US rock band Paramore’s current world tour is a visual dynamo. Featuring a complex array of projection mapped video screens, the production displays high impact psychedelic visuals powered by the expert technology of Avolites’ EX8 Ai Infinity Server and Ai v10.1 software.
Production Designer Butch Allen devised the show’s complex video display. Three concentric rings of truss and screen loom over the audience at a 45° tilt for maximum impact. Managing the tour’s substantial projection-mapping system is LMG Touring’s technician Grant Draper.
“In terms of video mapping for Paramore, we have multiple planes of convergence and multiple focal points, as everything is on a slant and stepped back on stage,” explains Draper. “There is about a foot and half between each circle of the central screen, meaning that even on the most basic level we are not working with a flat plane.”
Using a modest six layers of content, Draper has configured the stage’s projection screens using Ai v10.1’s Autoblend feature. Laying out the mapping as one screen surface in the Ai environment Draper was able to calculate the required warping and blending of the video projection outputs onto the concentric circular screens on stage.
“We use three Panasonic 32K projectors on the show,” says Draper. “These effectively act as cameras within the Autoblend 3D environment. I just pointed the projectors at the 3D object – the screens – made it fill the full image of the projectors and basically just used it as a line feed of that. I also used geometry correction within the Autoblend environment. Once I go into the warping features within Ai, then on every single output I have discrete geometry control of each object.”
Draper used Ai V10.1’s Surface Modelling Page to create the 3D stage set and then flipped between Surface Modelling and Stage View Mode to instantly see how the virtual screen transposed onto the real-world staging. By doing so, Draper dramatically cut down his mapping time at each venue.
“There’s no way we could’ve done it without Ai’s 3D modelling in the time frame we had,” says Draper. “What used to take me more than two hours to set up now takes around 15 to 30 minutes. This makes a big difference on show day and means less dark time for the whole production.”
Lighting, Video and Crew for the tour was supplied by LMG Touring, including the projectors and the Ai system. “We feel that Ai offers a great combination of power, features and affordability – and we had a great design to work with!” says Craig Mitchell, LMG Director of Touring. “The support from Ruben Laine at Group One was also instrumental in this tour.”
In support of 2017 album ‘After Laughter’, Paramore’s Tour Three travelled Europe in late 2017 following on from the band’s North American leg, Tour Two.
Photo credits to Avolites.