Tuck collaborated with the legendary Roisin Murphy on her summer tour, seamlessly integrating lighting, cameras, and a fully midi-controlled design.
At the beginning of the year, Toby Dennis from I Smashed It Productions & Chemical Brothers, who was joining Roisin’s team as Technical Director, approached us. He invited us to collaborate with our long-time friend Matt Knowles (Bless Elska) on the summer tour production. Our mission was to craft an energetic show adaptable to any summer stage, ensuring consistent emotions at every performance. Our primary challenge was designing a fluid show, allowing room for Roisin and the band to improvise, relying solely on instrument midi notes for timing and triggers. This involved identifying every instrument and sound for each song, creating MIDI note patches for each track, and managing both physical & network routing. The result? A dynamic, interactive lighting and video show.
From our initial conversation with Roisin, it was evident she had a distinct vision for the show. Our job was to turn that vision into reality. We settled on a minimalist colour palette, favouring bold and clean hues over bright and multicoloured ones. Emphasizing the band, a significant element of Roisin’s show, was crucial. To achieve this, we incorporated a variety of on-stage cameras, modifiable and arrangeable within Resolume.
While constructing the show, we retained elements from the previous performances, setting the tone for the new tracks and elevating the production. The show boasts a plethora of dynamic moments, from offstage performances to camera, multiple costume changes, foot-stomping dance sequences, and sing-along anthems.
Creating a dynamic midi show required the integration of several systems to manage the multitude of notes and their diverse origins. We utilized a series of iConnectivity Mio devices. All instruments were routed back to the stage Mio, managed by Eddie (the MD). From there, each input was transmitted over RTP to our S/L Mio (in the video rack). In the video rack, Matt processed each line of MIDI from the Mio, simultaneously sending all inputs over RTP to a MacBook at FoH.
At FoH, we employed a MIDI routing program named Bome Midi Translate Pro. This allowed us to design MIDI patches for each song, creating 25 fixed midi triggers inside the MA (mode 2). With Bome, we could map specific inputs to designated outputs, streamlining the vast number of notes to only the essential ones for each song. From the MacBook, we used a USB-MIDI interface into the DIN ports of the grandMA. To switch patches, we constructed page change macros that dispatched a specific note to Bome, loading that track’s patch.
Once our routing was established, this method proved to be an efficient and adaptable way of programming the show. We built foundational cue stacks for each track, with effects, bumps, and chases activated by the MIDI notes, ensuring the show remained synchronized and on point.
In our quest for a camera package, we prioritized versatility while minimizing the hardware and cables required. The system had to be lightweight for easy flight check-ins.
Our choice? NDI cameras. Specifically, the BirdDog PF120 box cameras and a P120 PTZ head. Using IP for camera feeds not only reduced the need for cables and conversion equipment but also enabled any computer on the network to access the camera views, facilitating a FoH multi-camera view of the band. Camera placement was strategic: one for each band member, with the PTZ centrally located in front of the MD, and a roaming camera for Roisin’s interaction.
We employed two 2.5gb switches, both equipped with 130w of POE per port. One was positioned next to the onstage MIDI rack, and the other in the video rack S/L. High bandwidth switches were essential for multiple HD video streams and clients. The use of PoE meant each camera required only a single cable.
In moments when the cameras take a brief respite, Matt’s has built a comprehensive, track-specific, show. He seamlessly integrates a curated collection of clips and images, a nostalgic journey through past shows, promotional events, and slices of life. These visuals are not merely played; they are transformed. With the magic of MIDI-triggered effects, each clip is harmonized with the instruments, elevating the performance to a mesmerizing spectacle that leaves an indelible mark on the audience.
A massive thank you to Roisin for having me along for the ride and trusting us with her show, it was truly a class in master performance. To the band & touring team for making us feel welcomed and kindly putting up with our asks and additions. Toby for getting us involved and supporting us throughout the process. Of course, our longtime collaborator Matt, is always up to a challenge and one of the most creative video designers we have met. Thank you to Sorcha for capturing the shows and allowing us to show them off to the world (@sorchabridge).
Technical Director –
Show/Lighting Designer –
Video Designer –
Touring LD –
Tour Manager –
Tom Southerland / Murley