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Large Absen delivery for South Africa

The start of 2023 saw another large Absen shipment arrive at DWR Distribution in South Africa, a welcome sign that the live events industry is on the road to recovery. The gear was ordered by various technical supply companies across the country and consisted of over two thousand PL2.9 Lite panels and a combination of over a hundred PL3.9W Lite and PL3.9W XL Lite panels.

Housed in a protective casing, the curved PL2.9 Lite screens with lock system, ideally suited for large display applications, were purchased by DNG Presentation Staging, The AV Company, Shattered Glass, Ultra Events, Lucidity Technical Production Services, Pure Event Gear and CCPP Group. In turn, AJR and MGG purchased a combination of PL3.9W Lite and PL3.9W XL Lite panels, well fitted for large outdoor and indoor events that deliver a brightness of 4 000 nits.

Ordering new gear is always exciting but as per the large Absen shipment that was delivered during the last quarter of last year , also consisting of over 2 000 PL2.9 Lite panels, the idea was for customers to buy jointly in bulk to reduce the costs and to be part of a network with access to extra panels if needed. DNG Presentation Staging recognized the growing need to add more LED to their stock but wanted a product with a higher resolution compared to their existing 3.9mm panels. “We chose the Absen panels because of our trust in DWR,” said Neale Harvey of DNGPS. “While we have been very happy with the LED brand we currently use, we were guided by two main factors. Point one, we wanted local support and DWR has always been fantastic in this regard. Both Dylan Jones and Bruce Riley are instrumental in the support structure and deep understanding of LED related challenges. Point two is around the availability of more panels in the market from the same batch. The ability to cross‐hire and support other companies that also stock the same panels is meaningful.”

For Cape Town‐based Ultra Events, it’s all about creating memorable solutions for their client and improving their service offering. “We currently have 3.9mm while the market has been requesting a 2.9mm solution,” said Costa Champanis from Ultra Events.

“Coming together with other rental houses and creating a consolidated order of the same LED batch was a critical factor in the decision and then finally having the DWR support and backup sealed the deal.” The new investment equates to 100 square meters of video screen and enables Ultra to offer large format, high‐ resolution video solutions combined with video processors, servers and controllers for a variety of creative splicing solutions to provide customers with more options for their stage designs. Costa adds that the innovative curve connection block system is certainly an appealing feature.

Adriano Landi of Shattered Glass says the company’s existing LED 3.5mm indoor panels had come to the end of their lives and it was time to upgrade. “We had a good look at the market and realized that Absen always makes good quality products,” he comments. “To purchase a batch from a larger batch and from a great local supplier like DWR, was a no‐brainer. The product ticked all our boxes, the cost was good, and we knew that the local support would ensure that we achieved a good return on our investment. In South Africa the demand for quality indoor LED is high, and although there is already a lot of LED in the marketplace, we believe this segment will grow even further in the future.”

Pierre Griffioen from Pure Event Gear shares the view. “My main reason for buying is because DWR is backing the panels and to me, it’s the only route to go. There are so many panels available to cross‐rent from, and the quality and backup are good. I have done a couple of jobs with the units and so far have only received compliments. The panels are easy to set up and I like the new covers protecting the screens. If Absen was distributed by another distributer, I’m sure I would not have gone the LED route; DWR played a big role in my decision. You can’t not have LED these days. Because I’m not doing sound anymore, I wanted to replace it with something else and LED was an easy choice for me. While it’s early days, we are creating a new market for ourselves. It’s a bit of a challenge but I think by the second half of the year, we should have good momentum with our screens”.

Meanwhile, Paul Newman from Lucidity had contemplated buying LED for some time but wanted to make sure that there was a regular demand from his clientele. “We recently had a couple of big projects lined up that made it easy for us to make the investment and we went with Absen for several reasons,” Paul explains. “Firstly, the brand and products are strong and one needs reliability and dependability when selecting and investing in equipment. Secondly, I wanted a product relevant to the current marketplace in terms of pixel pitch, and although there are currently a lot of PL2.9 panels around, there is now a minimum standard for pixel pitch and clarity. Lastly, I wanted the comfort of great backup and support, and DWR certainly has a fantastic support structure in place.” He adds that while projection is still relevant, LED has pushed its way to the forefront in terms of what clients are now primarily requesting.

For the father and son team, Craig and Keagan Browning from the AV Company in Durban, constant failures and issues with their existing 2.9mm panels, of which they own over 300 panels, drove them to their new purchase. “After working with the Absen screens and comparing their quality, it was a no‐brainer to change over and it was the best decision we ever made!” they agree. “We bought the units to increase our stock quantity and to be part of the dealer network who own the same batch and which will allow us to do a large variety of shows with the same panels. When it comes to LED and especially the smaller 2.9mm units, we need the best backup and service around as the LED panels are fragile. As everyone knows there is no better service company in the country than DWR and that’s the biggest reason we invested in Absen.”

AJR’s Altus Janse van Rensburg wanted a LED panel that was multi‐purpose for both indoor and outdoor events and selected the PL3.9W and PL3.9 W XL to cater for a wider variety of clients. ”Our shows have become more dependent on larger quantities of LED and the panels we bought have opened doors for current and future business,” said Altus. “It’s a great workhorse and we hope it will be an investment that will have the same longevity as our previous LED.”


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