Both XL Video and Bandit Lites are supporting one of Britain’s most popular you bands, McFly, on their current arena tour.

XL has worked on previous McFly tours and the account is handled for them by Phil Mercer, who says, “We had a very specific brief in terms of the design and configuration of the ‘upstage video element’. With an extensive inventory of the latest LED technology, XL made this a reality.”

Peter Barnes was brought in by Production North as artistic director. He’s created an innovative video design based around a large onstage screen amalgamating Barco S-Lite 10XP high resolution LED screen panels and Barco O-Lite low res modules, arranged in a jagged edged chequerboard effect.

This is primarily used for playback video sources stored on two Catalyst v 3.2 systems supplied by XL and triggered via the WholeHog II lighting desk being run by lighting director Graham Feast. One Catalyst feeds the O-Lite and the other the S-Lite.

XL is also supplying two 16’ x 12’ side screens, fed by front projected Barco SLM R12+s, rigged onto T shaped trusses, which are used for the three-camera IMAG mix directed by Dan Ormerod.

Ormerod–his first McFly tour as director–is using one of XL’s GV Kayak DD mixer switcher units, and a Magic DVE for digital effects. Additional video-link playback material is stored a Doremi hard drives and a Betacam SX machine.

The camera system consists of three Sony DF50 cameras–one with 55 mm lens positioned FOH, and two with standard lenses on track and dolly in the pit. One of the pit cameras is also moved and used as a hand-held onstage at specific moments. There’s also a Sony PD150 DV cam trained on the drum kit.

Barnes produced all the Catalyst footage himself, bringing an animator onboard for specific elements, including a lengthy sequence of sea-based graphics for the uplifting surf section of the set that kicks in early on. Flipping dolphins, undulating octopi, breaking waves, swirling fish, and other aqua-orientated graphics are reproduced in the style of surf artist Drew Brophy.

As for the lighting, the contract is managed for Bandit by Lester Cobrin, who says “The design is based on three trusses, underpinned by the fundamental principals of rock ‘n’ roll lighting–keeping things fast, adrenalized, exciting, and matching while complimenting the explosive energy levels of the band onstage.”

The rear truss has six custom built trusses hanging vertically downwards from it, providing architectural definition to the higher part of the visual picture, and also framing the jagged edged video screens. Each vertical truss contains Martin Professional MAC 2K Profiles and Washes mounted inside. These are matched by another four truss towers standing vertically on the floor, each with a MAC 2K Profile on top and toned with JTE PixePARs shining up from the base.

There are over 60 moving lights–all MAC 2K Spots and Washes–dotted around the trusses and across the floor, plus four HES StudioColors strapped onto the back railings of the ego ramps at the sides.

The design effectively amplifies the rig making it look much larger than it actually is, while also allowing Feast the freedom to retain plenty of looks and effects for the final third of the show which builds to a dramatic, pyro-fuelled crescendo.

Other than the moving lights, Bandit is supplying PixelPARs for truss toners, Atomic strobes and 2K Lycian FOH spots. The downstage edge of the stage has a transparent Plexi-decking floor, and each of the three mic positions is under-lit with another three MAC 2K’s and three Atomic Strobes, Wildfire UV’s and three 4-lamp bars of Raylites arranged in a horseshoe shape.

Bandit also supplied all trussing and motors for the lighting points being rigged by tour production rigger Mark Wade from Over The Top Rigging.

Feast acknowledges the crucial role played in preparing the kit beforehand, “As usual, everything coming out of Bandit’s yard is spot on–they put great emphasis on this and it really pays off” he says, adding “The crew are fantastic and the service and support is second to none.”