XL Video UK renewed its acquaintance with dance gurus Basement Jaxx, supplying all the video kit for their current UK arena tour.
This is Basement Jaxx's largest tour to date, amalgamating the talents of their LD “Leggy” (Jonathan Armstrong) and video director Nick Fry into a dynamic creative team. The two worked very closely in their respective departments to produce energy-pumping show visuals that matched the band's full-on, action-packed dance attack.
X£ project manager Des Fallon says, "Once again it's refreshing to see something truly original and unique happening through the close collaboration between video and lighting."
It was Jaxx “ringmaster” Felix Buxton in particular who initiated the idea of an upstage video screen. He specifically wanted a lightsource that could be used to silhouette the band and has always been right behind the band’s penchant for having a big theatrical look to their live performances.
Jaxx have used some format of video elements in their shows for some time but this time around an essential part of upping the production ante included the addition of a live camera mix for the first time.
When Nick Fry came onboard, his rule for the six-camera mix was to forget everything conventional he'd ever learned about IMAG and make it wild, exiting, and off the wall. "Every show makes me smile," he comments, saying that it's often a real challenge keeping up with the hectic pace of the set which gets more chaotic as it progresses.
Fry adds that it's been enormous fun and great to work with an artist who is prepared to let him get really experimental. "The show is 'live' and ‘alive’ in every sense," he states.
Both Leggy and Fry have really enjoyed the chance of working together, "I really hope we'll do more of it in the future," says Leggy.
XL supplied 84 panels of Unitek 17 mm LED screen for the back wall, chosen for its light weight and rig-ability; four Sony D50s cameras; and two mini-cams which were clamped onto locations near the drum and keyboard positions.
Fry used one of their GV Kayak vision mixers—he and Richard Turner built the system—and Turner also programmed the Doremi hard drives storing the playback footage.
Downstream of the Kayak was a Magic DVE, used for creating masks and special effects. This was controlled by a Barco Events Manager computer, which also received timecode/click from Buxton that triggered the playback, run through a Matrix router. The playback footage featured a mix of classic Basement Jaxx material amassed over the last five years.
The band also wanted a proper stage set for this tour, so Leggy designed a multi-layered series of metallic risers with a staircase entrance at the rear using an assortment of stock risers from Lite Structures. "We very much stepped up the production this time around," he says. This went hand-in-hand with his hardcore rock 'n' roll looking lighting rig, dominated visually by four large upstage/downstage trussing 'claws' that were moved on Kinesys motion control system.