Daktronics Inc. provided Sound Associates Inc. with 172 square feet (16 square meters) of ProTour modular LED. The 64 panels made their Broadway debut as the dynamic backdrop for "Ring of Fire," which opened March 12 and is currently playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.
"What the LED video system enables us to do is to make changes," says Tim Mazur, director of special projects for Sound Associates Inc., who is supplying the video display for the Broadway production. "This system is essentially a virtually-painted flat that can move. The LED panels can even angle to look more like a room. It gave the production a huge amount of freedom to try new ideas, whereas when using older technology, the cost to make changes to a set was astronomical."
Sound Associates selected the ProTour system due to its cool-running, lightweight, low-noise panels, ideal for entertainment applications.
"Conventional display systems were very, very heavy and produced a lot of heat which required noisy cooling fans," says Richard Maltby, Jr., "Ring of Fire"s creator and director. "Daktronics developed a system that takes the heat-generating parts out and that solved the problem of noise, heat and weight right there." The eight millimeter LED panels are configured into two display sections on the stage, which together are five panels high by 12 panels wide, or approximately eight feet high by 19.5 feet wide. The sections were fitted to a mobile base to coordinate easily with each scene. With its ability to depict everything from the wide-open spaces of the heartland of America to the intimacy of a rural living room, ProTour technology magically complements the artistic vision of the production.
"The LED video panels are dazzling and at the same time, completely supportive of the production. I think its a totally successful innovation in the theater," says Maltby. "The industry professionals have been blown away with this LED system because its so easy. You dont have to fly scenery in or out."
Sound Associates Mazur commented, "LED is such fabulous technology that it has to be in the theatrical market; it absolutely needs to be on stage. We hope that as LED technology becomes more prevalent, we will be able to introduce it to many other markets, including theatrical events, fashion shows and large one-off shows."