Chatsworth, USA (20 January 2021) – Since November 2020, the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, has become the main communication stage for president-elect Joe Biden. Using the space as a combination press briefing room, conference room, and TV studio, the NEP Group installed ROE Visual Sapphire LED panels to display the background visuals.
The Queen itself, dating from 1789, was constructed as a hotel. Concerted to a movie theater in 1959, the building closed for five decades. In 2008 fundraising started to turn the building into a performing arts venue and fundraising began.
The design team noted the project was a combination of historic preservation and "adaptive reuse" renovation. Much of the space's interior blends new construction with aged, weathered looks, some of it left over from the building's historical framework.
The stage is wrapped in a scenic exposed brick backdrop, typically dramatically lit to showcase the texture and rich colors for this project. Camille Connolly designed the Biden stage components while working closely with fabricator Blackwalnut and an all-union crew built the scenery. Declan Quinn, Director of Photography, was also heavily involved in the project.
Following the tradition of combining old with new, the stage also has three large seamless LED walls installed on the stage — with one large one in the center and two smaller ones flanking this.
NEP Group member Creative Technology provided the ROE Visual Sapphire 1.5mm LED panels and cloud services to power the video feeds. The project was an extremely tight turnaround and had to be realized within three weeks. The LED wall technology makes it possible to use the space for various purposes, the primary wall often serving as a "step and repeat" style background behind media events and speeches.
When used for a single, straight-on shot, the LED walls often display repeating logos or text related to what's been discussed — and carefully placed on either side of the speaker's head when framed on camera. Most of the designs also "skip" placing any text or key imagery in the very center to avoid having the speaker's head cover anything.
However, the LED walls go well beyond being just simple backdrops. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the space has been the physical "home base" of virtual events. The LED walls are often leveraged to insert video feeds that Biden and vice president elect-Kamala Harris can face and interact with. Small, locked-down cameras can be placed on the stage to achieve the "cross-talk" look similar to that used on TV debate and discussion shows. This allows the team to capture single shots of the people physically on stage with minimal visual interference.
The fact that the entire space is reconfigurable is a big plus. The LED walls can be moved in several ways to create a variety of possible setups. The theater, originally designed as an event space, has now turned more into a TV studio set design but is adaptable to any required configuration.
The Sapphire LED screens make a fast reconfiguration possible since the fine pitch LED panels can be built separately from the supporting frames.
This article is an adaption of its original source: https://www.newscaststudio.com/2021/01/15/biden-transition-queen-theater/