XL Video Keeps The Defintion High For Will Young

XL Video is supplying three of its newly purchased Christie S20 Roadster projectors as part of the complete video package being provided to the current Will Young Keep On Live UK tour. The show features both high-definition playback and IMAG video directed by Phil Woodhead, and the account is being project managed for XL by Phil Mercer.

Mercer comments, “Over and above the standard IMAG requirements for a tour of this scale, XL is providing high-def playback, projection, and control equipment, giving maximum impact to the specific sections of the show utilizing pre-recorded video.”

Material is projected onto a 36 ft wide by 16 ft electric roller screen that comes in center stage, and also on to two 16 by 19 ft side screens. The compact, very bright Christie’s are rigged on a front truss, and beam onto the center screen, while a pair of rear-projected Barco R12+ machines feed the two side screens.

The six songs’ worth of pre-recorded content are stored on a V1 high-def Doremi hard drive controlled via a Barco Events Manager system. These sections of the show are all cued via timecode and synched to the click track.

The camera package consists of three of XL’s Sony D50s. Two are in the pit; one with a wide angle lens stage left, and the other with a standard lens that also goes hand-held onstage at specific points. The third is positioned at FOH with a long throw lens. There’s also a remote overhead mini DV cam strapped to the truss and another one on the keyboards.

All these are fed into Woodhead’s GV Kayak mixer/switcher unit. He also has a digital Magic DVE at his disposal for effects. The camera mix goes exclusively onto the two side screens, leaving the center screen for playback footage at the appropriate moments. “It’s very much a classic rock ‘n’ roll mix with a few little twists and nuances,” says Woodhead.

XL’s crew of six are Mark Hughes, Matt Vassallo, Hugo Levien, Sacha Moore, Andy Warwick, and Phil Woodhead. Richard Turner was also involved extensively in programming the Events Manager during pre-production.

There are only six tracks of playback in the show, used sparingly for maximum impact. All these tracks were made by Blink TV, produced by Tom Colbourne and directed by Marcus Viner, who worked closely with the live show’s artistic director Michael Gracey and Will Young himself.

There are three primary video concepts: A 1960s style pastiche of American household TV commercials for the track "Happiness," a big airport themed section, and a 1970s game show section. Due to the heavy stylization of these pieces, Blink brought Alan Macdonald (fresh from production designing Stephen Frear's acclaimed movie The Queen) onboard as art director to oversee the set design and styling.

The 70s game show section involved an extensive high-def shoot at Island Studios, reconstructing a cheese-tastic American game show set and lighting rig. Will Young gives a hilarious performance as the game show host, complete with 70s styling, outfits, wigs, and 15 extras as contestants. This shoot yielded footage for three tracks, edited by Colbourne.

A green-screen shoot at Island Studios produced the "Happiness" montage period style TV commercials for household products, starring a suitably 1960's looking actress as the "Happiness Woman" for all ads. A series of original 1960's household interiors were then digitally composited to make the backgrounds.

The airport section involved the creation of a panoramic full 3D animated exterior airport view, on which Blink worked with Bristol based graphics house, Hello Charlie. This sequence opens the show complete with a full troupe of dancers dressed as flight attendants and Will in a pilot’s uniform and shades.

The tour is produced by 19 Touring (the concert division of 19 Entertainment) with production manager Kenny Underwood for Cheeky Rascal Ltd. It runs in the UK until midmonth.

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