Uniquely positioned in the heart of Production Park, Europe’s leading live events production destination, and renowned for its specialist degrees, professional short courses and bespoke training for the creative and live events industries, Backstage Academy is a university like no other. A recent collaboration with leading LED processor manufacturer, Brompton Technology, means Backstage was able to deliver an online masterclass to over 50 students to help them understand the importance of LED processing for video walls within live events and virtual production.
Founded in July 2009 by Adrian Brooks, the inventor of the world’s first lightweight aluminium trussing system, Backstage has earned a global reputation as a centre of excellence that attracts top teaching talent with real-world experience and offers some of the finest tech and equipment available, from state-of-the-art lighting and sound desks, LED video walls, to the latest media servers and software, that ensure students are immersed in the industry from day one.
“Brompton LED processing solutions have been making regular appearances at Backstage Academy and Production Park for some time now,” says Miles Marsden, industry partnerships director at Backstage Academy. “For a company to remain at the cutting edge of such a fast-moving sector is super impressive, so to give our students the opportunity to be included on that journey was a no brainer.”
The training consisted of a short company overview delivered by Brompton director of business development, Rob Fowler, followed by a sampler from the company’s full one-day training course on the Tessera system using the streaming rack delivered by Steve Harris, technical support specialist. Finally, Adam Callaway, technical solutions manager at Brompton, took the students through some of the work the company has been doing in virtual production. More than 50 second- and third-year students from Live Events Production degree, Live Visual Design & Production degree (LVD), and Live Event Design degree (LED-MA), as well as members of the XPLOR R&D team at Backstage joined the online session.
“Our objective for the masterclass was crystal clear – to act as a first step introduction to LED processing for those less familiar with the topic and the product range, and then to move on to the new Brompton Tessera software release and opportunities that it presents,” explains Phil Adlam, lecturer (Postgraduate Studies) at Backstage Academy.
Adlam further explains that the training was very informative and offered students a first-hand virtual experience of how LED screens and LED processing work together, and how using features in Tessera could help make various adjustments on the screen in real-time.
“What I found particularly helpful and positive were physical demonstrations by the Brompton team on how LED processing and LED screens interact with each other in real-time,” shares Kris, student at Backstage Academy. “The Virtual Stage section was exceptional, definitely one of the best online training experiences we’ve had!”
Chloe, another student at Backstage, shares similar views. “I am sure that many of my peers didn’t realise what Brompton Technology was really capable of delivering in terms of the exceptional colour control and comprehensive image manipulation, so the exposure to the technology that we received directly from the Brompton team was really powerful. The real-world scenarios, as always, are a compelling ‘watch and listen’.”
According to Marsden, it has been excellent to see the impact training sessions with industry partners such as Brompton have had in bolstering their students’ skill sets. “We’re extremely proud of the industry partnerships we’ve built at Backstage, working with some of the biggest names in the business,” he says. “The sessions and access to this kind of tech deliver unrivalled training opportunities. It arms our students with invaluable insights and the required skills, which puts them in the best stead for their eventual integration into the live events industry.”
With LED technology having the power to take live event experiences into the new realms of virtual production and extended reality, Marsden knows it is essential students understand technology, such as Brompton processing, that is leading the way in this exciting transition. Deepening relationships with such companies and offering their teams’ expertise to students is a key strategic objective of Backstage.
Whilst the pandemic has been hard on live events, Marsden sees the sector’s future as a really vibrant one, which will also become increasingly entrenched in the applied knowledge and use of crossover technologies. “We’ve seen a rising demand for graduates who can confidently move between the different conventions and practices of live and mediated events, and a greater need for skillsets to successfully navigate the post-COVID commercial landscape as the sector recovers. Industry partners who are experts in their fields, such as Brompton, will be key for our students as they embark on careers in the live events and creative industries,” Marsden says.
“Training is a huge part of our mission and our culture at Brompton,” concludes Fowler. “We have always seen it as a central part of the business as it has such a positive effect in terms of increasing customer satisfaction, reducing support overheads, and generating goodwill with the user base.
“Our training courses are provided free of charge whenever possible, as we are strong believers that it is one of the best ways to invest back into our business whilst also investing in the future of our industry. To have the opportunity to deliver this training to the second- and third-year students at the Backstage Academy was a privilege. We are real fans of what the team there has achieved and likewise hugely excited about their plans for the future.”