The Strictly FX crew; FOH Engineer, Demetrius Moore.
McDaniel. “All key lighting used to spotlight Drake also used the BlackTrax real-time tracking system. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with such an internationally known artist. Hailing from the 6ix [Toronto], Drake originates form and champions the very city our BlackTrax head office is located.” At FOH, Conde controlled the show via an MA Lighting grandMA2. “There are always a lot of last-minute surprises with Drake,” stated the LD, while explained in day-to-day responsibilities behind the MA. “Although 70-80% of the show is timecoded, every now and then we’ll switch out a song which means I’m still doing a lot of manual cues or putting up a new look for some guest artist’s moment. It certainly keeps me on my toes.” Aiding Conde day to day was Lighting Crew Chief Chris Davis along with his team consisting of; Jamie Gorman, Alex Hughes, Dai Mitchell, Dave Baxter, Bart Buckalew, Scott Naef and Tess Minor.
in the US and recreating it in Europe,” commented Taylor. “Once the kinks were worked out it was really smooth. The support team at disguise were phenomenal being on call whenever we needed and even going as far as to create us a custom patch to fix any issues we had.” Taylor gave his final thoughts on the tour: “This was a great project to be involved in with a great crew from both the US and European sides. It pushed the boundaries of the technology we have in this industry.” As well as the extensive floor LED there was an abundance of video product in the roof with all four sides of the mother grid being coated in ROE CB5. “Essentially I’m cutting two shows at once,” commented Hayes. Each LED side of the mother grid was split in half with 2 IMAG feeds. “In total I’m working with around 10 cameras in this rig with 7 Sony 2500’s using a section of lenses including a Fujinon 99x long lens, a 14x Fujinon lenses and a 22x Canon Lense.” Also, at Hayes’ disposal were 3 Panasonic HE120 robo cams which he controlled while at his Grass Valley Karrera 2ME Switcher. A notable highlight on the camera rig was a video tracking rig which ran up one of the sides of the stage. The system consisted of a Luna Remote System Junior 5C with a tower set up that could extend to 16ft. “Throughout the show it goes up and down the stage which greats a selection of great looks,” commented the Director. “Drake really understands the power of the camera. Throughout this tour and the previous American leg, we’ve really locked in the pressure points of each song to best use those tracking shots for the IMAG content.” The Director outlined his workflow each night. “I suppose some people might think I’m making things more difficult by having two separate cuts for one surface,” he mused. “But my take is that it allows more of the show to be seen. For example, there will be times that I’ll have one cut stuck on a close up but then the other panel will be showing off the stage so those closer to the barriers can still experience the whole show.” But he’s happy to make sure his approach is part of a natural progression. “For Europe I’ve had a whole new set of camera guys who have all come via PRG. We’re now a few shows in and we are at a stage where we can begin to enhance the show and really emphasise certain elements.” In fact, the Director continued to dish out compliments for his fellow 18-strong video team. “Although we had a lot of new guys on this run, they have all done incredibly well. Thankfully, one person we have got to keep on is our Engineer Lewis McMillan. He comes from PRG and is very knowledgeable – a young fella who knows more than he should,” he laughed. Leading the charge for the European leg was Video Crew Chief, Ed Prescott. “I was given free reign by Chris Roberts and PRG, to hand pick all of the new 14 members of the 18 man department,” commented Prescott.
VIDEO Without doubt, a stand out moment of the show came courtesy of the stage which was completely coated in LED. In total 12m by 24m of YESTECH Magic stage was deployed on the surface and on the edge. Talking through the video elements of the tour was Johnny Hayes, Video Director. “What we’ve been able to create on this one really is outstanding,” enthused the Director. “During the show we have a selection of effects - from turning the show stage into a swimming pool with women swimming under the surface to creating a 3D scorpion that appears to come out of the stage.” The backend to the system included an extensive disguise media server setup with 4 gx2 servers and 2 4x4pro servers. Overseeing the system each day was Luke Taylor, disguise Operator. “The pure power of disguise servers allows us to run high numbers of outputs and high-resolution outputs,” began Taylor, who explained why the disguise was the brand of choice for project. “The ability to have everything laid out in the 3D space and be able to see the show before actually having the setup in place was invaluable. Also, having Notch generative effects natively supported allowed us to use all the BlackTrax and automation data to manipulate content on the stage.” In the system, the gx2s ran all the LED which allowed Taylor and the team to run Notch generative content on the LED with the HDMI 2.0 output cards enabling 4K to be across the whole system. Meanwhile the 4x4 servers ran the projection as the number of outputs was so high (16 main and 16 backup outputs). The show itself was controlled by disguise’s Sockpuppet DMX via Art-Net from FOH by Conde. All the disguise servers also ran all the distribution of signal to all screens via a fiber network using lightware Fiber transmission and matrixing. “The biggest challenge was taking a show that had already run a leg 42