When 300 guests sat down at a gala dinner at Australia House to celebrate Australia Day on 22nd January, they could little have anticipated the production awaiting them.
Although the Exhibition Room inside the landmark building — situated on the corner of London’s Aldwych and The Strand — has been immortalised by Harry Potter (the opulent room took on the role of Gringotts Bank and has also featured in many other movies), production company Eclipse Presentations had other surprises in store.
Down the staircase in the basement Eclipse had created an Outback theme (with some inspired props and an Outback Station pub) for pre-drinks and after dinner disco (the DJ operating from a purpose-constructed ‘Outback’ hut), while in the main auditorium the company had deployed a 12 x 5 Christie MicroTiles media display, supplied by dry hire specialists Paragon Projection.
Eclipse has handled the Australia Day event for the past eight years, during which time the company has seen technology evolve exponentially. Last year, Eclipse truss-suspended plasma screens, but according to project manager Bradley Hill, having been hugely impressed with the MicroTiles demo they attended, the company had been looking for a suitable event to use it for the first time. “This provided the perfect opportunity — and we are delighted that both Paragon’s Mark Davies and Christie’s technician Ciaran Browne have offered on-site support,” said Hill.
The MicroTiles landscape canvas was mounted on aluminium ground-support truss. It also formed a highly practical and elegant solution as, without the low-profile, the giant ceiling-suspended chandelier would have intruded on sightlines (the Australian flag could also be shown as PIPs within the display). In fact, with such a grandiose interior (totally devoid of hanging points) the entire technical infrastructure needed to be ground supported.
The MicroTiles display was fed from a digital processor which took playback inputs from DVD and PowerPoint as well as a wired and Camwave wireless cameras.
Conceived eight years ago, the event itself is designed to celebrate Australians within the British community — and Eclipse took on production duties from the outset after being approached by event co-ordinator Judy Cooper during a function at the Natural History Museum.
The production value of the digital screen was matched by an industry reference d&b PA rig and combination of generic and LED moving head lighting.