XL Video UK is again supplying video production and crew for the X-Factor Live 2008 tour, an all-action performance featuring a strong line up of the 10 finalists from the 2007 BBC TV series.
Dan Omerod is the live video director. Show director is Tim Byrne, Iain Whitehouse from Production North designed the set, and the production manager is Sarah Hollis. The tour is being project-managed for XL Video by Jo Beirne and Phil Mercer, and is one of a number of shows they are working on this Spring for Leeds-based Production North, in conjunction with Blink TV.
Phil Mercer adds, “As screen supplier for the recent ITV series it’s been a good challenge for XL to adapt the system for touring while still maintaining the overall scale, variety, and quality of the original TV studio-based design.”
Similar to the TV show, X-Factor Live is fast-paced and involves lots of cues and quick cutting. The stage features three upstage screens constructed from Barco iLite 10 LED panels: the side panels are eight tiles wide by six tiles high, and the center is 12 wide by 10 high. The central screen also splits in the middle and tracks to create an opening for stage entrances.
Above the front truss is a border-style banner made from Barco MiTrix. It is 50 tiles wide by six tiles high, and used as a tickertape-style effect with scrolling text to introduce each act at the start of their set.
There are two further offstage 16 feet x 12 feet side screens which are fed by Barco R12 projectors.
“Virtual” presenter Dermot O’Leary introduces each of the acts, appearing as a video clip across all 5 screens.
Ormerod has three of XL Video’s Sony D50 cameras at his disposal, two on a track and dolly in the pit and the third at FOH with a 70 mm long throw lens, and he mixes using a GV Kayak mixer/switcher.
The VT play-ins are stored on Doremi hard drives. Each band has a demo clip and beauty shots which play during their set, and XL Video is also supplying a Catalyst digital media server which generates ambient effects, scrolling text, graphics, and the X-Factor logo, and is controlled by lighting director Tellson James via his WholeHog II console.
The playback content was supplied by two companies: The Farm produced special edits of the TV footage, links, and VT intros, and Helena Spencer from The Field produced footage for the banner screen and graphics for the main screens.
The IMAG mix is sent primarily to the center and the two outer side screens, leaving the offstage side screens to be fed by the Catalyst content.
Ormerod worked closely with show producer Tim Byrne at the start of the tour to shape the show stylistically, taking many successful elements of the previous year and combining them with new looks and techniques to keep it fresh.
A major aesthetic challenge is to maintain the hectic pace on screen for two hours with an interval in between the show’s two halves, and also to give each artist their own individual look and video structure.
Joining Ormerod on the XL Video crew is engineer Jeroen “Myway” Marain, Oli Derynck (LED tech), Al Wright (LED camera operator), and Ed Moore (crew chief and projection/camera operator). Gareth Morgan from Over The Top Rigging is looking after the tracking system for the center screen.
Other suppliers involved include Wigwam (audio), Pyrojunkies (pyro), Stardes (trucking), Trathens (buses), and Home Cooking (catering).