Ilfracombe, Devon, UK drapes, starcloth, LED and visual effects specialist S+H Technical Services recently supplied its 12 mm medium definition Glux LED screen to maverick rock band 10cc’s recent UK tour, as specified by Video and Visuals Designer Ian Holmes of Essex based XIVIX.
The band, including original member Graham Gouldman, have achieved considerable commercial and creative success and acclaim in a career stretching back to the 1970s and have just completed the first leg of an ongoing tour. Ian provided the video concept and design working closely with current Lighting Director “Tigger” (Russell Matthews).
They needed a versatile set up and flexible equipment that could multi-task to compliment the wide range of styles – from art house rock to pure pop – embraced by the band throughout the set.
Gouldman was particularly keen to get another original band member – Kevin Godley – to perform on one song via a specially commissioned video piece. So, needing a practical solution to make this happen, he approached Ian, who designed a system that would work well, look good and fit into all the venues on the itinerary, as well as facilitating other video elements.
He chose S+H’s LED for two reasons.
Firstly because it was light enough to hang on a tab track and be split into five separate columns during the show and manually moved apart … and then be pushed back together to make one continuous block.
Secondly because he knows the kit is well maintained and that he can always rely on great service from S+H, with whom he has worked on several previous projects, including hiring the same 12 mm screen for various Kim Wilde tours since 2012.
To run the Godley video, a full 15 square metre LED (5 metres wide by 3 high) surface was needed. For much of the rest of the set, the LED was split into the five 3 metre high columns which elegantly filled the stage and provided a completely contrasting look to the performance space.
The Glux 12mm was rigged to a 9 metre wide Triple E tab-track supplied by Neg Earth Lights, with custom fittings for the screens fabricated by Ian and Triple E.
The whole screen assembly – including the tab track and mounting brackets – weighed only 270 Kgs, which also meant it could be rigged to house fly bars at most venues.
The screen features include a very light weight of just 4.5Kgs per panel (9.5 Kg per square metre made up from two panels) and offers quick assembly and overall user-friendliness, all combined with the excellent multi-purpose pitch.
Two video maps were created in the Green Hippo Hippotizer HD media server to run the two different screen configurations. As the screen was (manually) moved apart, the Hippotizer real time morphed between the two maps to create the illusion of moving windows.
Ian and Green Hippo also came up with a neat solution to the problem of syncing Kevin’s Multitrack audio to his video so it could be mixed with the band. Using the Hippotizer and a combination of Reaper DAW and Loop MIDI plug-ins the eight audio tracks from the Godley video piece were midi synchronised internally to the server while the band played live onstage, a feat that took some time to develop, but produced a great result…with none of the usual cable frenzy.
The Hippotizer sat backstage and was remotely triggered by Ian at FOH using a ZooKeeper.
Using the Glux 12 mm screen and a bit of ingenuity, he was able to come up with an innovative, great looking and budget friendly solution that took medium-sized touring production values to a new level.
Photos by Liz Aiken/Blues Doodles