XL Video On The Fringe in Edinburgh

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XL Video supplied equipment across 25 Venues and supported 41 innovative shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival, the world’s largest arts festival and a vibrant, international showcase for incisive new writing, directing and performing talent.

The project was co-ordinated by XL’s Ed Cooper and a team of four. The overall XL package included 24 hour on-site technical service and support from technicians Mark Eisen and Owen Evans, and equipment wise, amounted to double the amount of kit that XL supplied to the 2011 Fringe.

XL was again a main sponsor of the Pleasance Theatre, right at the core of the action throughout the month long Festival period incorporating all its associated venues, and also for high profile comedy producers, Just For Laughs.

Video equipment was also supplied for a number of specific acts and productions staged at other venues including the Assembly Theatre, the Underbelly and the Gilded Balloon.

Says Cooper, “It is always an exciting challenge to be involved in the Edinburgh Festival and get embroiled in all the energy and excitement of so much emerging new theatre and performance”.

The majority of the video systems supplied consisted of compact, quiet projectors from XL’s vast stock of Panasonic and Sanyo machines, which are ideal for most venues typical of the festival. Other systems also included cameras and LCD screens to cater for each individual set up.

For illusionist and mind-reader Doug Segal’s ‘How To Read Minds and Influence People’ show at the Gilded Balloon Dining Room, XL supplied a central projection screen upstage relaying Doug’s own graphics, which were integral for various “persuasion” techniques via Keynote, with the new addition to the show of a handheld camera to relay IMAG for more intricate tricks.

Both sources ran through a Folsom Image Pro, to enable easy switching for the local technical operators at all times.

For the acclaimed and highly original ‘After The Rainfall’ by Curious Directive, XL supplied specialist vertical projection onto the stage floor of the Pleasance King Dome venue. Video played a vital part in the show’s fragmented, non-linear narrative.

In the buzzing and constantly busy Pleasance Courtyard, the XL team created two sites used for large format building projections.

One was purely decorative, onto the distinctive corner turret of the Courtyard. The content, produced by Pleasance’s Theo Davies, was pixel-mapped to the building using a custom mesh created in the Catalyst media server also storing all the footage. The projection was achieved via two overlaid Christie Roadster 20K high powered machines.

The other site was a walkway corridor linking the two elements of the Pleasance Courtyard, which provided a great opportunity for broadcasting information. The impressively large image was created using a single Christie Roadster, with content stored on a Mac and played back via QLab software. This was chosen so the Pleasance could easily edit the material with up-to-the-minute information about shows and events happening daily, whilst still retaining the decorative content.

The main challenge of Edinburgh this year for XL was in the logistics and the detailed pre-planning required explains Cooper - discovering the exact requirements of each act and theatre company, assessing the levels of assistance they needed and ensuring that the correct equipment was deployed in the right places at the right times.

“Paying great attention to this in advance enabled us to work smoothly and efficiently on site,” Cooper explains, concluding, “It was another fantastic Edinburgh Fringe Festival and great to collaborate closely with Pleasance Production Managers Matt Britten and Simon Streeting”.

XL Video’s specialist theatre and arts division continues to be exceptionally busy working on a diverse range of projects worldwide.

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