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VER-Live Stands Up To Cancer
UK - The eye catching set design for the recent StandUpToCancer live TV show, composed of innovatively positioned LED video screens, was creatively imagined by production designer, Julian Healy, teamed with content designer, Luke Halls, and the unfailing assistance and support of VER-Live’s Adrian Offord and Pat Dore.
The show was staged in Methodist Central Hall Westminster, a beautifully ornate building with elaborate arches and a wrap-around seating arrangement. Healy explains the brief was not so much about the visual elements, rather, “anything we did had to not jar too much with the venue. But I wanted the set to be technologically advanced and quite modern, so that was one of the key difficulties from the start.”
The biggest technical difficulty was that the time-honoured venue – though providing a perfect gala style atmosphere for the audience – had very limited weight loading capabilities and as Healy states, was ‘a very difficult venue to put scenery in to’.
The complex scenery logistics lead the design discussions but Healy and Halls quickly decided that the all-important ‘totaliser moments’, where the money raised thus far is revealed – would involve the audience who completely surrounded the set. Each audience member holding a tablet screen aloft would provide one pixel square of the screen upon which the totals raised would be displayed.
With that decision made, the full set design lead on as a continuation as Healy describes. “That is why VER-Live got involved very early, because in order to achieve what I wanted, I needed a lot of LED product and a lot of screens,” he said.
Healy continued: “I wanted to break away from just squares and do something a little bit different, so instead of one big screen I wanted to create an explosion of several fragmented screens. To change them from square I decided to tip them on their edges to become diamonds, and forward so the top overhung the bottom to create a rather imposing set.”
Healy went on to point out: “This would have been difficult to achieve even in a film studio – but it created a technical nightmare in this venue.”
With no capacity to fly any of the video product from the venue’s roof house points, Healy and VER-Live, alongside Dave Morrell from DLM Rigging, commenced many weeks of planning meetings and drawings that were necessary to create a suitable ground support system for the complex arrangement of screens that would work within the weight constraints of the building.
Healy concedes: “VER-Live were pivotal to this design working. The combined knowledge and know-how of Adrian and Pat – and their commitment to the successful execution of any project they embark on is the reason I work with them on the television shows I design.”
The set comprised a robust BO 6mm LED screen floor presentation area. The focal point of the show was the central screen and the exploded and fragmented surrounding panels were designed to look as if they were floating, so as to prevent the look jarring against the venue’s traditional setting.
Initially the central screen was designed with 5mm tiles, but difficulties rigging the product tilted on both axes provoked a change to the same 9mm Win Vision Air tiles which were to be used for the surrounding screens. Not only were the LED tiles easier to rig – they were much lighter in weight which considerably eased the strain on the venue.
Behind the audience seating area, the exploded design was continued in Martin LC 40mm LED tiles and the smaller platforms were clad in X-15mm LED screen.
VER-Live’s Adrian Offord commented: “It was a great pleasure to work on such an iconic show with Julian Healy. One of the main challenges was getting a suitable screen to fit within the weight restraint of the building without reducing Julian’s vision – and the carbon fibre base 9mm Air proved to be the perfect product.”
25th November 2014
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