Coldplay’s acclaimed live show Video Director Ben Miles chose to work with British manufacturer Avolites and distributor and technical specialist Realtime Environment Systems (RES) to design what he describes as ‘the ultimate video system’ for the Brit rockers’ current world tour.
Crossing four continents, A Head Full of Dreams is a major stadium tour in support of Coldplay’s seventh studio album of the same name.
Miles heads up a team of 14 to 16, including the spidercam team and Leo Flint, the tour Video Programmer, who runs Avolites Ai media servers and a Barco E2. The Video Director selected eight powerful Ai R6 media servers, which he had used on Coldplay’s last tour, Ghost Stories, as the core of this new system.
Dave Green of Avolites said: “I got involved very early on in the project to help Ben design an overall system. It consisted of eight R6 media servers, four of which are used for front end media playback. One does a big 4k screen, which, to my knowledge, is the first time full native 4k has been used on a stage show like this. The other servers take care of the side screens. Then there is the back up for each of those, so it’s a fairly standard set up for a large scale show, apart from the 4k playback.
“What we did do was put in a set of downstream video servers that were there purely for the purpose of processing effects with minimal latency. So we took the outputs of what we call the ‘effects servers’ and routed them to the Encore 2, which is the final control system for the video walls. Alternatively we can route them through the other Ai media servers further downstream of that. That whole high level system design was unique to this project.”
Working directly with Coldplay, RES also produced some of the more psychedelic graphics for the show – inspired by 1990s rave culture motifs.
“Ten or fifteen years ago the psychedelic scene got us into making visuals,” said Green. “We feel as though it’s now come full circle. We started VJ-ing on raves, never thinking for a moment that one of the biggest bands in the world would employ us commercially for making similar psychedelic patterns.”
Coldplay are currently in the US, with dates in California, Arizona and Oklahoma coming up later this month.