We rounded off 2017 with a show called Clash Royale. This is a Supercell mobile/tablet game released in 2016. Supercell are a mobile game developer based in Helsinki, Finland.
In December 2017 they launched the Crown Championships World Finals of the game. This was to be held in London at the Copper Box. We were approached by Done & Dusted to be involved in producing the live game play, create the virtual environment in an arena space and design the system to make all this possible.
Building this system required hours of research and development time. It involved us learning to play the game, understanding the gameplay, getting into how the game was coded for different means of playback, talking in depth with the game programmers, figuring out how to play the game in a live environment and for streaming on the internet, planning how we play the game designed for a tablet on a 8m x 11m screen …to name but a few.
The complexity of this system became apparent very early on and with our well-built team of tech heads we nailed it - Tim Volker, main system engineer, Dickie Burford, E2 Programmer, Rich Porter, d3 (disguise) wizard and of course Connie and our head of the Hogs Chris Saunders.
Kit wise we were very pleased to be using the new Panasonic 31k projectors with relative lenses (of which we had 24), d3’s, fiber management systems, E2, and display PC’s from QED. QED’s kit always arrives in impeccable condition and we are continuously pleased with the results we get from using them.
In addition to this, we had 84m2 of CT’s brand new ROE CB3 LED screen and 145m2 ER InFiLeD 5.9 all running on Brompton processing. Both screens are exceptionally good and looked great on camera.
Fiber management was key in this process and again QED’s kit was a perfect solution to maintain a level of sanity when dealing with them. It is racked and clearly labeled with multi-view functionality.
In addition to the live show, we also had to work with CTV and MOOV to produce a live stream of the event in 8 languages. We could go into the technical complexities of this but if you are interested enough give us a call and ask. At OH we pride ourselves on not giving away all our secrets!
Kicking off our 2018 we steamed into the Brits Launch. This was held at ITV Studios and was one of the last shows to be held there before it closed in April.
Working with Bruce French, the show designer, we managed to squeeze an awful lot of kit into a very small space. I mean, there was quite literally no more space for LED… that being said, we did have to leave a gap for a couple of rather large Mercedes G Class vehicles… pretty standard we would say!
From VER we used their WV Air 9mm LED product to create a ribbon effect all the way around the outside of the studio with a ROE VR3mm as the on stage product. Faber supplied a Zircon 7mm floor, which looked stunning on TV.
Control-wise we used d3 (disguise) which made the visualisation process incredibly easy and a hugely successful way of showing the designer his vision in a virtual space.
It allowed us to set up the broadcast camera positions and show him which parts of the design worked or might need to be moved etc…
This became hugely important when we worked on the main Brits show. This we will go into much more detail about.
BRIT AWARDS & STEREOPHONICS
Next we were propelled into the Brits main show and the EU/UK tour of the Stereophonics.
For both these shows we had been in pre-production since the end of 2017 but now it was time to turn the drawings into something tangible. Misty Buckly, the show designer for the Brits, had come up with a truly sensational geometric set that was challenging beyond our wildest dreams.
"challenging beyond our wildest dreams"
Our goal was to projection map a shape with multiple surfaces on multiple angles on multiple axis.
Yes, to an extent, if it was a fixed thing. This structure was going to be built as we were mapping it and there were no guarantees it would be exactly like the model. It had never been built before.
Rich Porter was an integral piece of this puzzle. Rich spent hours designing ways in which we could get content produced for this particular model, as well as plotting projectors, establishing light outputs and working in software called Mapping Matters to produce a projection study we could present to the client.
Again working with QED, we had to think somewhat outside the box when it came to the rigging angles of some of the projector stacks.
On this show we had 16 x 31k Panasonic projectors and 7 x 21k Panasonic projectors.
Once we had the spec of the equipment we were using, this allowed us to build the 3d model accurately. Perhaps we are doing the complexity of that process a disservice but the technical details are entire document all of their own..
Working in the 3d model provides another platform for the creatives to have a look before we get into the room for real and see things that are going to look great or, alternatively, not going to work. This is particularly important in regards to camera positions. We were able to work with TV Director Hamish Hamilton to give him walk-through’s of the set in the virtual venue – explaining what the set and shots looked like.
When working in very heavy projection environments it is crucial to be able to see the placement of people and other pieces of set, specifically for shadows and light displacement.
Part of the complexity of this project was matching the projection to the huge slab of LED in the middle of the set. Again using the ER InFiLeD 5.9 from CT, we had the difficult job of colour balancing and deciding on a brightness level that suited everyone.
Whilst all this was going on we were also putting together the EU/UK Tour for the Stereophonics.
We were asked to come up with a solution to rig a screen that moved like a garage door.
"Challenge accepted" we thought…
"Can’t be that difficult." Turns out it can. But, working with Stuart Young from CT and some excellent engineers from NEG Earth Lights, we came up with a solution that we would tour for the next 5 weeks. The screen was comprised of 3 tons of ER InFiLeD 5.9 and a further 3 tons of truss and metal work.
Whilst it was an incredibly complicated and heavy system to tour, once we got into the swing of things the build became easier and we only dreaded it once a day rather than twice!
The tour was production managed by Dave Nelson and designed by Brent Clarke. It consisted of 47 Days, 26 shows and 23 cities.
Our camera team was headed up by Paul ‘Eggy’ Eggerton and consisted of 3 manned cameras and 3 robo cameras. We ISO recorded each camera and the TX every show for the band to keep for archive purposes.
The show IMAGS were ROE Mc7 and were placed over the end of the thrust, which is not traditionally where IMAGS would go. This is one of the quirks of working with Clark, he thinks about the stage as a whole and how to subtly change things for a bigger impact. He thinks about the video and lights as one thing and the effects every time deliver great results.
This system has also gone on to do two stadium shows with the Stereophonics, one in Wrexham and one in Cardiff. For these shows we upped the size of the IMAGS, added a camera and brought in track and dolly for the two pit cameras. "Go big or go home" I think was the motto – make it a show that people walk away from going "that was seriously good!"
The Stereophonics team is one we have worked with for several years now and Chris has been involved with them from more or less the beginning, so to still be a part of it is amazing.
Next we had Download Festival. This is the first of the Festival Republic shows we work on and something that OH has done for many years. Making it different this year, we worked with Mike 4K Kauffman and Abi Heilbron of Live Nation TV to deliver a broadcast for Sky Arts in UHD with Dolby Atmos.
Having worked with a broadcast team at Download festival in the past, we already had the infrastructure in place to be able to deliver this successfully. We had a total of 11 manned cameras across two stages, including two Jibs and a Tower Cam. Dave Emery and Alan Wells supplied these.
Unit Managers Adam Berger of CTV and Graeme Robson of Telegentic ran our OB team.
Download is known for being wet – in fact we have always looked forward to getting out the OH canoe once a year - however this year was kind to us, the sun shone and that meant crew morale was higher than ever.
Download is one of the biggest shows we manage crew-wise. We have 60 people on site that need feeding and watering and the poor human who has that thankless task is our crew co-coordinator, Claire Pouncey.
Claire manages all crew booking and accreditation. On site, with the assistance of runner Maddie Coussens, Claire manages the logistics of getting food and water to them, transporting them onsite to their accommodation or car parks and stocking up the tour buses with supplies.
Being a team of only three, this show seriously pushes us to our Hog limits. Trying to retain a sense of humor whilst running this show can only be done with the assistance of an air horn…
Don’t ask questions just put your hands in the air and enjoy it…!
The first set of shows included Liam Gallagher, Queens of the Stone Age and Community Festival, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club. Technically, this was not a complicated set up for us. We had our traditional IMAGS left and right of which we used 130m2 of ER InFiLeD 5.9 as well as a 28m2 FOH delay screen.
We provided a four-camera set up which included two FOH cams and two pit cams on 60ft of track and dolly. We integrated into that three Robo Camera Remote Heads and supplied a seven-cam record for QOTSA, which was done with the Blackmagic Hyper decks
After all that we had to take it down and start again. This is indeed a true story. We needed more LED, we needed more cameras, we needed more control, we needed more people, we needed more catering tickets, we just needed it to be bigger. (Cue air horn)
Whilst in the planning stages for the Wireless part of these weekends, we were involved in the construction design of ‘curved’ IMAGS. The IMAGs were designed to wrap around the inside of the stage. Having never done this before, CT our video supplier designed some curved header bars to achieve the wrap. Serious Structures designed a method and structural plan of how we could do this.
After much head scratching, a huge I-beam was installed and we worked with PRG riggers to install motors and ultimately hang the screen.
It was only a measly 6.5 tons and 4,092,480 pixels per IMAG. Not sure what all the fuss was about.
While this tiny screen rig was going on, we installed a further 100m2 of ROE CB5 for the onstage screen. This was for artists to use throughout the weekend.
In total, for all the LED on the main stage we were using fourteen processors, that’s a total of fourteen 1920 x 1080 canvases. To conquer this monster system we used d3 (disguise). Heading up this system was Leo Flint. Leo and OH's Connie Glover worked together to build a system that had the ability to deal with the millions of pixels we had gathered!
We used HDSDI VFC cards in the d3’s and a FOR A Matrix to distribute the feeds. These feeds were received in LED world using a fiber system called Stage Racer. At this point we feel the need to pause and rave a little about this system. We spend so much of our time on site, specifically at festivals figuring out fiber routing. The geffens and the rattlers are a thing of the past. The Stage Racer is the future. It’s a mystic box that sends and receives 12 lines of video, 12 lines of audio, network, and reference. All controlled from an easy web browser. Genius.
We actually retained a quarter of our sanity thanks to that box.
Live Nation TV was brought in to produce a show for MTV. We were live on MTV from 21.00hrs to 23.59hrs on both Saturday and Sunday Night. This was headed up by Mike Kauffman and Abi Heilbron and was directed by Mathew Amos.