XL Video Supports Kaiser Chiefs

XL Video UK supplied equipment and crew to the Kaiser Chiefs’ homecoming gig at Elland Road Stadium, in Leeds England last weekend. Video director Jon Shrimpton added his magic into the 15 screen live mix at one in front of 35,000 excited fans—the largest headlining show the band has played to date.

Once again, Shrimpton collaborated closely with lighting designer Richard Larkum on the look and feel of the show, cutting the IMAG from FOH instead of the more conventional side-stage position. This was something they started on the arena tour at the end of 2007, finding it enhanced communication and a creative rapport.

The Elland Road stage was very similar in setup to that of the arena tour, with 5 portrait format screens “crowning” the action above the front of the stage. At this show, these were constructed from Barco MiTrix—18 tiles high and 5 wide—chosen for its lightweight. On both sides of the stage, offstage of the PA wings, Shrimpton added another 5 screens—each made up of 2 modules wide and 5 deep of Barco OLite, arranged in a quirky format that he describes as an “Electric Legoland” effect.

The camera set up included 3 Sony D50s with 70 mm long throw lenses, all positioned FOH at the rear of the mixing tower. Four Sony mini-cams were rigged onstage in front of the drums, keyboards, guitar and bass, and a small DV cam was stationed behind the lead vocal position, used for lead singer Ricky Wilson’s reverse shot—on the few occasions where he stood still long enough at the center mic position.

Then there were 3 Sony robot cams, one behind guitarist Andrew White—who has a penchant for facing his amp when in full flow—operated by Icarus Wilson-Wright, and two on the upstage and downstage lighting trusses. The downstage one was pointed at the keyboards a lot of the time, while the upstage one focussed on the drums. Both these were both operated by Rob “Wicksy” Wick.

Shrimpton configured his GV Kayak vision mixer so all the screen cuts were individually controllable via its Macros, and they used a Leitch router for additional routing “trickery.” He comments that it was refreshing not to have any playback content to weave into the mix, although this also meant it was entirely up to him to produce a mix that kept looking fresh, innovative, and different for the full length of the set—a creative challenge.

The IMAG mix matched the lighting in energy and pace, often with screens flashing and chasing in time to the music and Larkum’s lighting cues. Three Catalyst digital media servers were supplied by XL, each used to handle one bank of 5 screens inputs—and to make the line-up easier because they increase the versatility of the signal. These were overseen by Alastair MacDiarmid. Only one Catalyst effect was used on the footage in the entire performance—a red for the song “Ruby”.

The show was project managed for XL Video by Jo Beirne and Phil Mercer, and it was Beirne who first introduced Richard Larkum to Jon Shrimpton and suggested they would make a good visuals team. XL’s crew of 7, in addition to Shrimpton and those already mentioned, were Robyn Tearle, head of cameras, plus Alain Demey, and Joe Makein.

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