Illuminating Video
Wednesday, 8 November 2000
Visitors from the lighting and creative media worlds were given a unique preview of the kinetic future when Screenco fronted a two-day Illuminated Video Workshop at Three Mills Island Studios recently.

In association with a prime team of concert service providers, including Vari-Lite Production Services, Avolites, Stage One Creative Services, Creative Technology, Aerial Camera Systems, SSE Hire, ShowSec and Vertigo Rigging, the experimental two-day interactive workshop graphically highlighted how the boundaries between the rapidly-converging disciplines of automated lighting and video displays are being pushed back. The workshop was the brainchild of Screenco’s Mike Walker, whose vision for the event was born out of a desire to bring the creative skills of video and lighting together. Production manager for the event was Adam Wildi at Hothouse, assisted by Mary Jefferson from Tiger Productions.

Two leading show lighting designers - Vince Foster and Nick Jevons - were asked by Screenco to blend their visual techniques, with each pursuing a completely different path in two large studios, back to back. For Foster, and VL Virtuoso board operator Theo Cox, it was a conventional live concert stage with a widescreen video display, and for Jevons it was a fast-changing club/dance environment, working in conjunction with DJ Callum Wordsworth to deliver spectacular colour-changing set elements, interacting with live video graphics.

In Studio 8 Vince Foster had produced the 3D visualisation for the band show and presented Theo Cox with the CAD drawings to carry out his own imaginative interpretation. His lighting rig featured 20 VL2416s, 30 VL5s, six VL5Arcs, 18 VL6s, 18 VL6Bs and 11 VL7s luminaires, all controlled by a Virtuoso console. A large (9m x 4m) upstage Screenco 15mm LED video screen took remote tracking images from Aerial Camera Systems and graphics from 2Ci, which were flown, split, trucked and moved by Stage One Creative Services’ Q Motion system. Video director Mike Brown emphasised that this had been backed up with full engineering and camera support - using the Electrosonic Vector image processor. The set design was a challenge that Vince Foster was happy to take up. "I became involved because I used the 25mm LED screens to great effect before Screenco took over Unitek - notably with Zucchero, Steps, Party In The Park and Basement Jaxx. I had been moving increasingly towards video with my shows and had built up a library of atmospheric, non-specific film footage and textures. Often on tours the final decision is down to the client, and suggesting LED screens can be like offering a crucifix to a vampire - production managers are scared of the content until they have seen it. Hopefully, Illuminated Video Workshop will have cut through those prejudices."

But for most people the dynamic highlight was to be found next door in the Studio 9 dance environment, where Nick Jevons was firmly in control behind his Avo’ Sapphire board. The Super Furry Animals/Reef LD used a DJ set in conjunction with Screenco 25mm LED modules, and the VLPS lighting rig, to present new visual possibilities. While graphics creators, 2Ci’s Habs Akram, showcased his interactive video mixing systems, the bulk of the graphics were provided by Sophie Pendrell.

Nick had been recommended by Avolites’ Steve Warren after discussions with Mike Walker as to who might capture the spirit of the workshop most creatively. "Steve had seen me on Super Furry Animals where we had 28 Sony video monitors, which became my light source. I had tried to figure out how I could light the band without using conventional luminaires, and a video monitor became a light source rather than a definite image. Each 29" module was hung individually and filled the stage."

After conversations with Screenco’s Adrian Offord and Mike Walker, he saw a way in which he could extend the concept. Jevons took 32 of the 25mm screens - all hung individually - and built a sho

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