The set features three large inflatable heads
UK - XL Video is supplying a high powered projection system, Pandora's Box mapping and media server control, cameras and PPU to the current #willpower tour by, which originated in the US and is currently in Europe.

The tour's all-white stage and production design was created by and is heavily video orientated with minimal lighting. The tech savvy artist is involved with all aspects of his visual presentation - overseen by production manager Neil Porter - as well as bringing his innovative musicology and techniques to the stage.

The set features three large inflatable heads - a larger central one which moves on and offstage throughout the show - flanked by two smaller ones. All three have a DJ set up on top and were constructed by All Access, together with three roll-down projection screens upstage of the heads.

The projection system design was created by XL's Clarke Anderson working very closely with and media server programmer Ben Miles who joined the tour in Europe, and features 12 Barco projectors with a minimum brightness of 26k lumens.

With the three heads - often running content of's face lip-synched to his vocals - the dominant aesthetic element of the show, the main challenge is to ensure that the 270 degree projections are perfectly mapped with no shadows, a complex task requiring the precise positioning of every projector at each venue, and each machine having its own discreet video feed.

Four Barco HDQ-2K40 machines are placed at FOH and run in two pairs. One pair covers the front-most projected imaged onto the three heads when all are in position, and the other pair covers all three roll drop screens when they are in the down position and covering the entire back of stage (with the two side heads staying in position).

The roll drops also have a header section which is projected on to and remains in place for the whole performance.

In the middle of the stage deck left and right is a double-stacked pair of Barco HDF-W26 projectors which cover around to the ears of the two smaller heads. Depending on the venue, sometimes these are ground stacked on towers and sometimes flown, and the warps are tweaked daily for full precision as with all the projectors.

Another two pairs of HDF-W26s flown just wide of the stage on the downstage edge fitted with .7 wide angle lenses are used to cover the rear cyc projections when the front projections can't be used because the centre head is in place.

The Pandora's Box media server was specified to handle running content on to the heads during the initial production rehearsals in LA, chosen for its clever and very flexible warping and multi-layer mapping capabilities.

XL Video's Project Manager for the tour Gareth Jeanne sums up, "This was a very challenging and complex project. It was clear from the first meetings that the show was going to be led by the video elements with other departments needing to make some big compromises to make it work.

"Thankfully this was fully embraced by the other departments. Everyone came together as one team and the end product really demonstrates that. Working with, who himself is very technology aware, has been a great experience. It is rewarding to work with someone who pushes the limits of what can be achieved which encourages all of us to approach a project differently."

(Jim Evans)

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