311’s Unity tour recently worked its away across North America with a full video rig powered by Avolites’ Ai.
The American rockers worked with production designer Bobby Grey, from Sightline Design Group, who created a video-focused show to add dynamic and fast-paced eye-candy. The band is backed by a 38’16’ 5.9mm upstage LED screen and considerable lighting rig.
“For this tour, the band and their management felt strongly about bringing hi res video into the mix,” said Grey. “Touring with full video is somewhat new territory for 311, and the song catalogue that they pull from nightly is well over 120 very different sounding songs. This means that while we have mainstays that are frequently used in the set that we can plan for and timecode, there are also some deep cuts that require some fast, on the fly punting.”
To find the right solution, Grey teamed up with touring lighting and video director, Alex Parayuelos, and Ruben Laine from Avolites’ US distributor Group One.
“Ruben gave us constant support and encouragement every step of the way and together we were able to take an idea and quickly take it from our mind’s eye to a reality,” Grey continued. “This was the first time I’d used Ai and I was immediately impressed with how fast and responsive it is. We are able to treat it like a fixture, pulling up clips and switching layers to highlight even very brief musical moments. The built-in effects were crucial in getting the show put together. We can take a clip and quickly morph it, zoom it, re colour it etc… and then slam it right into another look and the software doesn’t miss a beat.”
The team created a large library of content for the show to cope with the changing setlist each night.
“The band gave me pretty much free rein to come up with a design that complemented their musical and performance style, trusting me to create something special,” said Grey. “We sourced stock content, and I created quite a few clips myself in various 3D programmes. We were able to blend, mix and tone content in countless ways thanks to Ai, so that throughout the night we were able to keep every song looking fresh and going in its own unique direction.
“Adding video into that workflow was daunting at first, but with the rich toolset of effects and fast response time that Ai provided, we were able to put together a very capable and comprehensive video punt page that integrated directly into the workflow we already had established from previous projects.”
Ruben Laine commented: “As much as we like to supply turnkey systems, this tour is a great example of Ai’s versatility. Bobby and Alex were able to use an Anjuna dongle they acquired after attending our Ai classes. The Ai software and features are the same across the entire family of products – the only limitation lies in the number of outputs and the maximum texture size. Ai licenses also allow the user to drive custom hardware built specifically for a particular task or environment. What a great example of Avolites Creative Visual Control.”