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G-LEC Vision helps make a stage drama out of a financial crisis

On 15 September 2008, capitalism came to a grinding halt. As sub-prime mortgages and toxic securities continued to dominate the headlines, in spring 2009, London’s National Theatre asked David Hare to write an urgent and immediate work that sought to find out what had happened and why. Helping to illustrate his story was G-LEC Phantom 30. A 17m by 3m tall screen flown in and out using four chain hoists showed video, original computer graphics, green screen images, text and still photographs.

Al Parkinson, the production manager for The Power of Yes, explains: “We knew that we wanted to make this show look as high tech as possible and while we’d used projection before, we’d never used LED screens. We used the internet to research a number of companies’ products and then invited them to demonstrate them.

“During the show, some of the time, the screens were above the performers, while at other times, they were at stage level. We wanted to make effective use of the transparency of the G-LEC frames, with the idea that sometimes you’d be able to see what was going on behind the screens and other times, you wouldn’t – the presence of an image on the LEDs defined whether or not you’d be able to see through it.

“We have a limited budget compared to TV, so one of the deciding factors for us was that the G-LEC came in significantly cheaper than competitors, who weren’t even close in price. We were impressed with what we got for our money. We were also impressed with the product’s lightness and ease of assembly.

Folsom Image Pro was used to convert the signal from Catalyst to the panels and the production was programmed by Paul Kenah and Emily Harding on a Wholehog desk.

“Never having used this type of technology before made us think laterally about how to get the images on to the screen. Once we’d overcome that challenge, everything was perfect. This is the first time the National Theatre has used G-LEC and we’d definitely use it again.”

Photos by Catherine Ashmore Back to overview