As Kings of Leon stepped up to their first UK arena tour, creative director Paul Normandale, video director Phil Woodhead, and lighting designer Ali Bale pooled imaginations to create a unique, provocative, and memorable show with a lasting visual impact.
XL Video supplied all the video equipment and crew for the tour, including cameras, a Barco MiTrix screen, projection, and PPU. The account is project managed for XL Video by Des Fallon, who says, “Ivan has pulled together a great team again. It’s always a pleasure to work on one of his tours, working with Paul, Phil and Judy is cool—we all clicked from the off.”
The cameras were all "lipstick" cams, dotted about the stage in odd and apparently random places. Four of them were Sony robotic fixtures with a series of preset positions, operated live by engineer Gerard Corey during the show.
All the cameras were fed to a pair of 14-foot by 10-foot projection screens either side of the stage, configured so Woodhead could output up to four separate images of the band simultaneously, using the EMEM timeline facility in his GVG Kayak mixer to program all the shot changes.
This gave him the basic ability to mix in plenty of abstract shots—including elements like VU meters, backs of legs, feet moving, etc—with the more focused and directed ones coming from the robotic cameras. With the Kayak controlling the camera shots, Woodhead utilized two Magic DVEs for positioning and effects.
The side screen mix was entirely in black and white. The idea was that it framed the onstage screens and action, which, along with the lighting, pulsed with color and energy.
The MiTrix was flown in three separate strips, approximately 23 feet long by one three feet wide which moved subtly throughout the show every three or four songs. This could be fed by four live camera signals and/or two Catalyst digital media servers operated by Phil Haynes via a Hog iPC lighting console at FOH.
All the graphics material stored on the Catalyst were commissioned by the band and produced by graphic artist Judy Jacobs.
There were also some quirky moments during the set. For My Party lead singer Caleb Followill used a special effects mic with a fitted camera and a smashed lens, (Woodhead found it discarded in the warehouse) capturing his lips perfectly in focus whilst blurring everything else beautifully. This was also one of the moments in the show when the IMAG mix streamed over from the sides onto the MiTrix. Most of the time it stayed on the side screens allowing space more of the graphics and effects to appear on the MiTrix panels.
"This is a great example of lighting and video fusing together to create a complete visual look, " says Woodhead. He, Phil Haynes, and Gerard Corey were joined by XL crew Alain Demey (MiTrix tech) and projectionist Ritchie Jowell.