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Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales

Having recently published a unique retelling of the classic children’s story The Pied Piper of Hamelin, star comedian Russell Brand came to the Royal Albert Hall to perform a live theatrical reading of the book, supported by a considerable orchestra and the book’s esteemed illustrator and political satirist, Chris Riddell.

Royal Albert Hall AV partner, SFL, were really excited to be involved in this project; working with event production and creative consultancy agency NP+Co. It was immediately clear to SFL from the initial production design meeting that this was going to be a challenging project, bringing together a wide range of creative elements to provide a technical solution that would fit with the budgets, the venue and the time constraints.

SFL’s Video & Projects Director, Craig Lawrence, headed up this project and worked with the creative teams to design and deliver the solution. It was decided that there would be a massive 20m wide curved backdrop to the stage, providing a canvas for the all-important video content.

SFL utilised their extensive stock of Barco HDX-W20 Flex projectors to flood the surface with 80,000 lumens of light output. The projection solution was a 2-way blend, controlled from Barco Encore which was operated by SFL’s Craig Lawrence. The projectionists had their work cut out to line up the blend with live double stack onto a curved screen in less that 1.5 hours. They used a bespoke wireless control system to enable several crew to work on the same Barco Projector Toolset workspace simultaneously, configuring the individual stacks via 2 laptops.

The content displayed on the surface comprised of camera PIPs which were provided via SFL’s HD PPU system and Sony HDC-1500 camera channels. They also used a pair of Toshiba IK-HD3 Mini cameras to capture the live artist illustrations and display Chris Riddell’s work.

SFL also used their new Dual Mac Pro rack to provide the full 3450 x 1080 resolution backdrops. These videos and stills were output from QLab. The last part of the puzzle was running live video animations keyed over the top of the illustrations that Chris was drawing. These live video effects added another dimension to the incredible illustrations that Chris was putting together. This was operated by live VJ JK Green.

The end result was a fantastic canvas of video content which helped engage the audience and played a pivotal part in this telling of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

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