Programming the Looks for the Eagles’ Long Road

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: January 22, 2009

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Nocturne Productions opted to include Medialon Manager for the Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden world tour, and Medialon programming specialist Automation 4 Ltd. joined the production team to assist in programming the show control system — while allowing for band members to improvize. David Birchall, technical director of U.K.-based Automation 4 Ltd., outlined the basic objective “to produce a robust show control solution and a graphical user interface that would be used by the assistant director to trigger the replay of six streams of HD Video that would be projected on a huge backdrop behind the band.”

The Show Control system used on stage included a Medialon Show Control Machine running one Medialon Manager PRO software license with a Pro-Tools system installed. This would let the band play all tracks synchronous and to keep all elements of the show synchronized, including lighting, audio and video.

Medialon was provided with a timecode feed from Pro-Tools and used as the master sync source for the show timelines used to trigger the HD video on six Doremi Nuggets HD video players. Medialon Manager was also used to change the video mask effects from two Vista Spyder video processors.

Since the Eagles often change from playing along to the Pro-Tools backing to playing totally improvized solo sections, however, the Medialon system would need to stop receiving the time code track temporarily, and during the improvized sections, the assistant director would need to manually trigger video replay and effects from a number of buttons programmed on the Medialon Manager GUI. On receiving the signal from the band, Medialon Manager PRO was then be re-enabled to accept incoming time code and the video show would automatically re-synchronize with the band.

Another challenge was that the HD media used for the show was being tweaked and changed right up to a few hours before the start of the tour’s opening night. This meant that the starting and ending in-points and out-points of the video, and the durations of the clips being used, needed to be changed.

“To overcome this and in-order to minimize the need for re-programming of the system when new media was added, we utilized the flexibility of the Medialon system and created a small database of clip names, durations, in-points and out-points all fully editable from the GUI,” said Birchall.

“This meant that if the media was re-edited, the production team would just need to change the appropriate editable fields on the GUI,” Birchall added, referring to fields like file name, in-point, and so on. Next, the Medialon operator would “load the media on to the Nugget players. From there the coding behind the scenes would ensure that the timelines were automatically adjusted to accept the new media with no danger of the show control code being affected.

“This approach dramatically shortened the time required to update the media and left the production team confident that the media could be loaded right at the last minute in the knowledge that the show would go on,” Birchall added, crediting the Medialon system’s flexibility and coding.
“Minor reprogramming has been necessary by Nocturne Productions to keep the show up to date, as the live show has developed on its journey around the world, but has worked seamlessly due to the flexibility of Medialon as well as the way it was programmed,” said Gene McAuliffe, assistant video director of Nocturne Productions.

“It was great working with David Birchall on this project. He was an enormous help in working out the details of this show,” McAuliffe said. “I am glad I got the chance to work with him and learn from his expertise.” Nocturne’s David V. Neugebauer served as video director.

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