XL Video Keeps Time with The Doctor

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XL Video is energising video equipment and crew - including projection, cameras, PPU, media server and a spectacular LED TARDIS - which is being used on the current Doctor Who Live "The Monsters Are Coming" UK arena tour for BBC Worldwide.

The dynamic, visual and fast moving show spins through time and space, featuring iconic Doctor Who monsters live onstage including the Daleks, Cybermen, Oods & Weeping Angels, along with Nigel Planer as "intergalactic showman" Vorgenson.

XL's Project Manager and the tour's venue Sound Designer is Rich Rowley, who has previously worked on numerous BBC productions. Rowley comments, "This has been a great collaboration between all technical and creative departments that has produced an amazing show of which we are all very proud".

Rowley continues, ”Projection is absolutely essential to the narrative, particularly with the Doctor being an onscreen character to link the main storyline, and one of the vital parameters for the sound system design was that it left clear sightlines to the stage from all audience angles.

The screen measures 44 ft wide by 22 ft high, and rear projection is achieved using 3 x Barco FLM 20HD projectors, overlaid to produce a super-bright image. With all the smoke, pyro, flame jets and other special effects igniting onstage, rear projection was the only practical option. The projectors are fitted with 0.8 wide angle lenses as distances behind the stage are often limited.

Image warp facilities are utilised extensively, both on the projectors and in the Pandora's Box media server to achieve the required perspective correction and line-up the images to the screen.

All the show video content - graphics, animations, the Doctor's VT play ins, etc, - is stored on the Pandora's Box media server and played out as real time composites often utilising 6 or more video layers to create the desired on screen result. Selected video elements are Time Code triggered via QLab to play sequences specifically cut to the music whilst others are triggered manually direct from the media server control, three timelines are used to provide this level of integration.

The show's video content was all specially created, featuring clips from different eras of the show as well as specially shot material featuring Matt Smith. The edit was handed to XL for the final compositing and show programming into the Pandora's Box by XL's David Mulcahy.

XL is supplying 2 Sony D55 cameras, one fitted with a long lens, positioned at front of house, and the other on a spider dolly in the pit. These are used to capture PiP footage that's mixed by Ray "Moose" Shaw using a Kayak switcher/PPU - and output to the main screen via the Pandora's Box, at strategic moments in the show. This is primarily of the various monsters walking through and interacting with the audience - which produces some great live entertainment for the whole audience.

Upstage right is the Doctor's famous TARDIS. This is created from 60 panels of XL's Pixled F11 LED screen which bursts into life at the end of the show, with the footage of the Doctor appearing on its sides and finally metamorphosing into the TARDIS itself - also via footage from the media servers.

The all-action mix of adventure, music and monsters is proving a massive hit with young and older Doctor Who fans nationwide, and includes a live 16 piece orchestra playing all the original scores written by Murray Gold.

Other technical suppliers to the tour are Bandit Lites UK (LD Mark Cunniffe) and ADLIB Audio.

For more press info on XL Video UK please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888 or Email ‘louise@loosplat.com'. To contact XL Video UK direct, call +44 (0)1442 849400 or check www.xlvideo.tv

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