SFL On Tour for Senbla Film Season

Audiovisual production supplier SFL provided a custom-built 10m wide projection screen and stage monitoring for Senbla’s latest film season – starting in September with Star Wars and finishing in December with Love Actually – which sees iconic films screened in HD in prestigious venues around the UK, with live orchestras performing the films’ scores.

“We supplied a 20m truss screen and our brand new 10m wide custom-built AV Stumpfl screen,” says SFL’s video and projects director, Craig Lawrence, who worked on the project alongside the company’s Sungho Jeong, Sam Wheeler, Paul Medley, Chris Gunner-Lucas, Adam Chisnall, Jack Roberts.

“The screen was built especially for these tours at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is specific to film. Projection was done using our Barco UDX and HDX projectors. We also provided onstage monitoring for the conductors and players so they could see visual click along with timecode. Audio click track was also fed from our servers to the conductor and a number of the musicians. Playback was run from our new Watchout servers, which are ideal for the job, along with multi-track audio via Focusrite 18i20 preamps.”

Having worked on the tour for the past four years, SFL is adept at mitigating the inherent challenges of touring a full-size screen that is necessary to ensure audiences get the full cinematic experience.

“We need to have enough options to adapt to the different requirements of each venue, whilst keeping the amount of kit we transport to a minimum, which is important both from a cost and environmental impact viewpoint,” Lawrence continues. “Sightlines at each venue are also a big consideration; we work closely with the audio supplier and take in-house points, etc, into account to achieve the optimum position for the screen, whilst ensuring audio gets its fair share of real estate. We also need to be able to cope with short turnarounds on both load in and load out – for example, we had a double show day in London with a reduced load in time, which meant absolute efficiency was essential.”

“I have looked after the last two tours of Love Actually for Senbla and it is always a pleasure working with SFL and particularly Sam and Paul,” says Senbla tour manager Steve Porter, who together with production manager Cyril Thomas, was in charge of the season. “I was very happy when it was confirmed that they were on the tour this year.

“From the advancing all the way through, they are professional and thorough, ensuring that once on the road there are no issues, but any that do arise they are professional and quick to problem-solve rather than think of anything as too big an issue. The equipment is well maintained and prepped, there have been no failures and it certainly is well maintained on the road which as a production manager is all you want.

“SFL are a great company to work with and Sam and Paul are great ambassadors for them… I look forward to next year!”