creator Ian Fleming was a Sandhurst graduate and 2008 is the centenary of his birth - for which Chatfield obtained permission from the Ian Fleming estate to use iconic imagery from the 007 movie posters.

All this provided a stunning, graphic and pictorial backdrop to the 2 hour performance featuring music from an amalgamation of different military orchestras and bands, plus special guests and eye-catching pyrotechnics from Pyro Vision.

A real challenge in creating the projection media was presented with the music being played live each night, so they had no guiding soundtrack for the ‘work in progress phase', just a script containing a series of cues. Estimating the duration that projection cues needed to last, etc., was extremely difficult in advance – and also had to be flexible and subject to organic variations in the nightly orchestral pace!

The 7 projectors were positioned 46 metres from the building, covered by Steeldeck hides, with special weatherproof covers.

The OnlyCue control system was programmed and operated by Andy Murrell, who worked alongside E/T/C's projection technician Adam Masters. They benefitted from pre-programming some of the projection show beforehand at E/T/C London's HQ, saving a night of programming in situ. Once the installation was complete, time was very tight on site to get lighting – designed by John Pope - and projection working together.

Lighting equipment was supplied by PRG and sound by Delta, Summit Steel supplied SmarTmasts for the PA, and the event was production managed by Fiona Nolan.

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