XL Video Supports Doctor Who U.K. Tour with Gear, Crew

by PLSN Staff • in
  • Projection Connection News
• Created: November 8, 2010

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LONDON – For the current Doctor Who Live U.K. arena tour, The Monsters are Coming, XL Video provided crew and video gear including projection, cameras, PPU, media server and an LED TARDIS (the doctor's police-box shaped spacecraft and time machine) for the producers, BBC Worldwide. The show spins through time and space, featuring iconic Doctor Who monsters live onstage including the Daleks, Cybermen, Oods and Weeping Angels, along with Nigel Planer as "intergalactic showman" Vorgenson.

XL's project manager and the tour's venue sound designer, Rich Rowley, has previously worked on numerous BBC productions.


"This has been a great collaboration between all technical and creative departments that has produced an amazing show of which we are all very proud," Rowley said. "Projection is absolutely essential to the narrative, particularly with the Doctor being an onscreen character to link the main storyline, and one of the vital parameters for the sound system design was that it left clear sightlines to the stage from all audience angles," he added.


The screen measures 44 feet wide by 22 feet high, and rear projection is achieved using three Barco FLM 20HD projectors, overlaid to produce a bright image. With all the smoke, pyro, flame jets and other special effects igniting onstage, rear projection was the only practical option.


The projectors are fitted with 0.8 wide angle lenses, as distances behind the stage are often limited.

Image warp facilities are used extensively, both on the projectors and in the Pandora's Box media server to achieve the required perspective correction and line-up the images to the screen.


All the show video content – graphics, animations, the Doctor's VT play ins, etc. – is stored on the Pandora's Box media server and played out as real time composites often using six or more video layers to create the desired on screen result. Selected video elements are timecode-triggered via QLab to play sequences specifically cut to the music whilst others are triggered manually direct from the media server control, three timelines are used to provide this level of integration.

The show's video content was all custom-created, featuring clips from different eras of the show as well as specially shot material featuring Matt Smith. The edit was handed to XL for the final compositing and show programming into the Pandora's Box by XL's David Mulcahy.

XL is supplying two Sony D55 cameras, one fitted with a long lens, positioned at front of house, and the other on a spider dolly in the pit. These are used to capture PiP footage that's mixed by Ray "Moose" Shaw using a Kayak switcher/PPU – and output to the main screen via the Pandora's Box, at strategic moments in the show. This is primarily of the various monsters walking through and interacting with the audience – which produces some great live entertainment for the whole audience.

Upstage right is the Doctor's TARDIS. This is created from 60 panels of XL's Pixled F11 LED screen. which bursts into life at the end of the show, with the footage of the Doctor appearing on its sides and finally metamorphosing into the TARDIS itself – also via footage from the media servers.

The mix of adventure, music and monsters is proving popular with young and older Doctor Who fans across the U.K., and includes a live 16 piece orchestra playing all the original scores written by Murray Gold.


Other technical suppliers to the tour are Bandit Lites UK (LD Mark Cunniffe) and Adlib Audio.


For more information, please visit www.xlvideo.tv.



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