XL Video’s Big Weekend

XL Video UK supplied production video and LED surfaces to all three stages at BBC Radio One’s recent two-day “One Big Weekend” event in Preston, England. The line up included Stereophonics, Scissor Sisters, and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Project managed by XL’s Des Fallon, the company deployed 20 crewmembers onsite the Thursday prior to be ready for Saturday morning. The video site build was coordinated by crew chief Carl Martin, and the XL team worked closely with lighting suppliers Lite Alternative.

LED elements were an integral part of LD Paul Normandale’s design for all stages. The major aesthetic task in lighting “One Big Weekend” was to ensure the stage and audience areas looked good on camera—the BBC broadcast the show live each day for eight hours. It also had to create excitement and drama for everyone in the audience.

On Stage 1, XL supplied 300 Element Labs VersaTubes: 200 onstage and 100 arranged in four banks of 25 for audience illumination. Onstage the tubes were arranged in a vertical strip wrapping around three sides of the stage.

XL also supplied 114 panels of Element Labs Stealth LED screen, configured as three truss headers: one bordering the main front lighting truss and two smaller headers that sat on top of the two side IMAG screens (also supplied by XL). The Stealth and VersaTubes ran through two separate Arkaos media servers supplied by Lite Alternative. The Stage 1 LED was tech’d for XL Video by Simon Pugsley and Stevie Marr, working very closely with Lite Alt’s main stage lighting director, Glen Johnson.

Johnson ran the Arkaos systems via his WholeHog 3 console with one of the new Expansion wings and says, “Working with XL has been really brilliant, they were very efficient, had a great attitude, and nothing was a problem.”

Content for the Stealth headers was supplied by the BBC and included the variations on the “One Big Weekend” logo. For the VersaTubes, clips were created by Normandale and Johnson from Catalyst and PixelMAD library stock and loaded onto the Arkaos for replaying live.

XL also installed a fibre optic link for the Stealth and VersaTubes between stage and FOH in case any artists turned up with media at the last minute that needed integrating into the system. In addition, the company also supplied two 2x6 panel Barco D-Lite 7 side screens either side of stage and two Christie relay projection screens at FOH.

A three-camera XL PPU on Stage 1 was used to produce the side screen IMAG mix, directed by Toby Vogel. Two of the XL cameras were in the pit with the third at FOH, and Vogel used a Sony DFS 700 switcher. He also had three feeds from the BBC’s cameras to weave into his mix.

Playback footage (teasers, trailers, beauty shots, etc) for the side screens during changeovers was stored on a Doremi hard drive which was part of the XL package, and PowerPoint material featuring BBC graphics and animations was also output to these screens.

On Stage 2, XL supplied another three-camera PPU directed by Ray “Moose” Shaw, plus another Doremi hard drive for playback material. Two relay screens each side of stage were fed by a pair of Barco R12 projectors.

Stage 3 was completely open-air and featured a three columns wide by four deep Unitek LED wall used for playing back DVD, PowerPoint, and Doremi-stored sources, mixed by John Shrimpton, who was installed in a special weatherproof hut.

XL also dotted plasma screens of varying sizes to the Press tent and to Chris Moyles’ hospitality area, carrying feeds from the BBC’s off-air TX.

The event was co-produced by SJM and kick-started the 2007 Festival season in spectacular style.

Fallon comments, “It was good to be involved in “One Big Weekend” again—the event continues to grow in profile and popularity, and it’s always good to work with the BBC, SJM, and Lite Alternative.”

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