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XL Gets Live 25 with George Michael
XL Video is supplying full video production and crew to George Michael's critically acclaimed 25 Live tour. The show’s main video feature is made up from 3000 of XL’s new Barco MiStrip LED modules, configured as a huge, dramatic 25 metre long curved backdrop-style display, running behind and underneath Michael.
This concept initially came from show designer Willie Williams – with whom XL has also worked on numerous other productions including U2. The eye-catching backdrop flows down onto the stage and beyond via a series of concave and convex curves, creating a unique visual dynamic and giving the stage a spectacular sense of architectural form.
XL worked closely with Barco on the design and engineering of the screen which is the dominant element of the stage set, explains XL project Manager Phil Mercer. “It was an ambitious and demanding brief using a new product, and the surface needed to be very high resolution and with seamless joins between each vertical screen section. Issues like weight and reliability - for the high number of LEDs needed to reach this resolution - proved no problem for the MiStrip.” He adds that it’s also stood up really well to the rigours of the road.
The MiStrip is modular, flexible, and contains proven Barco processing and signal distribution as its basic building blocks. It’s a linear LED screen element, literally a “strip of pixels”, that can be combined in any shape and quantity to make up any size and form of LED screens. Sleek in appearance and structurally very robust, MiStrip has proved ideal to fulfill Williams’ design brief.
The modularity of the system and special mechanics developed for the show also allow the lower rear part of the screen to open up, making a surprise stage entrance for the artist. In addition to this, XL has also supplied 220 Barco I-12 tiles that make up two tracking LED screens 4.5 metres wide by 5 metres high. These are positioned behind the band and risers, and are fed from a combination of live camera feeds and content stored on Doremi hard drives.
The PPU is one of XL’s GV Kayak’s, complete with four Sony D50 cameras – located at FOH, two in the pit and one to left of the stage along, and there’s an XL crew of nine.
The live mix is being directed by Andy Bramley. Ed Jarman is the chief engineer, on cameras are Roger Nelson and Gordon Davies, and the LED techs are Koen Lavens, Martin Mcauley and JP Van Loo. The fourth LED tech is Neil Ogilvy, who also oversees the installation of a complex mini cam and monitoring system for the band, MD and monitor engineer, enabling them to see each other clearly.
Sam Pattinson from OneDotZero produced all the custom created video content and show visual material which looks stunning. Digital Antics designed and built the show’s custom computer based playback system.
Additionally, there’s an interactive element, with an IR camera linked into the LED playback system. This tracks Michael’s movements and pre-cued content is triggered and played back in time on the screen. It was developed by architectural lighting designer Jason Bruges of Jason Bruges Studio.
XL is also supplying two Lighthouse R16 LED side screens solely for IMAG, each 3 metres wide by 4 metres high.
13th December 2006
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