XL Video are supplying video production – including a projection system, LED screen, cameras and PPU - to Coldplay’s acclaimed “Mylo Xyloto” (MX) world tour, continuing its long working relationship with the band that started in 2005.
Live video director is Andy Bramley and the content / media servers are designed and programmed by Ben Miles. Together they have evolved a unique, almost cinematic video aesthetic for the band’s live performances, working closely with the production and lighting designer Paul Normandale, who designed the screen layout, and Phil Harvey, Coldplay’s creative director. Misty Buckley styled the vibrant graffiti tagged set decoration which adds another layer to the visual tone.
Played to a 360 degree audience where possible, with audience seated behind the stage which is still in the end-on position, video is an intricate blend of raw and soft / colourful and monochrome elements in a lively, edgy interactive environment.
Both Bramley and Miles have worked with XL Video on many previous occasions and describe the service, equipment and attitude as “Excellent”.
Over the stage is a single five metre diameter circular Barco O-Lite (10 mm) screen –which is directly backed with a projection screen surface for the 360 degree shows. Out in the auditorium are four circular screens - two at 6 metres and two at 4 metres - flown in the roof above the audience.
This ensured that everyone in the arena has a good view of the video. The screens showed a mix of IMAG and playback throughout the performance, and video was again an essential part of the band’s communication with the audience.
Bringing the screens out to the audience also helps close the space down and make it intimate and theatrical when needed. Coldplay are one of a handful of bands to master the art of making large venues feel intimate and personal with a combination of performance, presence and production!
Each screen is fed by a pair of XL’s Barco FLM 22K projectors with overlaid images, all connected via a fibre network, specified as the best data solution to deal with the long distances which can be up to 200 metres between projector and control.
Miles is running two active Catalyst media servers, via a grandMA Lite console, with two hot backups. Each is fitted with a TripleHead2Go giving three outputs per device – one for each of the six screens, so all can receive independent feeds in any configuration.
This gives the full flexibility to send any source to any screen, together with a 16 x 16 Lightware DVI matrix supplied by XL Video, a new product geared to touring and also remotely controllable. XL built a custom rack to house all the Catalysts, the matrix, associated devices and a UPS.
Miles does all the screen management and effecting both playback and camera outputs – an organic Bramley / Miles process often with a flourish of improv– in the Catalyst.
The playback footage follows a graffiti inspired trajectory, including re-edited video of the bespoke ‘hypnoflow’ laser frame from the summer festival tour – and other funkiness, presented with futuristic twists of psychedelia.
Bramley has directed Coldplay’s live video since 2005’s Twisted Logic tour. He and Miles worked in tandem on 2008/09’s Viva La Vida tour, where their particular synergy and style of harmonising IMAG, playback and lighting in colour and movement was initiated.
XL are supplying four main cameras for this leg of the tour, one stationed at front of house with a long lens and three hand-helds in the pit – where they can move freely and follow the band. These and one robot cam onstage are cut by Bramley on his GV Kayak console and then sent into the Catalyst system along with the TX feed, and from there, output to screen.
This beautifully balances a fresh, different and off-beat mix with but the all important criteria of enabling the fans to see the band close up … and with a year of touring on the horizon, there’s no shortage of scope for future development on the visuals front.
XL is supplying six crew to work with Bramley, including Miles, engineer Ed Jarman, projectionist Kevin Parry, LED tech Pieter Laleman and Rob Wick and Sacha Moore on cameras. James Morden and Tracey Donnelly have been XL’s technical and project co-ordinators, with Phil Mercer from the LA office as the project manager.
This tour sees the continuation of a long and successful history between XL Video and Coldplay, and is currently scheduled to continue throughout 2012.