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.

ShangriLa at Glastonbury 2015. Photo by Nick Diacre
13/07/2015

PRG XL Video Creates Live Projection Mapping For Shangri-La Heaven at Glastonbury 2015

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.”

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The Vamps UK tour. Photo: Louise Stickland.
25/06/2015

PRG XL Video Meets The Vamps

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.

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Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. Photo by Scott Davies.
12/06/2015

PRG XL Video Puts Monsters on the Big Screen for Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

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.”

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09/06/2015

Production Resource Group Completes Acquisition of XL Video

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.

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Axwell /\ Ingrosso. Photo by Scott Davies.
08/06/2015

PRG XL Video supports Swedish DJ Maestros Axwell /\ Ingrosso

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.”

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BBC Wales General Election Coverage - May 2015. Photo by Jeff Bailey.
05/06/2015

PRG XL Video On Screen with BBC Wales General Election Coverage

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!”

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Everyman - National Theatre. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
02/06/2015

PRG XL Video Supplies Curved LED Wall For Everyman at the National Theatre

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.

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Joy Williams.
18/05/2015

Ethereal light show for Joy Williams

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.

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P&O Britannia naming ceremony. Photo by Graham Carlow.
13/05/2015

XL Video Supply Launch of P&O Cruises Newest Cruise Ship, Britannia

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.”

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XL Video logo
06/05/2015 Press Release

Production Resource Group Announces Plans to Acquire XL Video

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.

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02/04/2015

Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall

PRG were delighted to supply lighting and rigging for the seven-night extravaganza of music and comedy at London’s Royal Albert Hall in March in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. PRG’s account manager Yvonne Donnelly-Smith, project manager Martin Bellamy and crew chief Gordon Torrington facilitated lighting designer Tom Kenny’s vision of a versatile rig that could be easily adapted to accommodate each act. The equipment was supplied by our Longbridge location and included Clay Paky Sharpy beams and ALEDA B-EYE K10s, Vari*lite 3000 spots, GLP X4s and MR16 sunstrips as well as custom gobos featuring the charity’s logo.

Now in its fifteenth year, artists performing at the event included The Who, Van Morrison, Paul Weller, Noel Fielding, Stereophonics and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, most of which are regular supporters of the annual fundraising event.

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Cisco Live! 2015 in Milan. Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes
18/03/2015

XL Supplies Cisco Live! 2015

XL Video returned to the gleaming modernity of the MiCo Milano Congressi conference centre in downtown Milan to provide various video solutions including projection and control, cameras / multiple PPU and crew, together with general AV support for the Cisco Live! 2015 event, working for global experience marketing agency, George P. Johnson.

Cisco Live! is the industry's premier education and training event for IT, networking and communications professionals, and XL Video’s team was project managed by Nick Askew and Chris Ellis. Their brief included the provision of a diverse selection of AV set-ups to 42 breakout areas, some for up to 300 people.

An impressive main room hosted the plenary sessions and accommodated 3,500 delegates. A primary presentation stage was built in the centre of the room and connected via a runway to a satellite ‘demo’ stage that was used for product demonstrations and further presentations. The two stages and catwalk allowed speakers to get right in amongst the audience.

Eight large custom projection screens – all 10 metres wide and in 16:9 format - were installed in each corner and along each side of the room, their positions calculated to allow all 3,500 people attending the sessions an optimum view. Positioning these screens in relation to the seating layout was one of the biggest challenges when planning the event.

Numbered 1 – 8, the even numbered screens showed one set of content while the odd numbered ones showed different footage – all related to the presentation and onstage action.

The screens were each fed by a doubled-up pair of Barco 26K projectors for maximum intensity, and rigged on corresponding trusses above the central stage, focussed on their specific screen ‘target’.

A Millumen media server was used for storing and replaying the playback video content and the presentation opening and closing VTs. It was chosen for the layer flexibility needed to run the show and the intuitive re-colouring which was applied live to some of the content to correspond with specific elements of the presentation … including lasers.

The server outputs were fed to a Barco Encore system operated by Jonathan Bond who co-ordinated the screen management. Also feeding into this – via several fibre lines between the stages - were multiple laptops running Keynote and PowerPoint along with various devices and demo sources.

Two of XL’s Sony HXC-100 broadcast cameras, both fitted with 86x lenses, were positioned at the FOH area and at one end of the room with two more RF controlled HXC-100s mounted on pedestals around the central stage.

In addition to these, feeds from four Bradley CamBall 2s – two on stands in the audience, and two overhead on trusses – were routed into two PPUs, a Panasonic HS400 and an HS 450.

The HS450 was mixed by Jerry Rosenfield and fed into the Barco Encore for outputting to screen. The Panasonic HS400 mix was cut by Jonathan Chard working for Cisco TV, and fed to Cisco’s web TV streams.

XL also supplied six Samsung LCD comfort monitor screens around the room.

Nick Askew worked closely with George P. Johnson’s Production Manager John Carss and Executive Producer, Ben Hawkins to deliver the Keynotes.

Working onsite in around over 40 areas simultaneously was a challenge, together with fitting all the kit in the main plenary room. Rigging the projectors in the precise positions needed to line them up with the screens took time, patience and entailed working around lots of other departments all needing to get their equipment in place.

All Credit to John Carss for his careful room design and detailed drawings!

The logistics of kitting out 42 x breakout areas also required detailed advanced planning.

XL built bespoke ‘switch boxes’ for each of the breakout areas which gave the presenters an intuitive and user-friendly ‘button box’ interface so they could quickly and seamlessly hook their laptops and other devices into the installed AV systems. These systems are dubbed ‘RCPXL-10’.

Managed for XL by Chris Ellis, the impressive list of equipment supplied for the breakout areas included 37 x projectors, 18 x 80 and 90 inch screens, 91 x Lightware HDbase-T DVI transmission systems, 12 x Lightware DVI matrixes, 110 x 23 inch Monitors, 55 x Image Pro II/PDS switchers and 55 x XL Video RCPXL switcher controllers.

Working with GPJ Production Managers Dave Johnstone and Henry Davey and their team of Technical Room Managers, Chris ensured that all the equipment was in the right room at the right time. The logistics to make this a streamlined process included customised flightcase labels and multiple truck drops at different parts of the venue. Chris was ably assisted onsite by David Roberts and Greg Scobles, with each PM taking charge of an area of the venue.

XL supplied 152 panels of Unilumin 3.9mm LED to form a 38m x 1m LED strip on to which images and event information were displayed using a Coolux Pandora’s Box media server system. Graham Vinal and Gareth Manicom were responsible for the screen installation and operation which required diligent adjustments to ensure the differently angled parts of the wall met as closely as possible. Nick Diacre operated the Pandora’s Box, working with the GPJ team to create content and recommend the best use of Cisco’s media assets.

“It was great to be asked by Mark (Bannister, GPJ Technical Director) and the team to come back for a second year on Cisco Live!.  It allowed us to build on year one, making tweaks and improvements that helped the show to run even better this year. We couldn’t do it without the excellent crew involved, with everyone from all departments working together to ensure every detail is right. Hopefully we’ll get to do it all again in Berlin next year!”

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Tech Ed 2014 in Barcelona. Photo: Xavier Vila, courtesy of Microsoft Inc.
05/03/2015

XL Video Supplies TechEd Europe and Convergence Europe 2014

XL Video supplied a substantial projection system and control together with HD cameras / PPU, HD LED screen, several hundred monitors, networking and fibre infrastructure plus audio systems for two high profile Microsoft events staged back-to-back at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via convention centre in Barcelona, Spain.

TechEd is Microsoft’s premier event for IT professionals and enterprise developers, and this was followed immediately by Convergence, the Microsoft community’s chance to network with other users, share and expand their experience and realise their potential.

XL’s team was led by Project Manager Nick Askew assisted by Chris Ellis and Dick Crabbe and they were working for live event consultancy Nteractive headed up by Technical Director Matt Brownfield, Technical Consultant Andrew Vass and acclaimed Sound Designer Colin Pink (a recent TPi Award nominee).

The Nteractive team paid close attention to all video and audio aspects in all areas, from comms system down to video-switcher labelling, and worked closely with XL’s HODs and crew to make sure all aspects were delivered to their required standards.

Matt Brownfield comments, “At Nteractive we have very exacting standards and high production values. To deliver a Microsoft event at this level is a significant technical achievement. XL Video has the equipment and packages it to allow us the optimum configuration and setup for the systems, and also provides the right people to install and operate to the levels we require.”

The format for TechEd comprised a Keynote space – taking over Hall 6 of the Fira and featuring a primary conference session on one of the four days attended by around 7,000 people. There were then multiple breakout areas accommodating anything from 400 to 1100 people.

The projection system for the Keynote comprised four large screens, two at 21 metres wide left and right of the stage area, with another two at 14 metres wide functioning as repeater screens mid-way down the auditorium to ensure that the large audience could get a clear view of the presentations wherever they were sat in the hall.

Sixteen Barco HDF W26 machines were used to produce the edge-blended images. One of the major technical challenges for the XL crew was achieving the high clarity and definition on the software code-heavy screen graphics using double edge-blended projections, a task that takes skill, precision and time.

Multiple demo and presentation sources plus XL’s Coolux quad and dual Pandora’s Box media servers operated by Chris Bowman, were switched to the screens via a Barco Encore screen management system operated by Andrew Vass.

Cutting the camera mix on a Grass Valley Karrera PPU was Jonathan Chard, and feeding into this were four Sony HXC-100 operated units - two positioned at FOH, one on a rolling spider at the front of the stage and the fourth on a wireless steadicam rig – plus one of XL’s HDiye minicams and a Pixel Power Clarity live production graphics system.

The Karrera provided a mix to all screens in the hall, while separate TXs were sent to an OB truck broadcasting live to Microsoft’s production studios at their headquarters and also web-streamed by Tri-Digital.

The Karrera integrated Grass Valley Turbo hard disk players which were used for wipes and to store visual stings for the broadcast feed, triggered via pre-programmed macros on the Karrera.

Multiple backstage and comfort monitors were fed via 40 x fibre / CAT systems and 64 ways of DVI matrix also supplied by XL.

To deliver crisp, clear high clarity audio, XL provided d&b V-series and Q-series loudspeakers and a Yamaha CL5 console, operated by the aforementioned Colin Pink. Comprehensive Clearcom Helix and Eclipse comms systems ensured that all departments had reliable and discreet communications with up to twelve independent comms channels available.

Breaking Out

The breakout rooms were dotted around the Fira in Halls 8 and 8.1. There were 21 in total accommodating the various capacities, and additional video-over-IP relays were activated for the most popular sessions so they could be seen and heard in the over-flow rooms.

Each breakout room contained at least one Panazonic DZ12000K, DZ13K or DZ21K projector to provide high definition displays for the small lines of multiple code text and demo content being displayed.

A Barco PDS-902 switcher and preview monitor was deployed in each room, together with an Interspace Industries touch-operated count-down clock, with about 60 Fibre / CAT transport systems in use across all of the rooms. Presenters were hopping from room to room, so it was imperative that all the desks and switchers worked and looked identical, right down to the input labels and available cables and input adapters!

A custom audio system was designed for each break-out room, each utilising different combinations of d&b E3, Ci80, Q-7 and T-10 loudspeakers, the exact choice determined by the position of the flown trusses which also had to facilitate lighting.

Each room was assigned an audio engineer, while a team of ‘floating’ video techs were on hand to assist presenter’s set-up and configure their devices and systems to appear correctly onscreen.

Over in Hall 7, XL supplied around 60 screens ranging from 32 to 65 inches in size for the Microsoft Solutions Exchange exhibition space, together with multi-touch solutions and advanced switching for two theatre areas.

Also in Hall 7 three Instructor-Led Labs each had its own sound system and selection of  65 inch and 55 inch monitors, all driven by another Barco PDS-902 switcher configured to mirror the breakout room set ups.

Between Halls 6 & 7 was the Channel 9 studio, a small TV facility established to handle virtual broadcasts and webcasts to remote audiences outside of the conference relay screens (that were next to the studio structure). XL’s brief was to provide a set-up that could convert multiple PC sources and four Bradley CAMBall 2 robocams to Microsoft’s own TriCaster streaming system. The cameras were operated by XL’s Adrian Grau and Bjorn Parry.

Just outside the TechEd exhibition area was a large media wall for which XL supplied a 7.6 metre wide by 1.9 metre high Unilumin 2.5 mm LED screen. This displayed show sponsor messages, presentations with fine text and demos in native pixel resolution.

A Barco Encore system run by Alex Thomas was at the core of this. The XL crew in this area also looked after 26 x 46 inch and 10 x 55 inch monitors displaying info. relating to assorted room sessions, together with event-wide messages.

TechEd ran for four days – and within that, Keynote for one day – which was then followed by a quick turnaround for Convergence.

The major changes were the reduction of Keynote Hall 6 to a 4000 capacity venue and the removal of the repeater screens; Hall 8.1’s breakout kit was de-rigged and this became an exhibition space with some of Hall 7’s equipment being re-deployed in there; the media Wall and digital signage was moved to the ‘new’ exhibition space now in Hall 8.1… And the Channel 9 studio was dismantled!

As well as organising trucking for five artics of equipment from XL’s UK HQ in Hertfordshire to Barcelona, Askew co-ordinated around 50 video and audio engineers and technicians on site. A serious amount of pre-prepping went into ensuring that this mammoth task and the extremely intense build-up schedules ran seamlessly and efficiently on site.

Nick Askew comments, “It was great to be working with the TechEd and Convergence teams and the time, attention to detail and hard work by all departments and suppliers really showed, making both events hugely successful. On shows like these, aside from the quality and presentation of the equipment, we will be judged by the skill and ability of the many crew - from warehouse to HOD – who all did us proud”.

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Lighting
22/02/2015

The Music Group Team will be supported with $50M investment in new video equipment

Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG) the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announced today that it is combining several business units to create the PRG Music Group. This new division will be under the leadership of Mickey Curbishley, CEO PRG Music, and will focus on providing integrated video and lighting solutions for tours, festivals, and concert events around the world.

“We are bringing together leading industry veterans, technology experts, and the operational know-how of PRG Concert Touring, PRG Nocturne, and Chaos Visual Productions into a single integrated organization,” says Curbishley. “The PRG Music Group is and will be the ‘go-to’ production resource for our clients. The goal is simple—we want to make it as easy as possible to do business with PRG.”

In addition to integrating the three teams, PRG is making an immediate investment in the latest video technology to ensure that PRG clients are the best equipped in the industry. “We are investing over $50 million in new gear”, continues Curbishley. “We are pairing new equipment with our newly combined team to better serve our clients. We have some of the top talent in the business and by combining these three teams into one group we are now stronger than the sum of our parts.” Bob Brigham, President of PRG Nocturne states, “We are making a major investment in new, state-of-the-art video technology, including HD flypacks and cameras that integrate the latest technology from Grass Valley, Ross Video, and Fujinon; additional PRG Nocturne LED video modules and our proprietary LED processing. These systems will be based in our facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. PRG clients in the concert touring, film, TV, and corporate events will see a remarkable leap forward with these PRG Nocturne HD systems.”

John Wiseman, Senior Vice President of PRG Nocturne, agrees that the new HD systems extend PRG Nocturne’s industry leadership. “For years, PRG Nocturne has defined the state-of-the-art for video technology in our industry having supported acts like Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, KISS, Linkin Park, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, and many others. The new HD systems along with our new V-12 LED video modules, new line of V Series video processors, additional V-Thru transparent LED video panels, and the exceptional service delivered by our talented staff establish a new standard for the markets we serve.”

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