XL Video is supplying the multi-screen projection, playback, and video hardware for the acclaimed production of Sinatra that opened at the London Palladium last week.
Theatre and arts expert Malcolm Mellows is handling the project for XL. XL is working with video designers Scharff & Weisberg, who initially designed the system for the New York production at Radio City Music Hall.
Video is central to the show, which has Sinatra singing his hits on stage via large-format projection screens. Video for the show is divided into three main display device types.
There are 70 tiles of Barco I-6 LEDs making up two downstage moving slabs of video, while upstage 3630 clusters of Barco MiPix are organized in custom fibre optic star effect frames. All LED is supplied complete with Barco D320 processing; and custom remote diagnostics. Projections also come from eight Digital Projection 18,000 ANSI Lumen Lightning 30 SX machines. Three of these are utilized for upstage (20’ wide) and downstage (50’ wide) rear projections, two are front projecting, rigged each side of the circle, and three are positioned in the followspot booth at the back of the upper circle. These five FOH projectors cover three moving FP screens in a mixture of Portrait and landscape formats.
All projectors and LED are fed via an extensive fibre optic cable and serial network which was supplied and installed in the Palladium by XL, giving full diagnostics and remote serial control of the devices.
Playback runs throughout 95% of the show. It includes rare and unseen footage of Sinatra, putting him center stage and larger than life. He performs with a highly talented company of singers and dancers and a 24-piece live orchestra.
Video source material is all stored on 10 dual output Hippotizer HD media servers. The cues are executed via a full MA Lighting grandMA lighting console, receiving and locking to incoming MIDI timecode from the audio department. Simultaneously, this interprets numerical information from the automation department, pinpointing screen positions so that the video is projected to millimetre accuracy as screens rise, fall, and glide from side to side. An additional effect is that video can be displayed only on the exposed area of any screen making for an elegant reveal/conceal at each use.
XL Video commissioned Digital Antics to write special housekeeping software allowing remote access to the system, as well as projector operation and shutter control and automated switching of a 16x16 DVI matrix. This sophisticated control system includes an emergency touchscreen front end to allow instant manual selection of sources, (including cameras), projection override, and utilization of all back up devices if necessary.
XL has also supplied Catalyst DL1 moving projector fixtures to project onto a series of four umbrellas during “Pennies From Heaven.”
At front-of-house, is a manually operated long lensed Sony DXC 50 Digital camera for live relay during specific scenes, and there are also a number of hidden cameras secreted around the stage, allowing the live superimposition of actors onto the Sinatra footage. Again all cameras are inputted and processed by the Hippotizer Media Servers.
The show, including cameras, is operated by house technicians Damian Ridge, Adrian Gummer, and Duncan Mclean. The video cues were programmed by Sean Cagney and John Ackerman for Sharff-Weisberg and Tellson James. Three installation crew were supplied by XL Video up to the first preview–Gerry Correy, Paul Barry and Sandro Bruni. The show’s production manager is Richard Buillimore who also worked with XL Video on Woman In White.
Mellows comments, “We have had to provide both designers Scharff-Weisberg and our end clients Act Productions representing the Sinatra Estate with a solid and reliable system. Although the show has opened, we’re expected to be able to make changes and hone cues when required. It is certainly one of the more complicated design specifications we’ve interpreted and put into practice, but extremely worthwhile and exiting from an AV angle. It’s definitely one for the ‘video anorak’!”