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First outing for Disguise gx3 with Video Design and Biffy Clyro

First outing for Disguise gx3 with Video Design and Biffy Clyro

UK – “The video and creative houses we use are amazing,” said tour manager Neil Anderson at Biffy Clyro’s recent homecoming show in Glasgow’s Ovo Hydro. “From Video Design who provide the touring technology, to Hidden Road and Luke Halls’ Studio, who build the content for us, just fantastic.”

In an unusual departure for a tour manager, it is Anderson who commissions the video content. “The band tend to have a vision for what they want the show to be, usually with some thematic reference point within the production itself. The flow of the set list tends to dictate the areas we look at commissioning pieces for, balanced between the live camera footage and the specific songs that require their own content.”

“We’ve worked with Luke Halls Studios and Hidden Road on this show, handing off certain songs to them that we think would suit their aesthetic. They’re both incredibly creative designers so it’s a pleasant process. I fire off an overly long email, detailing the way the song moves and describing the sort of thing I’m seeing in my head, and they get to work on translating that to the screen. More often than not, they render something far more beautiful than I’d have imagined. There’s something magical about getting into rehearsals and seeing these pieces up on the screens and across all the video surfaces; they come to life in a way that can’t be matched with pre-vis and laptop-screen viewing.”

“The surfaces and the layout of the screens is something Misty Buckley designed for us and references the nature of the artwork for the band’s most recent albums. It’s my favourite of all the shows she’s designed for us, we’re incredibly lucky to be able to work with such talented and lovely people. At the core of it all is the fact we have the best band in the world on the stage. It inspires everyone to give them their absolute best because that’s what the band give every single night.”

“When you transfer content to the touring world, we’re lucky enough to begin in a place of confidence; Video Design are a perfect fit for us. They’re both technically adept and creatively sympathetic to whatever we’re trying to do. In rehearsals I usually come to the lighting and video departments with a load of notes, that never seems to bother them. They always pull it out of the bag. I’m lucky enough to not necessarily need to understand what the latest bit of equipment does: in this instance the gx3s, but I’m always confident without question that Video Design are applying the latest technology correctly and appropriately. When I pose the inevitable question, ‘Can we do it this way?’ I never hear back a ‘No’ or ‘that will take a couple of days to maybe…’ They just work with whatever we throw at them because they invariably already have a solution to hand.”

Show designer Richard Larkum, responsible for resolving the balance between lighting, content and IMAG, agrees. “Neil [Anderson] stepped up to the plate on this. Initially, Neil will speak to Hidden Rd or Luke and tell them the overriding arc for the content theme. I then get involved after the first pass, if needed, to add elements that bring a cohesion with the lighting and the music. The content for ‘Hunger in your Haunt’ is a great example of this. Then on this tour, it’s down to Glenn Jenkins from Video Design with the gx3s to make it work on the LED. Glenn’s been brilliant; I’ve put him and the processors through their paces! We’ve really gone deep into the Notch effects we use and tidied them all up over the tour.

“Having Oscar Samson as our director now has really brought another level of cohesion to the whole thing. He’s worked with the band for years now, producing many of their videos and in particular the Lockdown Livestream. His knowledge of the band and directing has allowed us to really get the best out of our Notch Effects, so the connection and balance between the content, Notch and IMAG is better than ever and, having the latest most powerful processors behind it all can only help – right?!”

Glenn Jenkins from Video Design detailed the demands: “You need more consistency when dealing with multiple influences, I’m getting timecode cues arriving from audio for the content, lighting/video cues from Richard and camera cuts from Oscar yet I’m comfortably able to edit live in the show without any glitching, except where it’s deliberately programmed in! The performance of the gx3 is what gives me that confidence. If something is causing Rich’ problems, he only has to ask and it’s done. It’s always nice to have a bit more go in a server, especially when dealing with multiple Notch blocks.”

“That ability to edit as they perform makes the whole show much more cohesive,” concludes Larkum. “It's in harmony, everything works with everything else.’

photos: Gary Ebdy

First outing for Disguise gx3 with Video Design and Biffy ClyroFirst outing for Disguise gx3 with Video Design and Biffy Clyro

2nd December 2022

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