News Blog

This section contains news stories, organisational announcements, case studies, reports from trade shows, and other news about our company and our work.

We also post selected articles, news updates, and share videos on our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and more.

Reisende auf einem Bein (Travelling on one leg) 800x200px
14/11/2015 Theatre projects

PRG XL Video Supplies Theatre Video Solution for Travelling On One Leg at Hamburg Schauspielhaus

Working with Video Designer, Ingi Bekk, PRG XL Video supplied a video technology solution for a Hamburg theatre production of Reisende auf einem Bein (Travelling On One Leg), based on the novel by Nobel-prize winning author, Herta Müller.

Adapted for the stage by British theatre director Katie Mitchell OBE, and dramaturge Rita Thiele, and directed by Mitchell, the production incorporates a multimedia approach to theatre by the use of live cameras on the actors, the feeds from which are then cut live and projected on to screens above, creating the effect that a movie is being made live on stage.

Many of Katie Mitchell’s productions use multimedia, and this is used to explore the theme of detachment which is present in many of the plays she stages. In Reisende auf einem Bein the main character Irene, played by Julia Wieninger, begins life in Romania, but then takes a decision to move to Germany. The feeling of detachment is most prominent in Germany as she settles in an unfamiliar country. With the subject of refugees and migrants in Europe at the forefront, this makes the themes covered in Reisende auf einem Bein very topical.

Ingi Bekk has worked with Katie Mitchell on three occasions, with this his first as lead Video Designer. His design for the show technology was done in close collaboration with Director of Photography, Grant Gee, who then led the process of capturing the action on five cameras on stage.

To supply the cameras, media servers and projection technology, Bekk worked with PRG XL Video’s Senior Account Manager, Ed Cooper to satisfy the complex technology requirements.

Bekk explains: “To pick up the detail of the performances, the period accurate props, and the performers facial expressions, it was important to place the cameras correctly. For example, throughout the play Irene builds up a collage of newspaper clippings and her own photographs, so it was important for the cameras to be able to pick-up the close-up detail of this key element, as well as the incredibly detailed props and scenery used in the show.

“We used a combination of professional camera people, and for some scenes also required the actors to handle the HD cameras. We utilised a mini jib, slider unit, and adapted grip equipment to achieve the right angles during the performance.”

Bekk continues: “Around the set twenty monitors were set up which displayed the shot number, the current live camera, and other show-crucial information - this enabled the performers to know exactly which camera was live and which shots were being shown on screen at any time.

“From the camera feeds, we edited the footage live, via the Catalyst media servers equipped with HDSDI capture cards. The shots were all processed with some pre-programmed colour-grading, to give the projected images a stark and cinematic appearance.”

In addition, one of PRG XL Video’s QLab media servers was used to provide synchronised triggering of audio, video and lighting throughout the show. Programming for the media servers was handled by Ellie Thompson, Associate Video Designer, and Iain Syme, a student from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, provided assistance to both Bekk and Thompson throughout the production. The cinematic element of the production was achieved with the use of three different projection screens. One, fed by one of PRG XL Video’s Panasonic 10k projectors, showed the images of Irene’s life in Romania, with a second, also fed by a Panasonic 10k unit used on stage for backgrounds for some of the scenes. A third Barco 20k unit, supplied by the theatre, was used for the segment in Germany. Ingi Bekk sums up: “This was a challenging, but exciting production to work on. The video set-up was central to the whole look and feel of the play. I was very happy to work with Ed Cooper and PRG XL Video to get the technology we needed to achieve the desired outcome.” Reisende auf einem Bein returns to the Schauspielhaus, Hamburg from 13-19 November 2015.


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Rudimental, London, 2015. Photo by Louise Stickland.

Rudimental Play Festivals and Tour with Video from PRG XL Video

PRG XL Video supplied video elements for the larger shows on popular drum ‘n’ bass massive Rudimental's 2015 tour, which started in March and culminated in a characteristically energetic performance at London’s Alexandra Palace, complete with a vibrant visual design by Jonny Gaskell.

For this show, the company supplied LED screens and Catalyst media server control, a side projection system plus IMAG cameras and PPU. The fundamental concept of Rudimental’s full design was to make the stage an interactive and theatrical environment with several contrasting visual layers which peeled back as the all-action set developed, revealing more depth and new eye-candy every few songs. The space was defined by several impressive scenic pieces including a large replica of the Hackney Central (London, E8) railway bridge, and a tabbed double-sided back cloth which was in for the first few numbers depicting a Hackney – the band’s home territory – skyline. A few numbers in to the set, the tabs opened to reveal a 10 metre wide by 4.5 metre deep upstage video screen built from ROE MC-7 LED which was masked in the Catalyst to appear as three circular outputs, each filled into the centres of three circular lighting trusses – a 4 metre diameter in the middle with two 3-metre ones either side. Jonny wanted circular trusses and video screens to make the shapes more interesting and the whole effect had huge impact.

IMAG was also added – two operated Sony HXC-100 HD broadcast cameras and four of PRG XL’s proprietary HDiye mini-cams – for the Ally Pally gig. A combination of this and the tour’s playback video, created by Ben Sheppee of lightrhythm visuals, and stored on the Catalyst, was played out to the three circles and also to two 21 x 11 ft projected side screens also installed for the London show. Each of the side screens was fed by a doubled up pair of rear-projecting Barco HDW-W14 projectors. PRG XL Video asked Phil Woodhead on-board to direct the IMAG for Alexandra Palace, for which he used one of the company’s large Kayak PPUs. One of the leading UK live video directors, it was his first time working with the band and he created an edgy, vibey camera mix to match the lively collage of urban, street, electro and international sounds. The four HDiye cameras – each with a 2.1 megapixel DSP chip producing full HDI 1920 x 1080p resolution at 60 FPS and 3G HD / SDI output - were positioned along the front of the stage with one behind the drummer, running into the Catalyst and output to screen by programmer / operator Jack Banks.

A feed of this mix – running via an ImagePRO scaler - was also sent to Phil’s Kayak for outputting to the side screens. The two operated cameras were positioned at FOH (with HD86X lens) and hand-held in the pit (with HDI 4 lens) and output directly from Phil’s PPU to the side screens. Jack received a sub-mix of this via the Kayak system for blending onto the LED screens.

This is the first tour on which Rudimental have properly embraced video. This video system including screens and IMAG also appeared on the band’s festival appearances through the summer including their headline performances on Glastonbury’s Other Stage, at Wildlife and Parklife, Love Box and Boardmasters festivals. Jonny has used PRG XL Video on many previous projects including Richard Ashcroft, Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Kasabian, and Orbital.

“The service is always impeccable” he comments. Joining Phil and Jack on the video crew were Mike Dorrie (projection & cameras), Steve Grinceri (LED & cameras) and system engineer Dhanuka Karunanayake, and the show was also recorded via three AJA HD machines.

Phil Mercer, PRG XL’s Director Music Group, and Project Manager Nilkanth Patel looked after the video package for all the festival shows as well as the tour. Mercer comments: “It was great working with David Sheppard, Matthew Roberts and Jonny Gaskell on this tour. We’re very happy to work with bands when they start to use video for the first time. Their ideas are often highly creative, and we enjoy helping them to bring those ideas to life.”

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Opel Selfie Jump PRG XL Video IAA 2015 800x200px
05/11/2015 Projects

PRG XL Video Realises ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ at IAA 2015

For ten days – from 17 to 27 September – visitors to the Opel booth at IAA 2015 could create their own personal ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ – a Bullet-Time tracking shot with frozen scenery, known from the Matrix films and numerous commercials. The automobile manufacturer relied on the experience of PRG XL Video for the planning, design and technical implementation of their exacting requirements. Bellprat Associates AG was responsible for the idea and the concept. The graphical user interface of the terminals, the Facebook connectivity and implementation of the barcode scanners was realized by bluelemon Interactive GmbH.

For ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ the full-service event provider developed a system using 75 digital SLR cameras arranged in a semi-circle of 270 degrees, which was aligned with millimetre precision with the booth visitors in the centre of the circle. As a visual aid to the participants, a monitor with countdown was displayed below the cameras. The shutter release of the 75 cameras was done manually using a remote control by an employee at the Opel stand.

The instantly-created three-second video sequence from the 75 simultaneously acquired images was incorporated into the interactive content displayed on high-resolution LED screens and 3D objects around the Opel booth. At the same time, visitors could access their own ‘Selfie Jump’ posted on the Opel Facebook page.

The technical requirements for hardware and software with which PRG XL Video was confronted during the two-month design and production phase were enormous. The event provider had to respond to a variety of technical challenges including automating the post-processing of the camera images as video to make the sequence available immediately.

During the production phase of the event, PRG XL Video developed, specifically for this purpose, a modular system of opto-couplers and a microcontroller. These were able to synchronously trigger all of the cameras, start the countdown over the network, begin the rendering process, and display any error messages. This allowed the error detection mechanism to autonomously utilise the fallback system.

This solution was made more impressive because of special provisions the ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ system required for its prototype. Drawing on experience from previous projects, the team managing the project had to install the camera rig separated from the jump landing-pad to avoid transmission of vibrations to the cameras.

Since the installation of the cameras was covered to protect against unauthorized access and to avoid dust entering the mechanisms, PRG XL Video developed a custom software solution that enabled them to remotely configure the cameras both individually and collectively. In addition, the team had to consider sufficient manual access to the camera hardware to enable servicing and recalibration.

The ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ project was a complete success! Over the ten days of IAA 2015 more than 3,500 video clips were created by visitors on the Opel stand – meaning the 75 cameras clicked and produced a Bullet-time tracking shot every 2 minutes!

More pictures from Opel Selfie Jump realised by PRG XL Video at IAA Frankfurt (Slideshow)

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Creamfields 2015. Photo by Scott Davies.

Creamfields Illuminated with Video and Lighting from PRG XL Video

PRG XL Video continued their long relationship with Creamfields by supplying a wide range of Video, Lighting and Rigging solutions across multiple stages at the 2015 festival – the biggest Creamfields ever!

With the festival growing in popularity every year, Creamfields producer LarMac LIVE are working to create a bigger and better experience for the audience at each event. Featuring two main stages – North and South – with identical screen set-ups, and a further seven tent arenas, PRG XL Video were brought in early in the design process to help deliver Creamfields’ most ambitious production to date.

The recent combination of PRG and XL Video further streamlined the process this year, with video across all stages, and lighting and rigging on the two main stages all supplied by the new integrated team. Under the direction of Ian Greenway of LarMac LIVE, Paul ‘Macca’ McCauley oversaw the video elements which incorporated more than 2300 square metres of LED in total, with Q Willis managing the rigging, and Gordon Torrington taking care of lighting on the main North and South stages. The video team also worked closely with a variety of other suppliers in the tent arenas who supplied lighting and audio, ensuring a quick and efficient set-up and de-rig. On the two main stages, the video design used around 20% more LED screen than last year with LED onstage forming both the backdrop and header screens. On either side each wing measured over 20 metres wide and 12 metres high, using a total of 720 square metres of LED per stage.

The header screens were used for festival and artist logos and branding, and all the LED for the main stages came from PRG XL Video’s extensive inventory of ROE Visual MC products.

On the lighting side, LarMac LIVE’s brief was also one of scale. PRG XL Video Music Group Director, Yvonne Donnelly-Smith, commented: “After discussions with Ian Greenway at last year’s Festival Awards, we were delighted to be asked to supply the lighting for the two giant main stages at this year’s Creamfields.” “With the festival growing not only in popularity, but also in size, PRG XL Video’s extensive lighting inventory, and expertise in large-scale rigging projects made us a natural choice for the team when up-scaling this year’s event.”

As well as supplying lighting and rigging, PRG XL Video’s Q Willis provided extensive support with the preparation and filing of the required CDM (construction, design and management) paperwork for the main stages.

In addition to the main stages, Creamfields has a number of smaller stages, hosted in tent arenas around the site. These featured a variety of different designs which called for creative use of video. The largest of the tent arenas, at almost 115 metres long, featured a variety of LED surfaces both onstage and dressing the PA hangs and eight king tent poles, which created a really immersive space for the crowd. Tent arena 4 included an upstage wall and riser formed from LED, and was reconfigured for Saturday night’s show using PRG XL Video’s MC 7mm modular screen in their custom touring frames built into rolling truss structures. This created a new look with two downstage screens flanking a riser screen.

For the curved arena the design called for more than 50 1.3 metre square LED screens rigged on to a Layher system which mimicked the curve of the tent. These were spaced evenly and uniformly either side of a central high resolution LED screen and riser. The unusual design helped to create an immersive feel for the audience as the screen wrapped around them in the circular tent.

In the Towers arena, PRG XL Video worked again with a Layher system with multiple towers arranged around a central screen. The company used a combination of semi-transparent 25mm LED and Versatubes to highlight the upright sections of the construction. Across all of the stages, PRG XL Video supplied Resolume media servers for content playback. Resolume was selected due to its popularity with VJs, intuitive interface, and ease of use.

Summing up the production, Macca commented: “Each year, Creamfields aim to create a bigger and better event. LarMac LIVE set us the challenge of supplying the biggest ever Creamfields event this year, and our entire team rose to the challenge. It was great to work with our colleagues for the lighting and rigging on the main stages too!” LarMac LIVE’s Ian Greenway commented: “From LarMac’s side, Cream are one client that just keep pushing production boundaries and without the support of suppliers old and new, the game would be pretty much lost.”

“All of our shows rely on a team spirit that just isn’t buyable; one reason why we have longstanding relationships with XL and PRG. I’m sure the newly combined force of two of the original industry specialists will only help us continue to grow the Creamfields juggernaut!”

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Cork Ignite 2015. Photo by Clare Keogh.

PRG XL Video Supplies Projection Mapping for Cork Ignite

PRG XL Video Supplies Projection Mapping for Cork Ignite 2015 Working with international visual artist Simon Mckeown, PRG XL Video supplied a high brightness outdoor building projection and mapping system for a projection on to the College of Commerce at Union Quay in Cork, Ireland. This was done for a special arts event entitled Cork Ignite, on 18th September, in front of a large public audience who were wowed by the spectacle!

Mckeown, who also lectures in Post Production and Animation at Teesside University, was originally invited by the directors of the National Sculpture Factory and Create Ireland to meet with them in Cork to discuss the project. He proposed that they create an outdoor projection event to be held on Culture Night 2015. Funding for the event came from Teesside University, and Ignite – a partnership of the Arts Council, Arts & Disability Ireland, Cork City Council, Galway City and County Councils, and Mayo County Council, whose aim is to showcase the talents of people with disabilities, including artists and performers.

During Spring of 2014, Simon Mckeown worked with a group of participants from COPE Foundation and other disability organisations to create a collaborative work based around stop frame animation, shadow puppetry, art work and video. Work from this workshop directly and indirectly influenced the content created by Mckeown’s team for the Cork Ignite projection. His creative team included Craig McMullen, sound specialist Nigel Crooks, concept artist Kameliya Minkova, Phillip Wray, and David Archibold.

To realise Simon’s idea of creating a building projection on the exterior of Cork College of Commerce, he contacted PRG XL Video Senior Account Manager, Paul Wood who put together the technical specifications for projection and playback.

Firstly PRG XL Video’s team, including mapping expert James Cooksey, created a map of the building using a combination of building drawings and photographs for the content renderings.

Once the map was complete, Mckeown’s team formatted their content to match the building map, and the completed content was played-back using Milumin media servers, and Mad Mapper for final mapping tweaks on-site.

To cover the entire front of the College of Commerce, six Barco HDQ-2K40 projectors were used in two stacks of three, outputting a total of 240,000 Lumens! These were installed and aligned by PRG XL’s Projectionist Peter Tilling.

Two nights before the main event, projector alignment was carried out, and a content run-through/rehearsal took place the night before the event. Simon said: “This was a big outdoor project which carried a lot of risk and uncertainty and expectation. The project formed the ambitious centre point to Culture Night Ireland in Cork. It had prestigious support from organisations in Ireland and the UK and was hoped to have a very large audience. Expectations were high and combining this stress with my own exacting standards meant that I could only consider working with PRG XL and Paul and his team.”

Mckeown continues: “Over several months I worked with Paul to specify the projection and with James to map the work to a fantastically accurate level across multiple planar depths. As nearly a quarter of a million lumens hit the College of Commerce I was, and still remain, absolutely certain I made the correct decision. Simply stunning.” Full video and high resolution clips are available and a documentary will be online in November 2015.

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Audio Sensitive Lighting Cues and an Epic Drive from and Lexus - PRG

Audio Sensitive Lighting Cues and an Epic Drive from and Lexus

PRG’s teams in UK and Spain recently collaborated on an exciting promotional project for the new Lexus NX crossover vehicle.

Working in conjunction with film and commercial production company, Minds Eye Media and London communications agency Freuds, for the ‘NX on track’ commercial short for Lexus Europe, PRG supplied some key visual elements for Lighting Designer Matthew Button.

Filming took place at the Marugan Aerodrome near Madrid and featured a giant musical stave created with lasers and lighting. Three Lexus NX crossover vehicles driven by professional stunt drivers were used to trigger the audio sensitive lighting cues, at the correct tempo, to synchronise with the track.

PRG supplied 160 Clay Paky Sharpy Beams, attached to 240 metres of trusses, suspended from 8 cranes above the runway. PRG also supplied 150 GLP Impression X4 bar 20 LED Battens to light either side of the track.  A real challenge for the project was to provide a constant level of haze across the track and to accomplish this we deployed 26 Viper smoke machines each fitted with a 10 inch fan and over 600 metres of ducting. 

PRG UK’s Mathew Ilott was the Account Manager for the project, working with production teams in Longbridge and Madrid to realize Button’s design. He commented:

“This was a fantastic project to be involved with and was a real PRG team effort. Starting with Paul Elkin’s AutoCad drawing, we approached PRG Madrid who, under the guidance of Xavier Theys and crew chief Aitor Beloqui, sourced and tested smoke machines, liaised with the crane company, and then for eight very long days installed and maintained the rig. Aitor also coped brilliantly with the challenge of maintaining an even level of smoke across the runway, despite the ever-changing wind direction.”

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The X Factor - Six Chair Challenge. Lighting by Tom Sutherland. Photo: Syco/Thames/Corbis.

Lighting for The X Factor Six Chair Challenge with Tom Sutherland

This Sunday the six chair challenge returns to ITV’s The X Factor, as the celebrity judges aim to whittle down their selection of contestants as we are within touching distance of the live shows.

Lighting Designer Tom Sutherland of DX7 Design, who designs the lighting set-up for the audition shows before handing over to Dave Davey for the live shows explained: “The six chair challenge was a new feature introduced last year to spice up the show, basically each judge has to narrow down numerous contestants by rewarding them with a place on one of the six seats which will carry them through to the next round. But, even if they’ve been given a seat, they can always be kicked off and replaced by somebody else, which makes a really intense and emotional atmosphere in the arena. When I design for this part of the show, I try to come up with something profound and dramatic, but also recognisable to the theme of The X Factor.”

Tom began working on The X Factor six years ago, originally as a programmer and operator, before stepping up to design the audition rounds three years later. PRG United Kingdom Account Director Kelly Cornfield said “Tom’s a designer who always dreams big and wants to leave his mark on a show, he’s brilliant at having bold and ambitious ideas, but still keeping an element of realism and working within a budget. He’s a great guy and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Tom continued: “We were going to stick with last year’s rig for this year’s show, but I was playing around in WYSIWYG one night and came up with a concept where all the lights were mounted on curved pipes and look as though they’re falling in on the stage. I showed the design to Dave Hallett, the X Factor Gaffer, and PRG’s Kelly Cornfield, who both saw it as a huge challenge, but together they made it possible. Dave said that he’s never done as many 3D drawings before as he did to calculate the curvature of the pipe, the guy worked so hard to realise my idea in little over a week. It’s easy for me to plot a bunch of lights on a computer, but it’s thanks to Dave and his fantastic crew this design came off.” When the team arrived on site it came down to programmer Nick Hansen to bring Tom’s vision to life which he easily accomplished, exceeding Tom’s expectations.

This year’s six chair challenge was shot in Wembley Arena in early September, aside from The X Factor, Tom has been working alongside PRG: Live in North America on another Simon Cowell TV show, La Banda Oficial, a show dedicated to the search for the next Latin American boy band.

Tom’s design for last year’s six chair challenge earned him a Knight of Illumination Awards nomination in the television category. The awards are announced Sunday evening at London’s Troxy venue. PRG would like to wish Tom the best of luck at the awards and are excited to see his design on television this weekend.

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PRG XL Video wins AV Awards Best Live Event
29/09/2015 Video Technology

PRG XL Video wins Live Event of the Year at the AV Awards

PRG XL Video are delighted that their UK video team were winners at this year’s AV Awards. The award was collected by Lee Spencer and Phil Mercer at a glitzy ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday 25th September.

The successful project, a complex video technology solution for Coldplay’s ‘Ghost Stories’ Live, was jointly undertaken in March 2014 by XL Video and Mixed Emotions London, and won the Live Event of the Year category.

Coldplay's ‘Ghost Stories’ Live – a music show ‘in-the-round’ was staged at Sony Studios in Los Angeles, and was performed in front of an intimate crowd of around 750 people. It included a 360˚ ‘planetarium-style’ mapped projection around the circular walls and across the ceiling of the custom-built set, designed by Misty Buckley.

The live event was also made into a film, directed by Paul Dugdale, and broadcast on television worldwide, reaching an audience of several million viewers. It was later made available on DVD and Blu-Ray and went on to be nominated for a Grammy in the Best Music Film category.

Mercer commented: “We’re delighted to win this award for our work on the Coldplay show. The brief from the band’s Creative Director was challenging, and knowing the film of the show would be used to introduce the album to the world added extra pressure, but our collaboration with Mixed Emotions London created a clever solution, and the result looked fantastic, both at the live show, and on film.”

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08/09/2015 Press Release

Production Resource Group Extends Brand in Germany and United Kingdom to include XL Video

Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, today announced it will extend its branding in Germany and the United Kingdom to integrate the brand of the recently acquired XL Video Group.  The integrated companies will be known as PRG XL Video for a transition period while the operations are being merged. 

PRG will continue to use its brand name in all other countries across Europe and North America.  XL Video teams in those territories will be immediately transitioned into the PRG family. 

“Part of our decision to acquire XL Video was the premier value of its brand in many of our markets,” said Jeremiah J. Harris, PRG’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  “We recognize that the XL Video name and logo are synonymous with outstanding quality, customer service, and technical expertise in some of our territories, equal to that of PRG – and so after careful consideration, we have decided to operate with integrated branding for a transition period in those locations.”

“Our aim when joining the two companies was to create a strong foundation for continued growth,” said Stephan Paridaen, PRG’s President and Chief Operating Officer.  “We believe integrated branding in Germany and the United Kingdom is a terrific introduction of our combined capabilities to our customers and markets.”   

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Mock the Week topical panel show - August 2015. Photo: Jeff Bailey.

PRG XL Video Screens for Mock the Week Series 14

Working with designer, Jonathan Paul Green, PRG XL Video has supplied a package of video projection, screens and LCDs for the latest series of the topical panel game, Mock The Week, produced by Angst Productions for BBC Two.

The show, which is hosted by Dara O Briain and features panellists Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons, is filmed before a live studio audience shortly before its air date. This ensures that the topics for improvisation are relevant to current news subjects.

The studio incorporates a range of different video elements. The show logo incorporates a world globe, inspired by the show’s theme tune, ‘News Of The World’, by The Jam. This is recreated using a 6ft diameter Repro H screen, located behind O Briain, which is built into the set and rear-projected via one of XL Video’s Panasonic 10k projectors.

Upstage of the main improvisation area, a 16ft x 9ft Repro H screen, with Barco R12 unit supplying rear-projection, creates the backdrop for the comedians and displays info and graphics for the topics being performed.

PRG XL Video’s Senior Manager, TV & Film, Jeff Bailey selected Repro H screens for both broadcast projection screens as these minimise projection hot spots which can be picked up by the TV cameras.

To ensure the audience has a good view of all the action, XL Video also supplied a 10ft 8in x 6ft relay screen with a feed from the broadcast cameras. This is flown above the set at the front of the audience area.

Additionally, XL Video also provides three 15” LCD monitors for the host and panellists, set into the desks.

PRG XL Video’s Jeff Bailey comments: “We’re very happy to work with Jonathan Paul Green, and Production Manager, Sarah McHarry, to supply this latest series of Mock The Week.”

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Harmonium Project - Edinburgh International Festival 2015. Photo by Danny Paton

PRG XL Video Supports The Harmonium Project at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival

To create a spectacular opening for the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, 59 Productions, with the Edinburgh International Festival, created The Harmonium Project.

The free outdoor event drew in crowds of approximately 19,500 people and combined the music of John Adams’ choral work Harmonium, made especially by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus conducted by Peter Oundjian, with visually stunning projection mapping onto the Usher Hall in central Edinburgh.

The 34 minute performance of The Harmonium Project integrated scientific data captured with the support of the Centre of Design and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, who collaborated on the project to examine the effects singing has on both the performer and the listener.

Having worked with them successfully on Sinatra in the West End, and at the Manchester International Festival, 59 Productions sought out XL Video to realise their video design for The Harmonium Project.

XL Video’s Head of UK Theatre, Ed Cooper liaised with the team from 59 Productions – Creative Directors, Leo Warner and Richard Slaney; Technical Associate, Maximilien Spielbichler; and Production Manager, James Roxburgh – to create a technical specification for the exterior projection mapping of the beautiful Usher Hall building.

To cover the intricate columned façade of the Hall, XL Video employed fourteen of their Panasonic PT-DZ21KE projectors, with content fed by five of XL’s d3 media servers.

The show control, including triggers to the d3 servers, was all handled via a grandma MA2 Light desk and NPU, with back-up from a MA Command Wing.

The media server racks and set-up were managed by XL’s in-house Technician, Erica Frost, with on-site projectors and media servers handled by Craig Harrower.

A team of animators from 59 Productions, under the direction of Nicol Scott, created the content for the show, which was designed to perfectly fit the building.

XL Video’s Ed Cooper commented: “It was lovely to work with Leo, Richard and their team so soon after Sinatra. 59 Productions’ technical briefs are always very exacting, and provided our team with a range of challenges which they ably met. The show looked fantastic, and the crowd were delighted by the spectacle!”

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Cambridge Folk Festival 2015. Photo by Alison Barclay.

PRG XL Video Screens for the Folk in Cambridge

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!”

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Tate Turbine Festival 2015. Photo: Alison Barclay.

PRG XL Video Supports Icarus Wilson-Wright Projection at Tate Turbine Festival

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.”

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ABTT Theatre Show 2015

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.

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