Meet ELP: The New Faces Helping WL Deliver Broadcasts Across the Globe

Earlier this year, WL announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with ELP. With over forty years’ industry experience, ELP has an unrivalled reputation for providing lighting technology and production management support to broadcasts and live events. Their work over the past few months alone includes BBC 1’s General Election coverage, BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, various commercials for ABF Pictures as well as the VE Day Celebrations which aired on BBC1 last Friday. With ELP now delivering these exciting projects as a division of WL, we thought we’d introduce some of the individuals who have joined our team and look at the knowledge and experience which they have brought to the company.






Meet: Darren Fletcher






Darren Fletcher – ELP Sales Director






After studying for a HND in Electrical Engineering, I immediately threw myself into the world of work and joined Playlight Hire in Manchester. Playlight was known for providing the “clever” dark art of lighting control (dimmers and consoles) to film and TV suppliers and this was an area that really interested me. We soon gained a reputation for providing all the latest technology to broadcasters such as BBC and ITV, which saw us introduce scrollers and the first wave of moving light technology. This would actually see me spend many years operating most of the early consoles on gameshows and big Saturday night LE shows such as Stars in Their Eyes. Playlight then formed a Film and TV division, which allowed me to gain even more experience working on film and drama sets, where I’d be given the glamorous titles of “Gaffer” and “Best Boy”. These were all important learning curves and I eventually became our main project manager for TV and Outside Broadcasts.






When Playlight ceased trading in 2002, its assets were purchased by ELP and HSL. I was asked to head up ELP’s Northern operation by founder Ronan Wilson as they were doing the same type of work as Playlight. I happily obliged and worked on a 50/50 basis of office and location work, consisting of small PSC shoots to filming the largest Cathedrals in the country. I even worked as Lighting Designer on the odd occasion, such as the ITV Gary Barlow Special from Camp Bastion. After a few years, I became Sales Director of ELP, managing some of their largest projects and events across the globe. I now find myself entering an exciting new chapter as we bring the ELP Broadcast Lighting brand into the WL family.  This amalgamation will allow ELP to draw on WL’s strength and knowledge in many other areas, not to mention their huge equipment inventory and expert staff, whilst ultimately ensuring that we offer our existing and new customers the very best service possible.






Meet: Robert ‘Sinbad’ Dunne






Robert ‘Sinbad’ Dunne – ELP Project Manager (Broadcast)






My interest in lighting actually started back in high school as it seemed much more preferable to be behind the stage as opposed to being stood on it! It was an interest that would continue to grow; to the point where I was working in local theatres and even studied a degree in Electronics. I maintained my interest in lighting throughout university where I first started hiring equipment from Playlight. I got to know the guys so well that I began working for them at weekends during my final year; which is where I gained my nickname Sinbad which has stuck throughout my professional life (this is a Brookside reference for those of you old enough to remember Michael Starke’s character!). I graduated in the summer of 1994 and was told there would be two weeks work for me if I wanted it. These two weeks turned into ten years and during that time, I went from van driver and stores sweeper to assisting on corporate jobs, operating lights at TV studios and working on many outside broadcasts; from church services to parliament openings to Eisteddfods. After Playlight ceased trading, I went freelance for a few years before eventually reuniting with some of the old team (including Darren) under ELP. Since then, I’ve continued to work on countless TV projects from single camera new bulletins to Papal visits, music festivals to Royal weddings and everything in between. I’m looking forward to now bringing all of my experience and expertise to WL and working with their team.






Meet: Matt Smith






Matt Smith – ELP Project Manager (Broadcast)






I actually had quite a unique

start to my career in the sense that I began it as a musician! In a somewhat

natural step, I found myself becoming a sound engineer in both studio and live

settings. This resulted in me getting a job at Playlight where the nature of

the role saw me develop a secondary interest in lighting; something which has

simply continued to grow over the years and particularly when the company was

taken over by ELP. What I love about my role is that it is all-encompassing. Whilst

my official title is Project Manager, when I’m working on a project, I can also

act as the technician, rigger – essentially whatever is needed. What I also

love is the huge variety of projects I get to work on; whether its studio

television programmes, live festivals or outside broadcasts. No two days are

ever the same! Whilst I’ve worked in the industry for over twenty years now, my

passion for delivering ambitious, innovative projects simply continues to grow

and I’m really excited to continue doing this with WL.




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