Genesis concert backdrop uses 9 million LEDs

Phil Collins and his mates have pulled out all the stops on their comeback tour, with a massive LED stage backdrop.

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An astonishing backdrop containing more than 9 million LEDs has been created for the Genesis "Turn It On Again" world tour.

XL Video UK has supplied 15,089 Barco O-Lite LED panels with 270 control boxes, plus 102 Mitsubishi 16:8 high-resolution LED panels.

The O-lite panels make up a spectacular back wall measuring 13 metre high and 55 metre wide. This is surrounded and topped by 7 lighting towers (“ribs”) reaching heights of up to 28 metres, with the entire structure resembling a giant conch shell. This was designed by Mark Fisher/Stufish.

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The screen provides a 3D-curved wall and an elegant architectural backdrop immediately behind the performance area. It is an interactive canvass for video playback, graphics images and IMAG which are integrated with lighting effects (designed by Patrick Woodroffe), helping to create the show’s unique visual identity.

The O-lite modules are fitted into customised touring frames designed by XL Video and made by Brilliant Stages. They are populated at different pitches to give multiple resolutions across the whole surface.

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The O-Lite screen ends with two elliptical Mitsubishi LED screens at either side of the stage.

According to Stufish’s project executive designer Jeremy Lloyd, the O-lite screen is by far the most complicated that’s ever been created in terms of engineering and processing,. It presented a real challenge to the video boffins who take care of the processing, mapping and programming of the hard drives that feed it with provocative and engaging images.

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The show also incorporates a few interesting video special effects, one of which is a head shot during the song “Mama” for which the band wanted to replicate an image from the track’s original 1980’s promotional material. This is done live by Phil Collins activating (via foot pedal) a small light positioned at his feet while his face is framed with a tight camera shot – giving a ghostly shimmering halo of light around his face. The XL crew has rigged up a little camera in the pit so Collins can see the image this is producing and tweak it to his liking by moving his head in relation to the light.

Stuart Heaney of Blink TV, leads a video team of 14, has been involved in the Genesis project since January, and part of the overall video brief was the design of special dollies to house and transport the O-Lite sections on tour. These were built by Brilliant Stages, and are an important part of some extremely meticulous pre-planning by Heaney, the XL Video and Stufish teams and tour riggers.

The entire video setup takes three and a half hours each day to install, and 2 hours and 40 minutes to pack up ready to move to the next venue. With 90 trucks and over 250 crew, the Genesis tour is wending its way through Europe, before going to the US until the end of the year.

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