New Trix From XL For Mercury Music Prize

XL Video supplied 254 panels of Barco MiTrix video screen and Catalyst media server control for the highly acclaimed 2007 Nationwide Mercury Music Prize Awards, staged recently at London's Grosvenor House.

It was the first time that scenic video has been used on the event. The MiTrix was specified by lighting and visual designer Nigel Catmur, who has lit the show for the last four years, and wanted to introduce a new contemporary look. The show was broadcast “as live” on BBC radio and television, and was won by The Klaxons with their intense Myths of The Near Future album.

With 11 of the 12 nominated artists performing live, the video element added enormously to the dynamics and presentation of the show, ensuring that each band’s set looked unique.

Richard Turner came onboard as video designer and programmer to work with Catmur in producing special content for the show. They also collaborated closely with set designer Robert Dunsmore.

XL's project manager was Tim Riley, their overall client was NMP show producers Lipfriend Rodd, for whom the event was production managed by Chris Organ.

The MiTrix was arranged in different sized strips behind each of the three stages in the Grosvenor's Great Room. The original design for these was inspired by the work of light artist Dan Flavin, the American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures.

The onstage MiTrix strips were rigged behind sharkstooth gauzes to add depth and texture to the effect and to create the optical illusion of making the compact sized stages appear much larger than they actually were, both to the camera and the live audience.

Some additional MiTrix strips were also hung in the darker corners of the room and used as an infill lighting effect.

Richard Turner created most of the content in Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects following a loose brief from Catmur. This proved a very organic process and they were both eager to avoid the standard “blocky” video look that is so common on TV shows, and to produce something altogether more ethereal and abstract.

Turner then programmed all the clips into a Catalyst digital media server, which he was using as an actual playback device for the first time. In this case, it was spec'd for the job because of its speed and ease of use for this type of application. It was the latest Catalyst V4, which has the ability to fade between presets.

Turner worked with an XL crew of Matt Gourd and Carl Martin.

Tim Riley notes, "Obviously it was excellent to be involved in such a credible event—the end results looked stunning and scenic video really upped the production values. It was also a great example of video, lighting, and set elements combining creative forces to produce a stunning show design."

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