XL Video supplied a completely integrated video package to the 2009 metal-tastic Download Festival at Donnington Park, Derby, UK.
This year XL's brief included 72 hours of live internet streaming, a broadcast spec, HD camera system and screens package for Stage 1. Other services facilitated by XL included an HD record for Live Nation TV and VH1, MMS/SMS relay to screen, plus a standard definition camera/PPU package for Stage 2.
XL's project manager Chris Saunders - working on his 6th Download - led the video crew of 34. In recent years, Download's requirement for video/IT entertainment services has expanded voraciously - in line with the demands of its info-hungry audience.
Live simultaneous web cast
This was a first for Download. XL's IMAG camera relays from stage 1 flash encoded and sent footage via satellite to the data server feeding promoter Live Nation's website. The 72 hour live webcasting that hit the ether involved bands agreeing to allowing their performances to be streamed for the wider enjoyment of fans around the globe.
Viewing figures peaked on the Friday night, with 23,000 tuning in to share Faith No More's rocking main stage set
The Stage 1 camera and PPU package was fully HD, with XL providing 6 LDK8000 cameras - two positioned at FOH, 2 in the pit on track-and-dolly, one hand-held onstage and a Jimmy Jib. The live mix was cut by Ruary MacPhie using an GV Kayak HD switcher.
The LED screens comprised two 6 x 6 panel Lighthouse R7 high resolution units flanking left and right of the stage. The bottom row of panels (1 high by 6 wide) was operated as a completely separate screen surface, used exclusively for the MMS/SMS service. SMS & MMS's -to-screen have been a feature for some years at Download, - and produced some imaginative results from the audience! Messages were texted to a central server, where they were mediated and then EMailed to one of XL Video's computers. From there, they were converted into the correct graphic formats and output to screen.
One of XL's Barco B10 mobile truck screens was positioned at the back of the FOH tower, to cover the viewing area at the back of Stage 1.
On Stage 2 - also outdoor - the XL package consisted of 3 cameras - two in the pit with a hand-held onstage. There were two 5 x 4 panel Lighthouse R7 left and right screens, complete with a GV Kayak mixer, and the mix was directed by Dan Ormerod.
HD Camera Record
The XL team also undertook a full HD camera recording of the main stage commissioned by Mike Kaufman at Live Nation TV for subsequent broadcast by popular satellite channel VH1.
Additionally, XL supplied numerous plasma screens used for relay throughout the artist areas and press centre.
Chris Saunders comments, "This was a perfect example of how well it can work when the broadcast, screen and web elements are all brought together into a truly integrated package by an organizer with a clear overview. It was a pleasure to be back working with John Probyn and Hannah Farnham again! Long may it continue!"