(Los Angeles, California--September 12, 2014) Few tours in recent years have been as visually iconic as Coldplay and their most recent, Ghost Stories is no exception. Despite the fact that this tour played low key venues rather than their usual mega stadium performances, a band with such stage presence requires an impressive visual production and Video Director Ben Miles from Mixed Emotions, London was tasked with delivering just that. Using a mixture of live and pre-recorded content, the result was a show that worked in the more intimate settings but also produced a visually stunning finale at the Royal Albert Hall.
Playing six dates in support of the release of their album of the same name, the Ghost Stories tour took in low key venues such as the E-Werk in Cologne, the Beacon Theatre in New York, Royce Hall in LA, Casino de Paris in Paris, Dome City Hall in Tokyo and of course the final dates at the Royal Albert Hall with a few extras such as the Radio 1 Big Weekend along the way.
Taking care of mixing cameras and content for the main stage video screen, the Roland V-1600HD Multi Format Live Video Switcher played an integral part in the tour. Chosen for its versatility, compact design, high channel count and the ability to accept a variety of video input formats out of the box, the V-1600HD proved to be an ideal solution. Multi award winning provider of creative video solutions for touring, XL Video, supplied the V-1600HD.
Video director Ben Miles explains, “XL Video suggested the V-1600HD to me while I was on the road with Elbow, I liked the sound of the functionality so I did some reading on the specs and XL sent one out to me on tour so I could test it out. I was keen to check the latency between input and output and how fast you could cut between feeds as well as the usability of the menus. All of these functions performed really well and the size of the console was excellent for the type of tour we were doing where I needed to compress the amount of kit being flown around and also real estate onstage. We played some tiny theatres and shoe horned tons of equipment in so it was essential my control setup was small but still had all the required functionality.”
The V-1600HD was used as the central mixer to take in all the camera feeds and content from a Catalyst™ video server. Four broadcast-quality cameras were supplied locally at each show and plugged in using BNC at either 1080i or 720p using 50 or 60Hz. Three Bradley Robocams toured with the V-1600HD and were connected using BNC at 720p as well as two Gnat Minicams at 720p. The Catalyst™ content server was plugged into the DVI input on the V-1600HD.
One of the Minicams was connected via DVI from a scaler so that the content could be resized and the scaler properties utilized. The V-1600HD was also used to output tallies to the four manned cameras with no need for extra converters. On some of the shows the V-1600HD was used to generate the Ref Sync and on others an external reference was used to sync up. The output was mostly at 720p in order to feed the Catalyst™ to mix with content which was then outputted to the LED screen in front of which was a rear projection screen. The loop outs of the 8 x HD BNCs were connected to a multi viewer giving previews of the camera sources. The built-in V-1600HD screen was used as a preview and program monitor.
On some shows such as the Radio 1 Big Weekend, the preview output on the V-1600HD was used to feed the side screen as a second cut so the main program could be used on the upstage LED wall mixed with content and effects and a clean cut to the IMAGs.
“The ability to take in different sources at different resolutions and frame rates on different connectors was a massive bonus. I would have needed quite a few scan converters to perform the same task. Plus knowing that I could take in most broadcast resolutions directly meant a lot less conversations in advance of shows prepping kit as I knew that the V-1600HD could deal with most variations. As we went between the UK, US, Australia and Japan that just about covers all the different power, frame rate and frequencies out there and the Roland had all the options covered. The built in preview monitor is really handy to get you up and running quickly to test feeds and make sure the system is running without the need for everything to be up and running,” Miles added.
The sixteen inputs of the V-1600HD provide connectivity to HD/SD-SDI, DVI-D/HDMI, RGB, Component, S-video, and composite formats – as well as still images assignable via USB memory. The fourteen mixing channels provide built-in scalers and frame syncs for worry-free seamless mixing regardless of the resolution or format. The all-in-one design of the Roland V-1600HD features a built-in preview monitor that provides a convenient monitoring solution when external monitors are not available or ideal. Dual independent multi-format outputs provide a number of innovative multi-screen output options including the ability to SPAN the mixer output to two projectors with the ability to edge-blend the center. In AUX mode, the outputs can be set to different resolutions ideal for sending the program out to a record feed.
Additional features such as Downstream Keyer, Composite Keyer and Picture-in-Picture can be controlled with simple operation with 64 memory banks enable storage and instant recall of setup parameters. SPAN, DUAL and SPLIT modes offer a variety of output configurations. With the Multi Zoom function, one camera can be used to create multiple perspectives for virtual multi-camera production. The V-1600HD can be plugged in to an LED wall directly which much less latency without the need for peripheral products.
“The size of the kit on tour was a big consideration. We had to fly the gear in and out of shows with a quick turnaround and having an all-in-one box was a massive space saver. Also the onstage space was very limited and I like to see the screen as well as the band, which means I need to be on or near stage. If I had a bigger desk I doubt this would have been possible. I tended to put the local PPU backstage somewhere and send the feeds to and fro remotely. I was concerned that all this functionality in one small unit was going to get really hot but we didn't find this at all. The V-1600HD ran smoothly without a hitch at every gig and some of the shows it was really hot in the venue and the kit was up against it,” Miles concluded.
Roland Systems Group (RSG), a division of Roland Corporation U.S., supplies the commercial and performance audio/video industries with application specific equipment from ROLAND professional audio and video product lines. These product lines address applications for houses of worship, studios, clubs/casinos, theaters/performing arts centers, production houses and rental and staging companies. Roland Corporation U.S is located in Los Angeles, CA, and is a member of the worldwide group of Roland companies. For more information, visit http://www.rolandsystemsgroup.com