XL Video Celebrates 10 Years of Westlife

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XL Video supplied video equipment and crew for Westlife’s “Back Home� tour, celebrating 10 years as a pop phenomenon. The live show – one of the most dynamic and visually exciting of their careers so far – has been designed and directed by William Baker. Westlife shows have always had a strong video element, and this one was no exception, with 7 Stealth Mk2 LED screens being instrumental in the look and feel of the show, bringing, texture, depth, movement and colour to every area of the stage. Custom video playback ran throughout the show, all of it commissioned by Baker and produced by Blink TV. The tour was produced by Production North and production managed by Karen Ringland, with XL Video’s Phil Mercer project managing. Mercer comments, "Westlife have toured prolifically for the last 10 years, and it is always a good challenge keeping the look of the show fresh and varied from one year to the next". Downstage there was a curved section of Stealth measuring 27 modules wide by 8 high, which flew in and out and was used for an innovative video reveal at the top of the show. This sequence was carefully crafted in collaboration with LD Baz Halpin, so the video content and lighting worked seamlessly in a gradually reveal of the band standing behind the screen. Upstage, near the back of the ‘W’ shaped stage set, were 2 portrait formatted Stealth surfaces measuring 13 modules high by 7 wide, angled in a 45 degree V. To each side of these were a total of 4 landscape Stealth panels, all measuring 9 x 7 modules and in 3:2 aspect ratio, which flew in and out through the performance. The Stealth was used almost exclusively for showing VT playback material. IMAG appeared on the central curved screen just once, during the unplugged section of the show. This was in black and white – to contrast with the generally very rich colouration throughout the rest of the performance – and the screen was divided into 4 sections, each showing a tight head shot of Nicky, Shane, Kian and Mark. The live camera mix was directed by Billy Robinson. XL supplied four Sony D50 cameras, which were positioned one at FOH, one in the pit on track & dolly and two off in the wings of the audience. Robinson cut the mix using a GV Kayak switcher, and this was beamed up onto two side 14 x 10 ft screens each fed by a Barco SLM12 projector from XL. All the playback footage was stored on 2 Doremi hard drives and triggered by MIDI timecode from the backline, controlled via Barco Events Manager. This was programmed and formatted for all the screens by Richard Turner during production rehearsals at Lite Structures in Wakefield. XL supplied 7 crew for the tour, under the direction of crew chief Stuart Heaney - systems engineer Graham Hollwil, Stealth tech’s Andy Tonks and Patrick Vansteelant and camera operators Luke Levitt, Thomas Levitt and Mark Cruickshank. Playback footage was created by Blink TV’s Marcus Viner, Tom Colbourne and Helen Stringer. They worked on the project at Blink’s studios for about 2 months, including a 2 day video shoot with the band at Centre Stage Studios in Islington, London. Working with cinematographer Angus Hudson, this produced material that was used in the ‘beauty’ shots for “Swear It Again� along with footage for other songs, and they also filmed a dancer and a pole dancer. The dancer was shot with a series of different brass instruments, the footage was then composited and layered to create the eye-catching multi-coloured pop art style brass band for “Easy Way�. The pole dancer was treated with chrome and gold effects and appeared in spectacular James Bond style fashion in “If I Let You Go�. Westlife tour again throughout May, culminating in a massive show at Croke Park stadium, Dublin, after which they will take a year’s break.



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