XL Video UK supplied MiTrix screens, cameras, PPU, Catalyst digital media servers, and crew for Snow Patrol’s recent concert at Ward Park, Bangor in their home territory of Bangor County, Down, Northern Ireland.
The XL team was led by Jon Shrimpton, who manages the IMAG video content. The Ward Park event was staged in front of 30,000 people, and was the band’s last UK performance of their acclaimed Eyes Open tour, which kicked off in 2006.
The show’s video design, which included six moving Barco MiTrix screens onstage, was created by Snow Patrol’s visual and lighting team of Davy Sherwin and Robin Haddow. They collaborated closely with Shrimpton and the XL crew onsite and with XL’s project managers Jo Beirne and Phil Mercer.
Beirne & Mercer comment: “It’s been great being involved with this show. Looking back at the progression from the start of the tour to where we are now, it’s hard to believe that only 10 months ago, Snow Patrol were just beginning to incorporate video into their live shows.”
The main MiTrix surfaces were made up of three horizontal strips of 2 x 2 meter panels, formatted seven, six, and five panels wide, each fixed onto three moving trusses just in front of each other. Downstage were three separate 4 x 2 meter rectangles of MiTrix, also on moving trusses. All MiTrix screens were moved by a Kinesys automation system supplied by lighting contractors HSL and operated by Rupert Reynolds.
The StageCo stage was specially modified to allow all these MiTrix screens to completely disappear from view by dropping into the floor at strategic moments.
The side screens were made up of 36 modules of Lighthouse Technologies’ R16 LED, and were inverted L-shaped so they could run different aspect ratio and shaped clips. These were also used primarily for IMAG material, along with the three 4 x 2 meter MiTrix screens, while the three rear MiTrix strips almost exclusively contained playback footage and other specially-created content.
XL’s cameras were three Sony D50s positioned in the pit on track and dolly, plus one at FOH, complete with a 70 mm lens. These were joined by two Sony “robot cams” for more intimate shots of the band, one located in front of lead singer Gary Lightbody and one above the drums and keyboards. There was also a small Toshiba “lipstick cam” clamped to the drum kit.
For control, XL supplied one of their Grass Valley Kayak mixer/switchers on which Shripmton cut the IMAG, using all four of the Kayak’s multiple screen outputs on the show.
All camera feeds were sent to Robin Haddow and fed into one of two Catalyst digital media servers where they were affected and treated before being output to screen. Haddow did this from FOH using a WholeHog 2 lighting console from XL, which also ran all the pre-recorded content off a second Catalyst. XL additionally supplied a PixelMAD computer, which Haddow used to drive a series of LED Zip light battens.
Haddow and Sherwin created special video content for the show working in conjunction with Glasgow-based video artist Scott McDonald.
Shrimpton was also involved with elements of this, primarily a video of the journey between Belfast City Airport and Bangor that accompanies the song “Open Your Eyes.” He and Sherwin strapped a DV cam to the bottom of a jeep and drove the distance several times. They then took the footage into XL Video’s edit suite at their new Hemel Hempstead HQ and honed down the final version. The “Teenage Kicks” intro video was also re-edited here and given a new look.
Shrimpton described the critically acclaimed Ward Park performance as “Hugely enjoyable” to work on.
He was joined by a very strong XL team including engineer Alastair McDiarmid, Pixel ‘basher’ Hugh Davies-Webb (hardware and computers), Rob Wick and Roger Nelson (cameras/LED), cameramen Larn Poland and “Rocket” Ron Conley, and LED techs Icarus Wilson-Wright and Alain Demy.
LD Davy Sherwin comment, “As always, the kit, crew, and level of commitment from XL was brilliant.”