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Roger Waters’ immersive show is an ‘integrated piece of art’

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Universal Pixels has supplied the screens, servers, cameras, a backline monitoring package and crew for prog-rock artist Roger Waters’ This Is Not A Drill tour, which is travelling across North America until October.

Instead of the circular stage shape traditionally associated with in-the-round shows, the tour features a cross-shaped stage, which is mirrored by a 12-surface LED cross suspended above it. As well as creating a striking visual spectacle, this configuration ensures that the audiences have a great view of the video content wherever they are seated.

Jeremy Lloyd, co-director of technical production practice, Wonder Works, says: “With the screen, audio and lighting suspended from the roof, this heavy rig required a lot of advance planning. The 650 sq m Leyard LED screen was chosen because it is lightweight enough to reduce the overall rigging load, while staying true to the overall design concept. The result is a truly immersive 360° canvas for Roger Waters’ outspoken storytelling.”

The LED was driven by Colorlight Z6 Pro 4k processing, which the content and camera effects fed via four disguise gx 2c media servers.

Video director Icarus Wilson-Wright, who first worked with Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters in 2008, came back on board for this tour. “It’s not just a rock ’n’ roll show with big video screens,” he says. “This is unlike anything I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. I describe it as an integrated piece of art for a musical artist – it truly is an incredible show to look at.”

Production manager Chris Kansy says: “We are loving the build speed, resilience and performance of the Leyard LED product, which has been custom built by Universal Pixels. We go through our days confident that the product will produce what we need to deliver – and at the highest production level.”

As well as the screens and servers, Universal Pixels has provided a camera package consisting of 4K 2ME Ross Carbonite Ultra with four Sony HDC4300s (three XJ90 lenses and one HJ14), and two Panasonic AWUE150KPJ PTZ cameras with Ereca Topas 4k optical transmission modules on custom automated masts by Kinetic Lights.

Universal Pixels also provided a 10-station custom-built backline monitoring package and 14 crew members. Project manager Mark Strange says: “It was rewarding to finally see this tour come to fruition. With the two-year Covid-enforced delay and many hours of advancing across Zoom, the final result of how this video-centric show looks is phenomenal.”

Wilson-Right spent five days at the Universal Pixels warehouse before the tour headed out. “It’s reassuring to have Universal Pixels around to help with some of the more technically challenging moments that can crop up on a complex project of this scale,” he says. “They are very good at problem solving and finding a solution to whatever’s happening with the video. And they always ensure that the equipment you’re receiving is perfectly prepped and maintained.”

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