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Brompton Brings Forward-Thinking LED Video Processing Technology

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Earlier this year, Melbourne welcomed the inaugural Now or Never festival – a 16-day celebration of digital art and future thinking.

The festival used the Australian city as its stage to host a busy programme spanning art, film, music, panel discussions and food. Brompton Technology's Tessera LED processors powered customised video content at the Royal Exhibition Building, where performances explored the adventurous and diverse nature of digital creativity.

The historic 19th century Royal Exhibition Building is a World Heritage listed venue and was built as part of the international exhibition movement of the late 1800s. It was the stage for several events as part of Now or Never 2023, with Gig Control, a technical management company with expertise across Australia's live events, responsible for the entire design of the lighting, audio and visual elements.

On one of the festival days, the Royal Exhibition Building welcomed a rare gathering of some of the UK’s most prolific experimental electronic artists. This audio-visual sensory journey saw Greater Manchester duo Autechre, and techno producer Max Cooper perform in-front of hallucinatory shifting 3D visuals. Reliable LED processing was vital to ensure the show was an immersive spectacle.

Gig Control called upon full-service production rental company, Novatech Creative Event Technology, to look after the technical supply for five shows at the venue across four days of the festival. Events ranged from keynote talks and panel discussions to dance music parties, orchestral performances and 3D shows from leading electronic artists, meaning the scope of what needed to be achieved visually was extremely diverse.

"The venue's age means it was a very challenging environment," recalled Leko Novakovic, Managing Director at Novatech. "It has a wooden floor and very limited rigging from the wooden ceiling. With weight loading being an issue, the stage was designed around a central scaffold tower that had LED and lighting suspended from it."

The screen displayed a range of high-resolution customised video content from the performing artists. Novatech supplied a ROE Visual Vanish V8T screen, along with a Brompton 4K Tessera SX40 LED processor and two Tessera XD data distribution units. The set-up stayed in place but was slightly modified each day to suit the varying events.

"Knowing that Brompton offers redundant signal control was very comforting, and the screen configuration allowed us to test it as it was being built," Novakovic continued. "This meant that any modules that needed replacing could be done at ground level before it was raised to its 16-metre position above the stage. Additionally, being able to correct the brightness of the seams allowed for a much more polished look."

The Dark Magic feature, which is part of Brompton’s Tessera software toolsuite, allowed for subtle onscreen imagery without colour banding and greatly assisted in performances that required lower brightness.

"Dark Magic works by enhancing the quality of the image or video on LED panels when they are indoors and operating at low brightness," explained Novakovic. "It helped us to alleviate issues such as loss of delay and banding by processing the video signal up to 26 bits per channel."

Another valuable feature was OSCA (On-Screen Colour Adjustment), which empowered the team to quickly match panels regardless of the LED panel model or batch difference, resulting in a much more unified LED wall.

As part of Now or Never festival, five DJs transformed the venue into a pulsating dancefloor, bringing together music from all corners of the world. German house producer Âme provided an unpredictable live techno set, alongside UK electronic producer George Fitzgerald, Melbourne’s disco queen CC:DISCO!, the rhythmic Ayebatonye and one of Brisbane’s own, dameeeela.

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