Video Design adds dimensions to a-ha dates
Monday, 2 December 2019
a-haThe tour screen supplied by Video Design is 140sq.m. of ROE CB5
Europe - The recent European tour by a-ha saw the introduction of 10-bit video into the world of concert touring (full production report coming up in LSi December, out later this week).
Content was produced by the band’s chosen video creative, Knut Helgeland and realised live by Icarus Wilson-Wright. Alex Leinster of Video Design, who oversaw the upscaling of technological standards, outlines the challenges: “There were three important issues to be addressed - how to render out Helgeland’s content in 10-bit; finding an LED screen that could accept the 10-bit source natively, and creating the backbone to transport and manage the data traffic flows.
“Icarus had obviously been thinking about this for some time,” he continues. “I think the content he saw being developed by Helgeland was so beautiful that he felt this was the ideal opportunity - that the result would entirely validate the effort and expense.”
Wilson-Wright had already identified that two server types were 10-bit ready and could provide the platform; disguise was chosen and Video Design promptly invested in a pair of the latest disguise gx2c servers.
The rendering of Helgeland’s content proved a little more difficult, timespans required to do the work initially appeared intractable. Wilson-Wright spotted a codec within NotchLC that provided the lifeline. “The key to LC is quality and accuracy and it’s very fast to encode or decode,” explains Leinster. “These are not the smallest files, but because with the Codec, as with all else about Notch is GPU based rather than CPU as many other such tools are, the process became much faster and easily manageable.”
The tour screen supplied by Video Design is 140sq.m of ROE CB5.
“It was Icarus who provided the momentum,” concludes Leinster. “He presented the idea to the band, their management and the band’s production manager, James Maillardet and pushed it through. We’ve worked with James before and know he has a very workmanlike approach; he won’t dismiss something out of hand just because it looks difficult.
“After working intensively with Icarus during the testing phase at our facility in Bedfordshire, we showed them the results and his vision was entirely vindicated. To see just one example, the northern lights on screen in such detail and depth of colour without a hint of banding is breath-taking. It’s a new era and I expect a lot of creative people within the touring industry are going to be very excited by the possibilities this opens up.”
(Jim Evans)

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