No Doubt’s video design comes from the mind of Sophie Muller, who also creates the band’s (and Stefani’s solo) music videos. This had to go with the Googie architectural theme of the overall production design. “We all sit around—the band, Sophie, and I—and talk about video and set lists and what we want to do,” says creative director and production designer Ray Woodbury. “The Green Hippo guys gave Sophie a demo at her house in London,” which led to the use of a couple of Hippotizer HDs and a Hippotizer Stage unit.
Content is a mix of prebuilt footage and IMAG picked up during the show from one of several cameras (including three at FOH, two robocams, and a handheld). It plays across a 48’x22’ array of 312 Winvision 8mm LED tiles, built into custom touring frames, fed by two Barco FLM R20+ DLP projectors and using a Thomson GV Kayak 2ME SD/HD Video Mixer. Martin Professional Stagebar 54s on the over-stage truss and densely packed Acclaim Lighting X-Tubes under the stage (both pixel-mapped) act as a low resolution extensions of the high resolution video wall, while five Barco/High End DL.3s in the air saturate the white set with additional effects and content. Howard Shur, from Muller’s team, also created much of the content. The video package was provided by Chaos Visual.
“The band has a lot to do with the programming,” says Woodbury. “They would come out while we were programming and discuss cues. They’re really happy with this show.”
Sean Cagney programmed the video that drives the main wall and the LEDs, using an MA Lighting grandMA alongside lighting director Jesse Blevins and his grandMA (the show is actually run on one console, with the other used for backup). “I got added to the party last—about two weeks before loadin they realized they needed a dedicated video programmer—so I had to play catch-up a bit,” says Cagney. “It took me about four days into tech to get all the parts that we needed and all the addressing straightened out.”
Since the lighting and video are completely intertwined, and the Hippotizer media servers are driven completely by the grandMAs, one of the consoles does duty pixel-mapping about half of the lighting rig. “The great advantage of linking everything to video is that, by rendering out simplified versions of the main pieces, colors move through everything in the set with the video, instead of hours spent trying to match colors and timings—hours that don’t exist in two weeks of tech,” says Cagney. “It can get tricky, then, turning around and trying to use the pixel-mapped rig just for lighting using video layers, but there’s plenty of ways of making strobes and chases using some simple stills and the Hippotizer effects engine.”
Cagney spent a good deal of time on the pixel-mapped surfaces, he says, “glowing the set, scene-to-scene using the X-Tubes, layering in bump buttons to accent the set, using the Stagebars to accent the music, and crafting more effects for the DL3s to uniquely hit the white set with specific video images. Also, the high-res wall had very specific content for about half the show but wound up needing scenic content added to it for almost all the others and a live input for two of songs.”
Cagney says building the show was interesting from the perspective of having so much video technology at his fingertips yet having to dial it down a bit into being just scenic elements. “Even still, so much of it seemed over the top until the first show,” he says. “It really needs thousands of people singing along to the songs to put it in the proper perspective.”
And he credits part of the success of the look of the show to one of the guys back at TMB, Green Hippo’s US distributor. “Matt Waters has truly mastered the art of building Hippotizer racks, from both a functional and reliable perspective, to an ergonomic and even artful way of laying them out—better than anything I ever built, and he came by and hung out until super-late, massaging a few changes into the system in a totally professional way,” Cagney says.
Stay tuned for additional coverage on the No Doubt, including Butch Allen’s lighting design.
312 Winvision 8mm LED tiles (48’x 22’ wall) in custom touring frames
140 Martin Professional Stagebar 54
Acclaim Lighting X-Tubes
2 Green Hippo Hippotizer HD Media Server
1 Green Hippo Hippotizer Stage Media Server
2 Barco FLM R20+ DLP Projector
1 Thomson GV Kayak 2ME SD/HD Video Mixer
2 12’x16’ Screen
3 70:1 FOH Cameras
1 Handheld Camera