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A Cornucopia of Visuals: Barco Lights The Who

Press release about Barco’s lighting of The Who’s tour in 2006. Excerpted from Barco.

For The Who’s 2006/2007 World Tour, Barco joins forces with XL Video and George & Goldberg Design Associates to provide a dynamic and completely reconfigurable video presentation environment.

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Barco announces that Hollywood-based XL Video has selected Barco LED, projection and image processing equipment as the focal point of The Who’s stage set for their current World Tour. Now on its North American leg, the tour’s graphically rich production is being called “a cornucopia of visuals” by music critics and attendees alike.

Barco gear includes dual ELM R18 projectors for the center I-mag screen above the proscenium arch, two SLM R12 projectors for the side screens, and five individual 9’ x 12’ DLITE7 LED screens on stage powered by a custom G&G Motion Control System. Backstage, Barco’s ENCORE Presentation System drives the LED screens.

In terms of configuration, the five Barco DLITE screens provide the show’s creative palette, enabling a completely different physical and graphical “look” for each song. All screens have the freedom to move both horizontally and vertically. They can be combined into a single seamless 45′ cinemascope screen, or five individual panels at various angles, or a configuration that combines a three-panel widescreen flanked by two single panels.

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“It’s the cleanest rock show you can have, with no smoke, all visuals and LED, and all the colors complementing the music,” said Tom Kenny, the tour’s Lighting Director and The Who’s Production Designer. “Pete Townsend is the idea man, and Roger takes a different approach, with a very visual eye. To be honest, and right from the top, they wanted to get the most technical, the most up to date production possible,” continued Kenny. “And you just look at XL, and the shows that they’ve done such as U2, Radiohead and Bowie, and they just seem to have the edge — the technical edge.”

Chris Mitchell, XL Video’s Chief Engineer, was a key player during the tour’s pre-production phase. His challenge was to design a video playback and delivery system that could precisely re-configure five LED screens, depending on a song’s specific requirement — cinemascope, widescreen, or five unique destinations. The solution was Barco’s ENCORE. “It’s a 720p production throughout, done entirely in 16 by 9,” explained Mitchell. “Not only did ENCORE provide us with ‘destination’ freedom for the various configurations, but we were also able to exactly match the size of the screens to the content — pixel for pixel. In pre-production,” remarked Mitchell, “we used ENCORE to sew images together for Doremi transfer. And during the show, one of the reasons it looks so crisp is that there’s no interpolation or scaling necessary. We have a pixel-to-pixel path from the electronics to the screens.”

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John Wiseman, CEO and President of XL Video, was tasked with realizing The Who’s visual concepts for the tour, both technically and creatively. “The technical challenges were solved by Chris Mitchell,” explained Wiseman, “and all the creative elements were perfectly coordinated with Po and Tom Kenny, with no egos involved.” Wiseman was also instrumental in pre-staging the entire set in London before the tour, for a series of key rehearsals. “That’s the beauty of having a great operation on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Wiseman. “We’re not afraid to try new things. Most companies try to stay within a box, but we try to stay outside the box.”

Dana Corey, Senior Director of Marketing for Barco’s Media and Entertainment division commented on Barco’s continuing collaboration with XL Video. “For The Who’s concert tour, with one of the absolute legends of rock and roll, we’re honored to be XL’s equipment and technology supplier. Working with each and every crew member, the level of technical proficiency is first class, and it’s truly combined to provide audiences with one of the most visually stunning shows in years.”

The Who World Tour continues though 2006 and 2007 with concerts in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and South America.

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About The Who

From their 1967 debut at the Monterey Pop Festival — to their 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — to today’s remarkable World Tour, The Who are considered by many to be one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Based on their dynamic history and an artistic longevity fueled by superb musicianship, The Who continue to dazzle audiences with each new concert performance. Their first album in 24 years, “Endless Wire,” was released in October and is now receiving the most amazing reviews of their career. Visit www.thewhotour.com for information on the band, the tour, and the new album.

About XL Video

XL Video was formed in 1996 and has quickly established itself as the international market leader in the field of video production for trade shows, outdoor events, indoor events, concert touring and television. We are a leading rental supplier of video display systems with indoor and outdoor LED screens as well as having one of the largest fleets of high-brightness projectors which also complement our fully SDI camera systems. We guarantee creativity, quality and innovation with tailor-made solutions and work in close cooperation with all the leading manufacturers of this state-of-the-art technology. XL Video is a global player with offices around the world to serve you, offering experience, expertise and the right people for the job, with an impressive track record to prove it. Visit www.xlvideo.com for more information.

About George & Goldberg Design Associates

George & Goldberg Design Associates has been in the entertainment production business since 1988 and specializes in custom scenic design, production, and fabrication services for corporate events, theatrical tours, live entertainment, exhibits, point of purchase displays and themed environments. Occupying a 52,000 sq. ft. facility in Southern California, G&G provides comprehensive show production services with complete in-house facilities including departments in production, CAD and electronic design, engineering and programming, set fabrication and rentals. G&G continues to meet the demands of today’s most stringent entertainment production schedules and specifications, whether designed in house or by developing a client’s specific design. Visit www.georgeandgoldberg.com for more information.

About Barco

Barco, an international company headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium, provides visualization and display solutions for professional markets. Barco designs and develops solutions for large screen visualization, display solutions for life-critical applications, and systems for visual inspection. With its own facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, Barco is active on a worldwide basis. Barco is quoted on Euronext Brussels and is a BEL 20 and a Next 150 company (Euronext: BAR; Reuters: BARBt.BR; Bloomberg: BAR BB). Visit www.barco.com for more information.

© Copyright 2006 by Barco.

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