Universal Pixels on Thom Yorke tour
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
neonThom Yorke’s latest tour ‘immerses audiences in a sensory bath of abstract visuals and captivating music’ (photo: Dominic Smith)
UK - The latest chapter of the Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes tour features live onstage content creation together with a custom video package from Universal Pixels
Thom Yorke’s latest tour is a live show that ‘immerses audiences in a sensory bath of abstract visuals and captivating music’.
Yorke is joined onstage by long-term Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and audiovisual composer Tarik Barri, who is working in his own Versum software.
Universal Pixels has supplied the tour since it first set out for a short US run in December 2017, providing a curved array of three or five (venue dependent) projection screens. For the latest shows, which included tour dates and festival slots across Europe and the US, UP created a newly-devised, adaptable video package, which has been designed for quick deployment and speedy load-outs.
It features a custom dolly package of five 2.5m wide x 4.5m high 6mm Leyard CLM hi-res LED screens, that also create a seamless front projection screen, three Epson 25k projectors (to project onto the LED screen and across the band from FOH), and a compact five camera (five robos and one UP 3G minicam) package to provide IMAG feeds at festivals and larger venues with house screens, all interfacing with Barri’s custom servers and Pixel Taco’s Catalyst servers. The set-up has been supplemented by a locally-supplied FOH long-lens when available/feasible on a show by show basis.
Video designer, Jake Hogenson, comments, “The video element of this show impacts the entire performance greatly. Tarik’s visuals provide a unique view of the songs written and performed by Thom and Nigel. With Tarik’s bespoke Versum program, each piece of content will evolve between shows.
“We use multiple channels of Tarik’s content to drive the LED, projection, and pixel mapping of the X4 bars. I also use Tarik’s content to mix / overlay with our IMAG camera feed. This creates even more depth in the live show environment, in a production that is so visually driven.”
Barri adds: “Versum allows me to create and manipulate 3D audiovisual worlds in real-time. It’s like a virtual 3D world that I can fly through with my joystick. All the objects in this ‘world’ can be both seen and heard as the camera flies past them.
“Often, I use this software for performances where I create both the music and the visuals, but on other occasions I basically switch off the sound engine and use my software as a purely visual instrument to accompany other musicians. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still making music, it’s just that this layer of music is perceived through the eyes.”
Discussing the collaboration with Universal Pixels, Hogenson says: “Working with UP is always a pleasure. I have a long-standing relationship with Phil Mercer, as well as others at UP, that creates trust and confidence each time we work together. The kit is always clean and well prepped.”
(Jim Evans)

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