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Video Design Wears the Rose

Video Design Wears the Rose
Video Design Wears the Rose

UK – With the Rugby World Cup now well in train it’s opportune to reflect on a unique event at the O2 Arena, when, as a curtain raiser to the England campaign, sponsors O2 presented ‘Wear the Rose’. For 20,000 dedicated England supporters this was an evening to engage with the team, but with a twist. A slickly presented hundred-minute question and answer (Q&A) session between team members and compere Vernon Kay was interspersed with video clip highlights from the various players. This was then followed with a resounding 75 minute finale from Take That.

“This started with an approach from O2 for Take That to appear,” explains production manager Chris Vaughan. “Once the band had agreed it was a just a short step for their creative manager Kim Gavin to come on board and provide a framework for the whole evening. This was to be a great send off for the team.”

For the key visual aspect of the event Vaughan engaged the services of Video Design, “They had already done a superb job for us on the Take That tour earlier in the year, but Wear the Rose had other, more unfamiliar aspects. If nothing else, this had to be carried off with all the slickness of a high quality TV presentation. As it turned the event was so good this could easily have gone straight to broadcast.”

Alex Leinster of Video Design explained the two handed demands of such a show. “An evolving presentation, creating that mix of large scale pop concert with sporting personalities in the spot light was a really exciting challenge. Equipment wise, on first examination it looks quite simple. Video Design provided a very large upstage centre 9mm LED screen, plus two landscape video projection screens flanking the stage for IMAG. We also provided long linear sections of LED that formed the cross of St George beyond the confines of our LED screen and way out to the projection screens. Part of Gavin’s design, the extended dimension of the Cross brought a sense of inclusion to the most distant seats.”

“The Q&A section was peppered with VT highlights from previous matches often used to illustrate specific points. The timing here was critical. With a six camera HD package from us, Matt Askem, Take That’s regular camera director, managed both this and the concert section. His timing is acute and the VT and IMAG combination employed for the Q&A’s sessions with the players was absolutely spot on.”

Askem attributed this success to the skills of the Video Design team: “Each England player arrived to a live orchestral accompaniment of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir,” he explained. “Coordinated by Kim Gavin, we looked at how the team members would come up on stage from their seats in the audience, something that needed to be completed in ten seconds accompanied by a VT short clip. In the end that proved reasonably easy, but the actual Q&A session was more intense. With 31 players on stage, and a multitude of clips, even when tightly scripted this required close concentration. Richie Shipman ran all the VT content from a D3 server and did an outstanding job. Mostly content ran to the main centre LED screen, with me cutting images of the players and our compere Vernon Kay, to the side screens.”

“Vernon’s professionalism was exceptional,” continued Askem. “He was very good with the players, he knows them all well and had obviously spent much time with each of them before hand to ensure they were relaxed and at ease. He also spoke directly to each player which was a great help to me and the camera operators in knowing who to cut to. I’m not enough of a fan to instantly recognise all of players present, so what could have been quite a taxing experience was instead very smooth thanks to Vernon’s easy presenting style. In that sense we all had a very good night.”

Leinster and Vaughan agreed. “This was a surprising overlap of two distinct demographic groups,” said Leinster, “rugby fans and fans of the band. It was entirely noticeable to all of us how the audience were engaged by both elements. Who’d have thought it? And what a great show.”

Vaughan concurred: “The show was really good fun,” he said afterwards. “There was just no time to get bored and everyone had a really great time. As a concept I think O2 have shown us a new level of what’s possible and successful in entertainment. I look forward to doing more of these.”

25th September 2015

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