“One of the UK’s most stunning pop productions of 2013”
“One of the UK’s most stunning pop productions of 2013”: that is how TPiMagazine described the #willpower tour in its February 2014 issue. The famous pop artist will.i.am, lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas, indeed managed to bring a show with a theatrical ‘wow’ factor, during his month-long European tour. As they wanted to heavily focus on visuals in the form of 3D projection mapping, during the show, will.i.am and production manager Neil Porter relied on the expertise of XLVideo. XL’s Clarke Anderson helped design the projection system that features 12 HD Barco projectors.
Three large inflatable heads – often running content of will.i.am’s face lip-synched to his vocals – were the dominant aesthetic element of the show. All three had DJ sets up on top, together with three roll-down projection screens upstage. The main challenge of this set-up was to ensure that the 270-degree projections were perfectly mapped with no shadows. That was a complex task requiring the precise positioning of every projector at each venue, and each machine having its own discreet video feed.
HDQ-2K40 and HDF-W26 projectors
Four Barco HDQ-2K40 machines were placed at FOH and run in two pairs. One pair covered the front-most projected imaged onto the three heads when all are in position, and the other pair covered all three roll drop screens when they were in the down position and covering the entire back of stage (with the two side heads staying in position). The roll drops also had a header section which is projected on to and remains in place for the whole performance.
In the middle of the stage deck left and right is a double-stacked pair of Barco HDF-W26 projectors which cover around to the ears of the two smaller heads. Another two pairs of HDF-W26s flown just wide of the stage on the downstage edge fitted with .7 wide angle lenses are used to cover the rear cyc projections when the front projections can’t be used because the center head is in place.
The cyc projections and header areas are run via a separate Catalyst media server system.
Pushing the limits
“This was a very challenging and complex project. It was clear from the first meetings that the show was going to be led by the video elements with other departments needing to make some big compromises to make it work. Thankfully this was fully embraced by the other departments. Everyone really came together as one team and the end product really demonstrates that. Working with will.i.am, who himself is very technology savvy, has been a great experience. It is very rewarding to work with someone who pushes the limits of what can be achieved which encourages us to approach a project differently,” concluded XL Video’s Gareth Jeanne, Project Manager for the tour.