Live Design Blog Archive


McCartney @ Coachella

Backed by a massive 27 foot tall, 74 foot wide V-Lite video wall from Nocturne Productions, Paul McCartney sang in front of images of racecars, roller-coasters, and rainbows, blackbirds and butterflies, fireworks and flames, not to mention his younger self (and his old mates John, George, and Ringo). No question, McCartney rocked the annual Coachella Festival, closing out the first day's festivities. Nocturne productions constructed and crewed this wall and two 60 foot tall by 24 foot wide V-Lite walls with live images of McCartney and his band performing, continuing a working relationship that goes back to 1992.

Despite the large width of the center wall, it proved comparatively easy to set up, as opposed to Nocturne's other part of the Roy Bennet designed stage. “The side screens were the bigger challenge because of their height,” says Nocturne director Paul Becher. “They were 60' tall and the winds picked up in the afternoon. Battling the wind was the biggest challenge.” The V-Lite LED used for the main stage and the side screens are proprietary to Nocturne Productions and built along with LSI-SACO.

Because of the battle with the desert winds at Coachella, the Nocturne crew of Stefaan Michels, Omar Montes, and Carson Austin took four and a half hours to do a job that would normally take three. Conversely, the much larger upstage screen took the crew only an hour to build. This wall, with all the aforementioned images and was fed by a pair of Do Re Mi's triggered by Assistant Director Marcia Kapustin.

“The content on the Do Re Mi's were visuals that we've been accumulating since his last major tour beginning in 2002,” says Becher. “Paul's library of songs is so deep that he's constantly changing his set but until recently we've been using the same visual content which has been reformatted to fit his songs. Lately, we've started adding some new material.”

The next obstacle was directing the cameras for the side screens during the show. “They were so tall and narrow that you were only getting the center sliver of what the camera guys were shooting,” Becher adds. “It was a constant challenge to keep the image in the center because if they were only slightly off center the actual image would be off the screen.”

After McCartney's performance the side screens were reconfigured for the two other days events at the annual Indio, CA, music festival.

Trio Video provided their Tango and Beta HD trucks for the three day event, from which they were webcasting three different stages. Becher jumped in the director's seat behind a Grass Valley Kalypso switcher for the McCartney performance. Six Thompson/Grass Valley HD cameras, run by local camera operators, were utilized to shoot the show.

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