Show-stopping speed puts command of the stage in Luke Wylie’s pocket
Working as a theatre technician used to be a bit like Waiting for Godot. After initial bursts of energy as the sets went up, there were long periods of hanging around for occasional requests to fine-tune the sound here or tweak the lighting there.
Manufacturers of stage equipment make apps that allow mobile sound and lighting control. However, they need a fast and always-on network connection. That pretty much meant technicians still had to be in the theatre if they wanted to make adjustments in real time.
London-based freelance sound and lighting technician, Luke Wylie, explains: “Trying to run manufacturers’ apps remotely over a 3G connection just didn’t give me the speed and reliability I needed.”
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Luke was an early convert to 4GEE. He works mainly in venues around east London and Essex, including Barking Broadway Theatre, and is involved in productions from set design and rehearsals through to live performances.
Using his 4GEE-equipped smartphone, he can now hook up to sound and lighting control systems remotely and make tweaks just as if he were at the theatre.
“This is especially useful during the early stages of a production,” Luke explains, “when there can be a lot of dead time.”
The speedy 4GEE connection allows Luke to work remotely and means that the theatre can now speak to him on the phone, and he can make live changes on set there and then as they’re being discussed.
When this was attempted over 3G the process was too frustrating, with people hanging awkwardly on the line for several minutes waiting for every little adjustment to happen.
As well as using apps from suppliers, which are designed to work with specific in-theatre systems, 4GEE has enabled Luke to write his own app to offer remote control advantages even to theatres that don’t have well-supported, big-name systems. He can use the app, for example, if he wants to power up or adjust a microphone, rather than hiring an assistant to operate a single button.
4GEE has transformed Luke’s productivity. Since he’s not tied to any particular theatre, he can now manage technical production set-up for two or more clients at the same time.