July 6, 2009UVLD Knows Who's The Boss: Providing Content and Programming For Bruce Springsteen's World Tour
Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design’s (UVLD) visual media developer Cameron Yeary lent his programming expertise and creative input to the big-screen video content for the 2009 world tour of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Supporting the band’s latest album, “Working on a Dream,” the tour previewed in Asbury Park, New Jersey’s Convention Hall in March, officially launched in San Jose, California in April and played US dates through May. The band is now in Europe but will return to the states in mid-August and conclude the tour at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium in the fall.
Yeary was initially contacted by Pete’s Big TV, which needed a Hippo programmer for the band’s Asbury Park rehearsals. Video content for the giant 1700x600 Lighthouse LED wall was still undetermined at the time, but the production team wanted to interface the Hippo with grandMA, grandMA Lite and AVO Diamond One consoles.
“We started using Hippo very sparingly on a few shows last year,” notes Guy Benjamin of Pete’s Big TV. “This year they wanted to expand its use, but we’re a video company and don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with servers and their interface of lighting console control. Cameron came highly recommended, so we asked him to come to Asbury Park. He helped us put the system together efficiently and took the initiative to help create the content, program it and train all of our people to run the Hippo.”
Benjamin points out that, “Bruce has historically eased into video, adopting it more with each tour. We’ve been working with him about 10 years now, and his lighting designer, Jeff Ravitz, is great to work with. The tour is lit almost like a TV show and, in fact, it has the same look as the Bruce’s Super Bowl halftime performance. The addition is that we’re using Hippo and G-Lux screens—later in the tour—a lot more.”
For the big-screen’s HD content Yeary sourced stock footage, added photos taken by Danielle Briggs and himself, and crafted Ken Burns-style animations featuring pictures of the band and vintage musical instruments.
“It was thematic content that wasn’t literally about a particular song,” he explains. “I tried to create an environment, a mood or an atmosphere rather than a literal interpretation of a song.” Yeary programmed the content to the band’s playlist, getting feedback from Springsteen as he honed the visuals. Yeary also took direction from the lighting designer and lighting directors as content was finalized. During shows video from live cameras is also fed to the Hippo for display on the big screen.
“As visual media developer I answer to everyone: production, lighting, the show’s director,” Yeary points out. “I was the newbie on the show but was given a lot of creative control. Everyone really helped me to understand the music.”
Guy Benjamin notes that while “Cameron was originally brought in to help put the system together and train our operators, he really jumped in and became part of the team. He’s not just a hired gun. I couldn’t have been happier with his contributions.”
Mike Appel was the lighting programmer. Russ Hochstedler is the tour Hippo programmer. The Lighting Director is Todd Ricci and the Lighting MA Operator is John Hoffman.