XL Video in Muse Mode

XL Video is supplying Muse’s lighting and video designer Oli Metcalf with video production equipment for their current “Absolution” world tour.

It’s definitely among the most visually innovative and exciting tours to kick off in 2003.

Metcalf is using a Catalyst digital media server run from his WholeHog II lighting console to control all the video art, which is stored on the Catalyst computer hard drive.

Additionally he has six camera inputs – 3 Toshiba ‘lipstick’ devices, two Sony surveillance cameras on the drums and a handheld DV cam, operated throughout the show by the band’s video co-ordinator Tom Kirk. These are also fed into the Macintosh, where Metcalf manipulates and adds them to the overall mix just like they are lighting fixtures.

The video feeds are output to three upstage LED screens – hung in portrait format – on motors that track in and out vertically to different positions through the show. The screens are made up from 82 panels of XL’s newly purchased Lighthouse SMD 10mm screen.

From the outset Metcalf wanted to combine and control the aesthetic dynamics of both lighting and video together via one seamless user interface. He’s taken this process to a new streamlined level with a combination of lateral thinking, and collaboration with XL Video director Des Fallon, who’s project managing the Muse account.

Fallon comments, “It’s a real pleasure to work with someone as creative and progressive thinking like Oli Metcalf. He’s currently one of the top practitioners of visual art in live music”.

Running the two mediums – lighting and video – simultaneously with the Catalyst allows Metcalf to treat and effect images on the fly, colour them to match the current lighting scene, etc., and to generally be experimental. With impeccable timing, and the full visual control integration, he keeps pace with the phenomenal energy levels of the band as they power thorough the set, never running out of ideas and always coming up with a surprise for the next song!

He’s running a specially tweaked version Catalyst v 3.5 software that includes the facility to switch cameras within the Catalyst. Some of the video is locked into track and MIDI triggered, while other elements are cued live by Metcalf.

The content was also created by Metcalf using Catalyst. A lot of it was reworked band archive footage, and some was created from ArtBeat royalty free media, completely manipulated into something different.

The hardware is looked after by XL’s engineer Clarke Anderson. Production manager Paul English and tour manager Tim Collins are both assisted by Beth Warren.

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