Projected Image Digital has sold a second RADlite digital media server system to leading live video specialists XL Video, the video hardware suppliers for the final UK leg of Ronan Keating’s 2003 Destination world tour. The RADlite was specified by lighting designer Peter Barnes, who has been a great advocate and experimentalist with the RADlite system and its impressive effects potential, since first using it last year. Always a pioneer of using video in new and imaginative ways onstage, Barnes has integrated RADlite on Blue, Will & Gareth, S-Club 7, and Blazin’ Squad tours. This time Barnes relished the opportunity to develop RADlite further, evolving its use as a visual effect working with a solo artist.
Stage and video design for the final leg of the tour, which started back in 2002, was a collaboration between Barnes and production manager Iain Whitehead of Production North. It consisted of five vertical upstage panels of Westerhagen low-resolution LED screen used as an elegant architectural framing for the performance area. It also allowed them to have another layer of visuals behind the screens, in the form of a star cloth.
RADlite graphics effects work particularly well on this type of low-res surface. Barnes and tour lighting director Graham Feast defined the show’s visual aesthetic by using the RADlite as a lighting effect. With the application of many different RADlite looks, the LED panels were used as dramatic blocks of color, as scene setters, for movement, as abstract swirling wallpaper, and as light sources in their own right, complimented by the regular lighting fixtures on the rig. The RADlite effects were sometimes confined to the individual panels, other times they spilled and worked in unison across all five panels.
One of the simplest but most dramatic RADlite moments was at the start of "Rollercoaster," when the RADlite spelled out RONAN in giant letters across the five screens. Barnes also created some special new playback footage for this leg of the tour, stored on the RADlite hard drive, and then treated and manipulated by the system to produce abstract but vaguely recognizable scenes like trees and landscapes. Other footage included spectacular literal images like clouds, given an almost trippy appearance when beamed onto the Westerhagen panels.
Feast triggered the RADlite cues from the Icon Show Controller lighting desk via DMX to the RADlite computer itself, sitting in XL Video’s rack backstage, along with the rest of their digital PPU gear. XL also supplied a four-camera live shoot, directed by Ruary MacPhie, which was beamed onto two side-stage screens.
Feast welcomes this new genre of convergence in show visual elements. "It’s going to become more and more common," he says. It was the first time he used RADlite, but he was "very impressed" with its flexibility and potential "wow" factors, as well as its many subtleties.
With Barnes fusing RADlite so strategically into the show, the lighting and video departments worked very closely together rather than as separate entities. XL crew member Dave Rogers worked with Feast and his LSD/Fourth Phase crew on any arising RADlite issues. Tour audio suppliers were Wigwam, the stage set was built by Litestructures, and the flying grid was designed, sourced, and rigged by Mark Waite of Over the Top Rigging.