XL Video supplied video projection equipment for the acclaimed Pet Shop Boys/"Battleship Potemkin" performance–an innovative and eclectic mix of art, music, and politics–in London's famous Trafalgar Square in mid-September, which was seen by 15,000 people.
It celebrated the centenary of the 1904 mutiny aboard the troubled Potemkin, which was captured in Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 cinematic classic. The Pet Shop Boys performed their new soundtrack to the film–which was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art–accompanied by the 26-piece Dresden Sinfoniker string orchestra, orchestrated by Torsten Rasch.
The silent film was projected using D5 High Definition SDI Video, specially transferred from a new "original film stock" print for the occasion. The footage was beamed onto a 16m wide projection screen located beneath Nelson’s column, via three overlaid Barco R18 projectors with 3.2 - 5.6 :1 zoom lenses. The playback was time-code linked to the band’s onstage sound system to ensure accurate time synchronization between the music score and visuals.
XL Video additionally supplied two Catalyst G5 v3 digital media servers and four additional Barco R18s to project custom-made pre-show visuals onto the front of the National Gallery. These were produced by the event’s art director Simon McBurney, and programmed and coordinated by video design specialists Sven Ortel and Dick Straker of Mesmer.
McBurney’s thought-provoking visuals explored the semantics and connections between protest and art. They included footage of decades of protest movements in the UK as well as the multitude of anti-war demonstrations over the last two years. Trafalgar Square was a particularly appropriate location because of its long history as a site of political expression, protest, and dissent, and the pre-show visuals also included a photo-montage of historical protests and political dissent that occurred in the Square.
"It was an honor to be involved with such a landmark and prestigious project," says Malcolm Mellows who coordinated the project for XL Video. "It was most important to Simon McBurney and The Pet Shop Boys that a purist, original "filmic" look was achieved, and in brightness, contrast and overall appearance, we exceeded all expectations,"
Mellow’s crew included Alistair MacDairmid, who took care of the Potemkin screen projection, plus Gary Beirne, Andy Bramhill, and Marcus Dailey, who managed the National Gallery projections.
The un-ticketed show was part of the Trafalgar Square Summer 2004 season of special events. This event was project managed by John Farquhar-Smith for Flux Events. The screen was supplied by Harkness and the audio company was Britannia Row.