Graymatter Video supports more than 220 events at The Great British Drive In

Graymatter Video supports more than 220 events at The Great British Drive In

Video control solutions specialist partners with the festival of film, great food and live entertainment at Sandon Hall

British Drive In (TGBDI) at stately home, Sandon Hall. Starting at the beginning of July, TGBDI ran every day until the latest lockdown in November. TGBDI was started by two friends, Coalition Event Services and Funicular Productions Founder, Craig Wilkinson, and tech event specialist, Ed Myhill, who brought in Graymatter and staging company, NoNonsense.

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“We always strive to create world-class experiences with film presentation being essential for our drive-in,” says Wilkinson. “Many other drive-ins use inflatable screens, but we didn’t want to compromise as we felt it was important to have best in class for our video production and our structure. This is why we chose to work with Graymatter. Their expertise is outstanding, and they helped us pull together a world-class team in iMAG and NoNonsense who are all wonderful to work with; they are creative and solution driven, with a fine pedigree of work that we were blessed to have onboard.”

Graymatter Video supports more than 220 events at The Great British Drive In

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Combining their decades of experience working on experiential events for world-renowned clients such as Facebook, Google, NFL, and Bacardi, long-term professional relationships with Sundance Film Festival and creating immersive theatre experiences such as The Murder Express, the team came together to transform one of Staffordshire’s most beautiful estates into a drive-in experience to entertain, educate and unite people in the midst of Covid-19.

“There were no sponsorship packages to start with and zero culture funding grants,” says Graymatter’s David Voyce. “It was just a bunch of industry professionals who had worked with each other through previous projects and had a vision to create something that was both appealing and sustainable.”

TGBDI can accommodate up to 180 cars per screening. Ensuring every member of the audience has a great view, Graymatter supplied a massive 100m2 ROE MC7-H 7mm LED screen from iMAG Displays and set up the entire technical ecosystem for seamless video control.

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“There’s a lot of infrastructure required, and this is where our experience came in,” adds Voyce. “We knew the Cinema would be popular and not just a short-term event, so the solution needed to be robust and yet easily serviceable in order to endure the rigours of being exposed to the elements for such a long time. We opted for a ground support with rear access to the screen across three levels, coupled with the excellent ROE Visual MC7-H and our custom rigging solution designed to securely mount the screen onto the ground support. This provided quick and simple replacement of LED modules to keep the screen in tip top condition for the entire duration.

TGBDI’s programme is diverse and includes anything from film, quiz nights and Q&As to live entertainment like comedy and music to food festivals. Focusing on quality of experience at a reasonable price, it offers a first-class visual experience as well as some of the best street food available, provided by Digbeth Dining Club.

“Drive-ins surged in popularity this summer, and whilst many opted for weekend-only work, TGBDI has been the gold standard by running throughout the week,” says Wilkinson. “So far, we’ve delivered over 220 events and accommodated over 12,000 cars.”

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Feedback has been truly outstanding, with over 35,000 visitors enjoying the opportunity to get out and enjoy themselves in an open, socially distanced environment from the safety of their vehicles.

“From the start, we wanted to use our accumulated knowledge of events and go above and beyond to keep visitors safe and entertained,” Wilkinson adds. “Without our customers, we’re just a giant screen in the middle of the field, so a Covid-friendly user experience was our number one priority.”

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Cash-free payments, online ordering, sanitizer stations spread across the site, as well as clear signage throughout, are some of the measures that were implemented to ensure a protected environment. Great comedians and musicians such as Marcus Brigstocke, Reginald D Hunter, Suzzi Ruffel and Rachel Paris all had the opportunity to take part in comedy and live music nights and the team even had actor, comedian and beatboxer Michael Winslow coming all the way from Hollywood for a live Q&A session at Sandon Hall.

“Being able to support the industry, the talented performers and of course our audience is a responsibility we feel obliged to continue for as long as we can,” Wilkinson concludes. “Having Graymatter on board, setting up the LED screen to taking care of all the video control tech, has been imperative in terms of delivering a high-quality visual experience. We’ve all been one team fighting through the crisis to deliver events during these strange times. We’re truly grateful for this experience and are all geared up to continue TGBDI and to deliver a great experience.”

Whilst TGBDI is currently closed, it is looking forward to returning as soon as restrictions are eased.

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