Five live Avolites Media Ai S8 systems were connected to a total of 46 Panasonic 20k projectors for the show
USA - Coldplay recently held an intimate secret show to mark the release of their album Ghost Stories to the delight of the 800 lucky fans in attendance at Sony Studios Los Angeles. The spectacular event, recorded for a TV special and album bonus DVD, saw the band play a very special set, including a recital of the new album in its entirety for the first time.

Expertly directed by Ben Miles of Mixed Emotions London and engineered by Phil Haynes with Phil Johnston as Lead Projectionist both working for XL Video, the show featured 32 unique outputs from only five live Avolites Media Ai S8 systems. These, connected to a total of 46 Panasonic 20k projectors, and coupled with three floating backup servers, created a stunning visual environment.

"Avolites Media were very proud to supply our servers to XL Video for use on this special project," stated Avolites Media MD Steve Warren. "With such a demanding number of outputs used, we are convinced that Ai was the best choice."

Visuals of the Aurora Borealis moving beautifully across 'A Sky Full of Stars' accompanied the song of the same title, and second single from Ghost Stories. These created the illusion that the eight-sided set was within a zoetrope. As video director Ben Miles recalls, "I used an overhead mini-cam with a fish-eye lens which I then fed at 1920x1080 into the Ai inputs. Using some custom effects I treated and tiled the image before spinning it around and across the projection system. This was a big look for the show which we used to great effect."

With 8x S8 servers, all with dual HD inputs, the team had up to 80x 1080 HD SDI feeds to monitor and distribute.

"We needed a versatile system like Ai with enough power to handle the huge amounts of data on the bus while still giving us the level of creativity and design tools we're used to.," continues Miles. "Without this direct HD SDI output we would have had to convert all of the normal DVI server outputs into SDI adding frame delay or convert them all to fibre which would have added a big cost to the systems signal distribution. Using the S8 was a massive money and time saver."

Originally planned to take the form of a tour, the size and shape of the venue changed a number of times, and with it, the projection requirements.

"A large amount of pre-production was necessary in order to get the show off the ground. The projection system actually ended up dictating a lot of the direction of the project, and the Ai system was a great help managing this. The band wanted the show to be big visually, but wanted to maintain the intimacy of a smaller venue rather than the stadiums in which the band would usually perform.

"Using Ai was essential for pre-production projection mapping, allowing us to conduct this outside of the venue. The pre-visualisation of Ai was key to the success of the project."

(Jim Evans)

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