Each summer the great and the good of folk music visit the picturesque university city for the Cambridge Folk Festival.
This year, the site at Cherry Hinton Hall saw the 51st Festival, with main stage headline performances including Joan Baez, The Proclaimers, Frank Turner, Joan Armatrading, and Passenger.
With three days of sunny weather, the central arena outside the Main Stage tent was packed with festival-goers. To ensure that those outside the tent had an excellent view of the artists onstage, the event organisers, Cambridge Live, called on XL Video to supply a pair of outdoor LED screens.
Two 9m2 screens were requested, as in previous years, and PRG XL’s Project Manager, Paul Wood provided XL’s own ROE Visual MC-7 7.5mm resolution, indoor/outdoor LED. The screen was selected for its good visibility in daylight, weatherproofing, and high resolution, giving the audience great image quality, even at relatively close distances.
The screens displayed a mixture of IMAG content from the cameras in the tent, festival logos, social media links, information, and sponsor advertising.
This is the sixth consecutive year PRG XL Video has supplied video equipment and services for the Cambridge Folk Festival.
Paul Wood comments: “It’s always a big pleasure to work at this special Festival, and the 7.5mm high resolution outdoor screens, used here for the first time, were a success!”
On 25 July 2015, the Tate Modern in London hosted a very special one day event in their iconic Turbine Hall.
As part of the Turbine Festival 2015, video designer, Icarus Wilson-Wright, was asked to transform the Turbine Hall with a new look for the event. To support this, he asked d3 Technologies, PRG XL Video, and Barco to assist in realising the project.
One of the most striking features of the Turbine Hall is its height – 35 metres at its tallest – and in order to create a new look for the event, Wilson-Wright aimed to change the shape of the room.
Using dozens of fire-retardant paper strips, up to 25m in length, rigged from near the hall’s glass roof light, Wilson-Wright filled the ceiling space with a combination of coloured lighting and subtle projection which changed throughout the day.
In total 10,000 metres of paper strips were used to change the look and feel of the room. Two Barco HDX units, situated at each end of the hall, were used to project on to the paper strips.
To complement the use of paper in the main hall, Icarus asked artist, Thomas Kother, to create an additional installation hung in the darker area of the hall below the central bridge.
Working in paper, Kother created an origami owl centrepiece with accompanying inverted pyramids, and mapped projection onto this was covered by a further projector from Barco.
Previsualisation, sequencing and playback of content for all of the projection was supplied via a d3 media platform from d3 Technologies.
In addition to supplying power and connectivity peripherals, XL Video supplied lenses for the Barco projectors, and two of their HDiye mini cameras which were used to capture live footage in the hall, which was then treated and projected out to the origami installation.
Phil Mercer commented: “We’ve worked with Icarus for many years now, so when he approached us to be involved in this exciting project, we were happy to work with Barco and d3 to ensure the installation was as impressive as possible.”
London’s Alexandra Palace hosted the 37th ABTT Theatre Show on 24th & 25th June, and it was the first event at which PRG: UK and XL Video colleagues worked together to promote the combined influence of our companies following the acquisition. This year’s event was the first time it had been held in the iconic Ally Pally, after taking place at the Old Truman Brewery and in the Royal Horticultural Halls in previous years.
The exhibition attracted around 1500 visitors over both days, which ABTT’s David Mayo said “…was very good considering the move to a venue further away from the city centre. There seemed to be a feel-good factor in the new environment, and the word on the floor was that the visitor quality was very good.”
PRG were represented at the show by Peter Marshall, John Pauls, Jon Cadbury, James Morden, Mark Atkinson, Rodney George, Andy Johnston, Emelie Rowland and Matt Rakowski. Malcolm Mellows represented XL Video on both days, with Ed Cooper, Alison Barclay, and Ed Goddard visiting for a day each.
James Morden commented: “It was very pleasing to see how our clients reacted to the combined PRG and XL Video stand for the increased ability to deliver leading-edge technological shows as are being specified and demanded.” Peter Marshall added: “To have the opportunity to sit down and have a drink with clients in a relaxed atmosphere is excellent, that’s what ABTT is all about, building and maintaining relationships with people in the industry.”
Next year’s event will be held in the Alexandra Palace again and take place on 22nd & 23rd June.
Continuing its work on ‘Pointless’, the popular game show created by Remarkable Television, part of the Endemol Shine Group, XL Video has created a new version of the show’s LED scoreboard.
For the latest ‘Pointless’ recordings, filmed at the BBC’s Elstree Television Studios, the production team asked XL Video to create a new rigging solution for the show’s central LED scoreboard.
To create greater efficiency in the set-building process, the new rigging system aimed to substantially reduce the build time for the scoreboard tower. XL Video’s TV and Film Manager, Jeff Bailey, worked with XL’s specialist LED team in Oostende, Belgium, to specify the new tower support design.
The three-section custom metal column, fabricated by Shapes in Belgium, enabled the Barco NX6 LED to be pre-loaded into the curved scoreboard at XL’s warehouse, along with the matching base section, and transported to the studio in a single custom-built flight case.
Once on set, the LED tower can be bolted together and ready for filming in around two and a half hours - one third of the time previously taken to construct the scoreboard.
This new solution is being used for the filming of 136 new episodes of ‘Pointless’ and ‘Pointless Celebrities’ which will begin to air this year.
PRG XL Video also supplies the projection for the quiz’s questions screen, and a number of LCD screens used by the presenters and contestants as video relays.
Jeff Bailey comments: “With an ever greater requirement for efficiency in TV production, we were pleased to produce this custom LED solution. Our team in Belgium are experts in creating metalwork and rigging designs to fit a client’s specific requirements. The new LED framework has reduced the build time on set, is easier to transport … and the client is very happy!”
Following a successful event at last year’s festival, PRG XL Video, working with Technical Producer, Nick Diacre, has once again produced a significant achievement in 180˚ live mapping for Shangri-La’s Heaven Stage at the Glastonbury festival 2015.
The Heaven structure was built organically by Andrew Cross and his team, onsite at the festival, only a few days before the event, and the construction is different every year.
The wide, wooden structure consists of 419 tessellated triangles, which were mapped using photogrammetry and stitched into two composites - one a 2D map and a second 3D model.
XL’s technical team, led by Christian Dickens, collaborated closely with Nick Diacre, and together they selected XL Video’s Avolites Ai media servers for the project. Their plan was to explore Ai’s abilities and to test its live mapping skills on an organic structure. In addition, the Ai was used as a video playback engine as well as for generating live visuals.
The 2D map was supplied as a template to content producers from throughout the Shangri-La community to enable them to design their visuals. Contributors included Enjoy Kaos, Olly Robertson, and Jouna Landsman. The content ranged from organic forms to audio reactive patches created within Ai.
The system also used triple and dual head capture systems, remapped within Ai patches to cover the whole structure at the maximum resolution.
Will Young and Thomas Hogan also programmed generative patches within VVVV, which were mapped to a 3d model with audio reactive effects and shading and then remapped to the main model within Ai.
The entire system used full redundancy using two of XL Video’s S8 Ai servers, along with a Lightware DVI matrix switching between main and backup systems, as well as routing capture sources.
The capture sources were held by a bank of four Barco ImagePro HDs, as well as an additional ImagePro providing a source in the DJ booth.
The system was designed by Nick Diacre, who also managed engineering onsite working with XL Video’s Erica Frost and Matt Barlow.
Frost also programmed an elaborate projector and source control surface using Coolux’s Widget Designer interface. This allowed easy switching of multiple sources simultaneously, routing of main and backup signals as well as automated shuttering and powering down of the projection systems.
The projection canvas was 7680 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high, and was covered by four Barco FLM HD20 projectors. A second bank of FLM HD20s ran as hot backup, having been warped onto the elaborate surface using Barco’s on-board warping software. Projection was managed by XL Video’s Head of Projection, Warren Galt, with the assistance of Ella Galt.
Nick Diacre commented: “The rock solid system design, cutting edge technology and team of absolute professionals ensured this project was delivered flawlessly. The spectacle of Heaven was a huge improvement on previous years with the introduction of custom content based around the structure.
“Thanks go out to the team at Avolites Media for demonstrating the abilities of Ai in pre-production and helping us develop a workflow that worked for both mapping, capture and content delivery.
“Heaven never looked so good. Thanks again to Debs Armstrong and the Shangri-La team and Seain Loughlin of PF Events for getting us all involved.”
PRG XL Video, working for Production North, supplied all video production – LED Screens, IMAG cameras / PPU and crew - for the most recent UK tour by hi-energy pop-rockers, The Vamps.
The tour included several arena shows and was the largest to date for the rising stars who originally met via You Tube around 2012, as well as the first for Global Live, the new ‘live’ division of Ashley Tabor’s UK-based Global Entertainment … and a co-promotion with AEG Live.
The Vamps stage / set and video design was evolved by the tour’s Technical Director Iain Whitehead (Production North) and Lighting Designer Peter Barnes, and included 145 square metres of XL Video’s ROE Visual MC-7T LED screen. The lively IMAG mix was cut by Dan Ormerod, and video was a major part of the overall aesthetic that made the show and its presentation exciting, interesting, vibey and very enjoyable to watch.
Video screens were the most influential visual element when Iain and Peter started discussing a look for the show with the band’s management, who wanted a main screen and two outer ones angled backwards towards upstage centre. The band had existing footage that needed integrating into the show, so it was important that the combined screen size was close to 16:9 format, explained Peter.
The 7 mm ROE Visual product was chosen by Iain and XL’s Project Manager Phil Mercer as a good quality and cost-efficient solution. The three onstage screen surfaces and the two IMAG side screens were all made up of the MC-7T, giving complete continuity in terms of quality and appearance of the footage.
The three onstage screens were each 8 tiles wide by 10 deep (measuring 4.8 x 6 metres), supported by the sides in a landscape format of 9 tiles wide by 7 high (giving 5.4 x 4.2 metres).
All the playback content was produced by The Vamps’ Videographer Dean Sherwood.
Looking after XL’s Catalyst v5 media server control system, used to store and play all the pre-recorded footage, was Robin Haddow, and this material was primarily timecode triggered.
The four IMAG camera channels (essentially one for each Vamp band member) were also fed into the Catalyst for outputting to screen. Having the Catalyst downstream and using the v5’s Exact Mapping feature enabled pixel-perfect images to be routed and fitted to each screen. Dan had four operated cameras at his disposal and two of XL’s custom built HDiye mini-cam units.
The Sony HXC-100s were positioned with one at FOH complete with long through lens, and two in front of the D-shaped runway emanating from the stage – circling the VIP area. The fourth was a hand-held operated by Robin who multi-tasked at strategic points in the show where the Catalyst was running itself … his camerawork was invaluable for getting in-the-crowd and capturing the key close-up drama onstage.
One of the two mini-cams was clamped to the drums focused to capture a full face shot of drummer Tristan Oliver for the song “Girls on TV”, which saw each of the five screens dedicated to a band member (lead singer Brad Simpson appeared on both left and right IMAG screens simultaneously!). The second mini-cam was positioned (usually) stage left along the lip of the stage to catch a classic ‘front line’ shot of the band.
Dan really enjoyed the live directing, letting the exuberance and enthusiasm of the band to some extent shape his mixing style for the non-stop maelstrom of action characterising the set. Also an accomplished cameraman, he brought this vast experience of how to merge the most energising and appropriate individual shots to a much bigger picture.
Working with producers Vision Nine Arts & Entertainment, XL Video supplied a multi-channel camera system and video projection for the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular UK live concert tour.
The tour, which showcases the compositions of Murray Gold for the much-loved TV show includes the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and performers from the BBC National Chorus of Wales, conducted by Ben Foster.
Hosted by Peter Davidson, who played the 5th Doctor, the tour includes live appearances from an array of Doctor Who monsters including Daleks, Cybermen, and the Ood.
The show design aims to immerse the audience via the music, coupled with the big screen footage of Doctor Who, and live action appearances by a multitude of monsters in the arena. To help achieve this across a variety of large-scale venues, XL Video supplied a video projection system and accompanying cameras, which displayed a mixture of Doctor Who clips and live IMAG.
The central 40’ x 23’ screen used two of XL’s Barco HDF-W26 high brightness projectors to show scenes from the many series of Doctor Who, mixed with atmospheric graphics and logos. Footage also included clips from the forthcoming series, which will air worldwide later this summer.
XL also supplied one of their Sony HXC-100 HD cameras with an 86x long lens, located at front of house, which captured the orchestra, singers and monsters as they appeared in the arena. One of XL’s custom-built HDiye minicams was situated on stage and focused on the conductor, who appeared in The Doctor’s trademark costumes during the show.
XL’s small Panasonic PPU was used for the mix of live cameras and playback content, and was directed by Ray Shaw.
Playback and Cameras were mixed for the 2 x 20’ x 11’ IMAG side screens, using a pair of double-stacked Barco HD20 projectors for projection on each side.
XL Video also supplied an HD recording of the tour, for later use by the client.
Project Manager for XL Video, Paul Wood, comments: “We’re very happy to be working again for Nigel Mousley (Tour Manager) and the team at Vision Nine, to bring this event to UK arenas. Our brief was to ensure that the visuals blended perfectly with the live concert to really immerse the audience in the world of Doctor Who. Our team did a great job combining the existing TV footage with live IMAG, and the audience reaction was excellent.”
Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of XL Video Group.
“Bringing XL Video into the PRG family profoundly enhances our ability to provide our clients with a comprehensive suite of products and services,” said Jeremiah “Jere” Harris, Chairman and CEO of Production Resource Group. “The true opportunity however, lies in bringing together the industry’s most passionate and committed people. Our shared values and technical expertise will allow the company to continue to innovate and grow in new and exciting ways.”
XL Video’s worldwide locations will now become part of PRG’s network of over 40 locations in key cities around the world. Project teams representing each geography, market, and function across the combined organization are currently working together to align and integrate operations to ensure continued excellence in customer service and support.
Saturday night saw Swedish DJ Maestros Axwell /\ Ingrosso bring London’s Alexandra Palace alive as they mesmerised the sell-out crowd beneath an extensive lighting rig supplied by PRG.
Lighting designer Rob Lister’s extravagant design featured 46 PRG Bad Boy spots mounted on PRG BAT truss, which moved on Kinesys hoists during the show. Crew Chief Rich Gorrod commented that “using BAT truss helped us speed up the load-in time as all the lights were hung during prep, when we got to the venue we could fly the truss quickly and maximise the time available to program the show.”
Working with BBC Election Project and Engineering Manager, Tony Cahalane and Production Designer, David Marson, PRG XL Video supplied high resolution LED screens, plus scenic curved LED and Barco screen management systems for BBC Cymru Wales and S4C’s coverage of the 2015 General Election.
BBC Cymru Wales broadcast all-night election coverage on BBC1 Wales and the Welsh language channel, S4C, simultaneously from two studio sets at their studios in Llandaff, Cardiff.
Each set consisted of a wide, high-resolution curved LED screen, formed from XL Video’s Unilumin 3.9mm LED, and measuring 10m wide by 3m high.
This main screen displayed a combination of playback content, election graphics generated live as results came in, and PiP broadcast footage from reporters around the country.
Surrounding the screen and set, each studio featured nine curved LED banners formed from XL’s creative Barco NX6 product. These banners were used to extend the backgrounds from the main screen and give a cohesive look across each studio.
Despite each studio having matching set-ups, the use of LED allowed both broadcasts to have very different and distinct looks. LED screens across both studios were built and managed by Colin Barnes and Paul Phair.
XL Video’s new Barco E2 screen management systems were used to manage the complex switching of content from scenic playback graphics to live broadcast feeds and graphical images.
The E2s were programmed by Rob Scott and Daniel Harris and routed to Shot Boxes controlled by each of the respective programmes’ Vision Mixers, allowing them plenty of flexibility during the live show and the ability to switch straight to breaking news as it happened!
In addition, XL supplied more than 40 flatscreen monitors ranging in size from 23” to 65” which were used on set, in the Spin room, and for monitoring incoming feeds.
Ten of these screens were paired with Freeview+ PVRs, capturing incoming live feeds which could then be cut into the broadcast at suitable moments. Monitors and Freeview+ were engineered by Tony Barter.
Jeff Bailey, Head of TV & Film for XL Video, comments: “We were very pleased to supply the video for the BBC Cymru Wales’ General Election coverage. As with any live news event, preparation is key, and our team on site, Project Managed by Ian Jones, ensured everything was ready for the high-paced environment on Election Day. Our technicians worked closely with the production team and delivered a great-looking visual package for each broadcaster!”
Working with the National Theatre’s Video Supervisor Matthew Morgans, XL Video is supplying a large semi-transparent LED wall for the current production of ‘Everyman’ at the Olivier Theatre.
The cast of ‘Everyman’ is led by BAFTA award-winning actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, in this version of a classic 15th Century morality play in a new adaptation by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
The production is directed by Rufus Norris, with Video Design by Tal Rosner. Everyman will be broadcast live to over 550 cinemas in the UK and many more internationally on 16 July. Final performance of the show is on 30 August 2015.
The giant 9 metre wide by 8.4 metre high curved video screen forms the both the backdrop for the play, as well as creating a semi-transparent dividing wall between the main performers and the on-stage musicians.
The screen towers above the cast, supported by custom curved metal work built by the National Theatre’s video team, and with specially fabricated curve links from XL Video.
The LED chosen for the video wall was XL’s ROE Visual MC-18 – an 18mm pitch LED which is semi transparent, allowing the performers upstage to be seen through the screen when lit. It was also selected as it is waterproof, which is required during the scenes that include a rainstorm live on stage.
Ed Cooper, Head of UK Theatre for XL Video, comments: “We were delighted to work with the National Theatre’s Video team to supply an imposing LED backdrop for the new production of ‘Everyman’. Our versatile 18mm LED product was selected as it fulfilled the diverse requirements for this exciting new production.”
XL Video’s crew of Steven Grinceri and Gareth Manicom worked with the National’s in-house video team to install the screen and ensure they are supported throughout the show’s run.
For more information on the National Theatre’s production of ‘Everyman’, click here.
Recently the four-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Joy Williams completed three promo shows, in NY, LA, and London, prior to the release of her latest solo album “Venus.” Designers LeRoy Bennett and Tobias G. Rylander of Seven Design Works worked with PRG to realise their vision of an ethereal light show.
With a handful of moving lights in the rig, including 4 PRG Best Boy 4000 Spots, 9 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s, and 4 Sharpy Washes; the main atmosphere of the concert was created by an imaginative use of video. Using custom-made silver shimmer voile as a screen, the designers used four 20K Panasonic projectors in a combination of front and rear projection to create a seamless effect.
PRG account manager Scottie Sanderson coordinated the supply of equipment for Williams’ intimate gig at London’s Islington Assembly Hall on 6th May. The shows were popular and well received, giving fans a taste of what to expect when her full tour kicks off in North America in July before reaching the UK in the autumn.
Working with their client, Under The Radar, XL Video supplied outdoor LED screens and a multi-channel camera system for the naming of P&O Cruises’ newest luxury ship, Britannia.
The ship, which is over 300 metres long, was officially named at a traditional ceremony in Southampton.
In order to ensure the visiting dignitaries had an excellent view of proceedings, XL Video supplied a 7m x 4m Lighthouse R7 outdoor LED screen.
XL Video also supplied five Sony HXC-100 HD cameras and 2 Bradley CamBall 2 robocams situated around the port location.
The cameras covered all angles of the luxury ship, which bears a stylized Union Jack on its bow, as well as close-ups of the podium from which the traditional bottle of Wiston Estate British sparkling wine was launched to name the ship.
One of XL Video’s large Grass Valley Kayak PPUs, engineered by XL’s Broadcast Director, Malcolm Whittall, was used to process all the camera footage, which was directed by Jerry Rosenfield.
Live feeds from the PPU were fed to national and international TV broadcasters for their daily news programmes.
A live satellite feed of the naming, originating from the PPU, was broadcast live on all of P&O Cruises’ ships in their fleet.
XL Video’s Project Manager, Steve Greetham commented: “We were very pleased to be asked to provide the video for this prestigious event, and it was a pleasure to work with Tim Hudson and his team.
“Working at an event of this nature is always high pressure, but our crew worked diligently to ensure everything went off smoothly.”
New York and Oostende, Belgium May 6, 2015 – Production Resource Group, L.L.C. – (PRG) today announced that it has agreed to acquire the XL Video Group, one of the largest providers of premier multi-market video services. PRG Chairman & CEO Jeremiah J. Harris and Lucas Covers, the Group CEO of XL Video jointly made the announcement.
XL Video, founded in 1995, has established itself as a leading video services supplier around the world. The company is a multi-award winning provider of creative video solutions for concert touring, corporate events, exhibitions, automotive, television, sports, and theatre. Like PRG, XL Video supports creative designers and producers with full technical support in putting together cutting-edge video solutions for some of the most innovative and aesthetically daring shows in the world.
For PRG’s worldwide clients, this acquisition expands their access to the wide range of creative video technology and services that they already enjoy. They can continue to be confident in the quality of product, production expertise, and professionalism when further integrating video into their productions and events.
“By combining XL Video with PRG, we are creating a tremendously valuable resource for event and entertainment producers anywhere in the world”, said PRG’s Harris. “The integrated company will be able to offer an exceptional breadth of production technologies and depth of industry expertise.”
Upon completion, XL Video’s worldwide locations will become part of PRG’s network of over 40 locations in key cities around the world.
“As XL Video, we have worked on some of the largest and highest profile concert tours, television shows, automotive and corporate events around the globe,” commented Covers. “We have established a client base that has become more sophisticated in their expectations of the standard of video production. As part of PRG, we will continue to exceed their expectations and raise the bar on video production.”
Stephan Paridaen, PRG’s Global President and Chief Operating Officer, concluded, “PRG and XL Video are extremely well positioned to provide a multi-disciplined, integrated solution. Making the XL Video team part of the PRG family, will be extremely beneficial to our clients and this has been our top priority from the start.”
The transaction is expected to close before the end of the second quarter subject to customary closing conditions.