James Arthur plays Dublin

UK - Audiences are being treated to ‘an immersive visual feast’, thanks to RCM’s approach of combining real-time 3D generative content, utilising Epic’s Unreal Engine, with live cameras.

The creative content for James Arthur’s Bitter Sweet Love World Tour, which hit the road in March 2024, was fashioned by RCM’s team, headed up by Video Designer Alex Vipond. They collaborated closely with the artist, along with Pete Hutchison and Edd Croft of design collective Mangata to bring the client’s aspirations to life. The visuals add energy to the show, combining a nostalgic Nashville aesthetic with a dynamic that nods to James Arthur’s rise from the X-Factor.

Pete said: “We worked closely with RCM to utilise the screens shape. The original mood board they sent captured everything we were looking for from the visuals and live camera effects. We had a great deal of back and forth to allow the lighting and video to complement one another and we are very happy with the end result.”

RCM adopted a pioneering approach employing Epic’s Unreal Engine, familiar to most as leading Gaming software, to generate real-time 3D environments, mixed with the live camera’s 2D filming the shows.

“Recent fast-paced developments within Unreal Engine opened up exciting creative opportunities for us that means we can make live changes in a 3D world instantaneously throughout the performance processes,” said Alex. “Unreal Engine has high-end colour grading that gives us more accurate control over the output than traditional editing and effects software.”

The on-screen visuals keep pace with the dynamic build of the songs and continue throughout the set, intertwining songs to bring cohesive styling that immerses fans in a deeper experience. The artist makes several visits to perform on a B-Stage, so the screen content changed to reflect the intimacy with the audience of those moments.

Alex continues: “We’ve worked with Mangata Collective previously, on artists such as the Courteeners in 2023, and that relationship gave us the opportunity to spend valuable time with James Arthur to develop creative ideas inspired by him. That led to a much better, more personal visual, connected to the music. We built on the existing concepts and guided him around what could be achieved and what colour pallet would best suit him.”

RCM’s team began work in January with James Arthur and continued to develop the creative content through the band’s rehearsals in SW19.

RCM director Jack Fox commented, “It’s been inspiring to introduce Epic’s Unreal Engine as a creative tool. It’s central in games and VFX in film sectors, so we’re really excited to introduce it into the live music industry. It allows us to imagine new worlds and take our live-screen visuals to create more immersive experiences.

“James Arthur and the team at Mangata Collective have been great to work with, and skilled server programmer Charlie Rushton was integral in delivering the content. This show truly breaks new ground and looks fabulous thanks to the close collaboration with our team in the two months prior to the tour starting.”

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