Growing company nominated for awards

The Oscars' backdrop that was supplied by South Yorkshire based company Pro Display.
The Oscars' backdrop that was supplied by South Yorkshire based company Pro Display.
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AN EXPANDING South Yorkshire company that supplied equipment for the Oscars is through to its own industry’s top awards.

Pro Display provided 36 screens for the backdrop at the glittering ceremony in Los Angeles. Its screens and glass have also been used at the London Stock Exchange, by Cirque de Soleil and on TV’s Watchdog, Grand Designs and CSI Miami.

The company, of Hoyland, near Barnsley, has been shortlisted in two categories in the AV Awards: manufacturer of the year and live event of the year for the Oscars display, where it is up against audio-visual giant Canon.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at London’s Park Lane Hilton on September 30th.

Pro Display director Paul Beswick said he was delighted at being in the final, in not one but two categories at the first time of entering.

The Oscars’ panels, which were each eight foot tall, were custom-made to allow images to be projected onto them in the centre of the arches on the main stage.

Pro Display also produced a special screen that could project a three-dimensional holographic style image of film legend Bob Hope.

The Oscars had been a fascinating, but tough, challenge said Paul. “The demands for this project were extremely high as there were so many moving parts and it all had to be customised. But we got very positive feedback and it looked great at the ceremony and on the TV. We were really pleased with how it went.”

Paul said the Oscars’ organisers came across Pro Display through their website, which is how most clients discovered them.

“We have spent the last seven years developing the product range and building up the client base. We really are leading the way with our screen and glass technology and feel now is the time to really push the company to the next level”, he said.

Pro Display, which was set up by Paul in 2004, manufactures audio-visual displays and intelligent smart glass, which can switch from being transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.

Around 80 per cent of Pro Display’s products are exported and the company is building up a client base across the world, with customers in 150 countries from Thailand and India to the US and Venezuela.

Among the contracts are one for £1.2m for LED advertising hoardings for the perimeter of football grounds in Saudi Arabia; a 100 inch front projection film which was recently installed on a huge glass display case in Europe’s largest dinosaur gallery in Belgium, and 150 interactive display screens that are specially coated to be readable in the sun, which are on their way to Greece.

Paul said the company was working with business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, which was helping them build new websites and giving advice on everything from health and safety to recruiting new staff.

“We have completed a lot of research and development up to now and that has put us at the forefront of this technology, but now we need to build the brand further,” said Paul.

The company is planning to expand into the home theatre market, with products including televisions that are mirrors when switched off and speakers that double as art work.

Pro Display is also looking at the rental market, with equipment available for one-off hire for events. A specialist glass division will also be launched in October and due to this expansion the company is looking for graphic designers, technicians and sales staff.

Tracey Johnson, creative and digital industries specialist for Enterprising Barnsley, said Pro Display was the kind of high-growth creative company they wanted to encourage in the borough.

“The creative and digital industries are vital to Barnsley. You might not immediately associate them with the town, but we have some amazing companies here”, she said.

The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential and has helped create over 500 jobs.