Arctic Winter for XL Video

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XL Video UK continues its close working relationship with UK's favourite indie rockers The Arctic Monkeys, who are on the final European stages of their "Humbug" world tour which originally started mid way through 2009.

The band's lighting and visuals designer Andi Watson specified the video elements, which are designed to work as an integral and congruous part of a carefully crafted live look and feel for the band.

XL's project manager is Des Fallon. He says, "Andi is one of the most talented and creative designers in the world and it's always interesting, educational and a great pleasure to work on his shows. It is also good to be working with Production Manager Peter van der Velde and his team again."

Watson's design features two 3:1 vertical aspect ratio screens either side of stage, which are made up from XL's Pixled F11 LED product, chosen primarily for its light weight and extreme brightness. The screen sizes varies slightly depending on the venue, and in the largest configuration are 5 F11 tiles wide and 16 high.

The screens are rigged left and right of stage in asclose proximity to the stage as possible, so the evolving onscreen movement and texturing can have a direct relationship with the band onstage

There are no moving lights on the rig, and the band were also really keen to avoid any "video cliches", however also appreciated the need for some video reinforcement to bring them right into their audience. They wanted something totally different, so this suited Watson's inventive and left-field style perfectly. Video is intelligently woven into the show, presenting an essentially 'old skool' starting point in a contemporary and unique way that functions creatively and technically as an extension to the lighting rig via the seamless fusion of light and image.

The video sources are 12 surveillance quality mini cams, all fed into a Catalyst media server, 24 layers of which is output to screen - via a Barco Image Pro signal processor - by Watson using his grandMA lighting console.

The cameras are split into 8 remote controlled 'Domes' and 4 static, all of which have been heavily customised. The 8 robo-cams are positioned all over the stage and operated by 4 crew members stationed side-stage. There are 4 cameras mounted on poles at the downstage corners of the stage, and 4 along the front edge.

The dirty and rawly graded images of the cameras produce exactly the type of visual field and quality that Watson desired to bring an organic 'analogue ambience' to the screens - which also show different pictures left and right.

The images come into Catalyst as monochrome and receive all their editing, colouring and other treatments in there. This includes the creation of a lot of bold, unusual duotones transforming greyscales into highly chromatic and provocative moments bursting with colour and attitude.

The show's creative results have been highly acclaimed. The video show is different, not imposing and also completely accessible to the audience, and as it should be, an essential part of the visual enjoyment of the gig. Peter van de Velte comments, "Andi is extremely thorough, has a great eye for detail and very high standards."

On working with XL Video, he says, "It's always great to do business with Des and XL. He really works hard to find a way to make things work well and without compromise within my budget. The kit, service and the crew are always excellent".

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