CPL (Central Presentations Limited), working for producers Eclipse Communications, provided a full technical production package – video, lighting and sound – to the 2017 SEMTA Awards event staged in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London.
The Senior Skills Council for Science, Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies (SEMTA) is a not-for-profit organization specializing in engineering training in the UK. Its high profile annual Awards event recognizes excellence within their various nationwide apprenticeship schemes.
The CPL team was led by Lee Gruszeckyj. It was the fourth consecutive year for CPL in this role, and as the success and visibility of the event has advanced each year, so has the commitment to increasing the production values. It was the second time the Awards has been staged at this venue where awards in nine categories were presented.
This year’s host was English comedian, actor, television presenter and singer, Alexander Armstrong, known as one half of comedy duo Armstrong & Miller and host of popular BBC TV game show, Pointless.
Projection was a key element of the 2017 production, and the 14 metre wide by 3 metre high set – the biggest screen to date for this event – was the main surface, receiving a 3 projector blend from 14K Panasonic machines.
Behind the screen was a star cloth wrap for a flourish of glamour and glitz.
Each of the awards and the nominees had a VT intro. For the event, these were edited versions of a series of longer video mini-movie pieces that Eclipse had shot while travelling up and down the country in the preceding weeks.
With a get-in, rehearsals and show on the same day, time was of the essence and CPL made the most of the new Panasonic Auto Adjustment Upgrade Kit which lines all the machines up using a software plug-in.
The three projectors (in this case) were accessed via a network connection and lined-up using a digital SLR which takes an image of the positioning that is then adjusted on a laptop. All the basic parameters like colour, white balance, black levels, etc. can be calibrated … a task that can be achieved in around 15 minutes … saving literally hours compared to the manual / physical option of doing it!
A Barco S3 system was used for screen management, switching and for creating all the PiPs, etc. The playback video intros were programmed on a d3 pro media server, chosen for its ability to render out the 6000 pixel resolution of the content.
Two cameras were an integral part of the package, one Sony HXC-100 was fixed at the back of the room covering the audience and stage and a Sony FS7, fitted with a Teradek wireless kit, at the stage end to do all the winner pick-ups.
An assortment of PowerPoint presentations were also fed into the S3 and output to screen by operator Phil Manson.
Lighting was designed to be flexible and multi-functional, with 12 x Claypaky Mythos hybrid moving lights rigged on three house trusses in the ceiling, together with six a.leda K1-s fitted with B-Eye lenses which did the bulk of the effects lighting, with the B-Eyes providing stage, audience and set washes at different times.
These were joined by ETC ColorSource LED profiles and ARRI L5-C LED fresnels plus two hazers for atmosphere, all controlled from an Avolites Quartz console and a playback wing, operated by Iain Wood
A d&b audio sound system was installed, comprising four V-SUBS ground stacked per side with three Y8 speakers on top, which worked in conjunction with four Y7P point-source delays towards the back of the large space. E8s were used for front fill and foldback, all powered by the new d&b D20 amps.
The console was a Yamaha QL1 mixed by Jamie Kendall.
The timescale was the obvious challenge – in and out in a day and being ready for afternoon rehearsals – takes some precision planning, but they were lucky enough to be able to schedule a pre-rig the night before, so all the points, stage, etc. were in the right places and everything was ready to roll when the main get-in started at 7 a.m.
Lee worked with a crew of 7 including specialist camera operators from CPL, alongside six local crew and two set carpenters who all worked hard and efficiently together.
“We enjoyed working with the Eclipse again. It’s great to see an event like this growing year-on-year, with SEMTA re-investing in the technical production and other elements to ensure it’s an enjoyable and memorable day for all their guests,” commented Lee.
Photo courtesy of SEMTA