This summer, U2 may have the Barco MiSPHEREs adding visual impact to their tour, but Coldplay has Radical Lighting’s new NG1 digital media server. The server is debuting on Coldplay’s Twisted Logic world tour, and used to organize and control the extensive video content designed by show director Bryan Leitch and lighting designer Nick Whitehouse.
During Coldplay’s 2003-2004 tour, Radical Lighting’s RADlite media server was at the core of the show. Leitch and Whitehouse chose the NG1 due to their positive experience with RADlite. "Using the latest product from Radical was a logical progression," says Whitehouse. "We also wanted to do something really big with video."
High-definition video images are beamed onto an upstage screen for approximately a third of the set. The NG1 stores an innovative combination of live IMAG footage and assorted playback sources, much of which is abstract so as not to distract from the show.
Radical Lighting customized the system for Coldplay to allow four SDI video inputs to be run through the NG1. They are running eight camera feeds into it. during the show, Whitehouse chooses which feeds to output to the centerstage screen via an Avolites Diamond 4 lighting console. The Diamond 4 treats each layer of the NG1 as a fixture.
Each layer will play back any camera or pre-recorded clip. The four camera layers and two playback layers (one for HD video and one for keystone correction) can be run live. Each layer allows a soft mask, a video wipe, and color correction specific to that layer; there is also a 3D surface on which to map, as well as pan, tilt, zoom, and rotation on three axes.
In addition to the four main IMAG cameras mixed by video director Alan Yates, Whitehouse has two additional mini cams clamped to the side of the piano, one on the drum kit and a roaming hand-held onstage. These cameras are output to the two 7mx4m Unitek V9 LED screens side screens.
The NG1’s hi-def sources are output directly to two Christie Roadie 25K lumen projectors and beamed onto an upstage 20mx9.5m white cloth backdrop. The cloth is weighted to form a convex screen.
Whitehouse and Leitch created all the playback/pre-recorded footage–about 30 clips in total–shooting new footage as well as utilizing some standard NG1 library images.
According to Whitehouse, the flexibility and imaginative scope of controlling both lights and video from one user interface is essential to creating a flowing and integrated visual environment for Coldplay’s performance.
NG1 is the first release in Radical Lighting’s "click and fit" range, designed to ultimately offer a broad spectrum of streamlined products, each specializing in a different display control need. Each NG unit will operate as a stand-alone program in addition to merging with its associates as a "build your own" digital media server. NG1 can be operated on the fly via any DMX desk. Along with the rest of the lighting equipment, the NG1 is being supplied by leading rental company Siyan.