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28/09/2006

XL Video make sure McFly to take centre stage on tour

XL Video is supplying video playback, camera systems and crew for the current hi-energy McFly arena tour.
XL has worked on previous McFly tours and the account is handled for them by Phil Mercer, who commented: "We had a very specific brief in terms of the design and configuration of the ‘upstage video element’. With an extensive inventory of the latest LED technology, XL made this a tourable reality."
Peter Barnes was brought in by Production North as artistic director. He’s created an innovative video design based around a large onstage screen amalgamating Barco S-Lite 10XP high resolution LED screen panels and Barco O-Lite low res modules, arranged in a jagged edged chequerboard effect.
This is primarily used for playback video sources stored on two Catalyst v 3.2 systems supplied by XL and triggered via the WholeHog II lighting desk being run by lighting director Graham Feast. One Catalyst feeds the O-Lite and the other the S-Lite.
XL is also supplying two 16 x 12 side screens, fed by front projected Barco SLM R12+s, rigged onto T shaped trusses, which are used for the 3 camera IMAG mix directed by Dan Ormerod. Towards the end of the show, this also spills over onto the main screen, where the contrast between that and catalyst ensures it has maximum effect.
Ormerod – his first McFly tour as director - is using one of XL’s GV Kayak DD mixer switcher units, and a Magic DVE for digital effects. Additional video-link playback material is stored on a Doremi hard drive and a Betacam SX machine.
The camera system consists of three Sony DF50 cameras – one with 55 mm lens positioned front-of-house, and two with standard lenses on track and dolly in the pit. One of the pit cameras is also moved and used as a hand-held onstage at specific moments. There’s also a Sony PD150 DV cam trained on the drum kit. It’s a hard driving rock ‘n’ roll show, and Ormerod’s live mix montage juxtaposes classic rock ‘n’ roll camera looks and shots with plenty of his own individual style.
Barnes had the idea of utilising the two video surfaces and to get away from the conventional upstage ‘TV block’ of video look.
He produced all the Catalyst footage himself, bringing an animator onboard for specific elements, including a lengthy sequence of sea-based graphics for the uplifting surf section of the set that kicks in early on. Flipping dolphins, undulating octopi, breaking waves, swirling fish and other aqua-orientated graphics are reproduced in the style of surf artist Drew Brophy.
To make the two different screen surfaces together coherently, Barnes created a latticed mask that is applied in the Catalyst, and scales the graphics to the available pixels, making the low res look linear across the screen, and enabling both high and low resolution surfaces to work simultaneously.
The combination of well thought out playback and fast-cutting IMAG video gives depth, imagination and visual humour to the show, as well as adding to the general excitement of McFly’s entertaining, full-on rock-out sets each night.
(DS/SP)
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