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Coldplay - iMag Effects Brought To the Next Level

Coldplay is world renowned for the spectacular grand scale and innovation used in their shows and the Music of the Spheres World Tour is no exception. FRAY Studio tapped into its comprehensive design and real time visuals toolkit and expertise to contribute various significant parts of the show’s video production in collaboration with the show’s creative team.

As a way to bring the audiences closer to performers in large scale concerts ‘iMag’ (Image MAGnification) live camera video is commonly used to display mostly medium/close up shots and details of the show. For the Music of the Spheres stadium tour iMag played an even more important role than usual as it was always constantly displayed on some or all of the show’s 8x LED screens and for some numbers it was the only imagery displayed on them.

iMag Effects Brought To the Next Level

Using Notch software, FRAY Studio created a variety of unique grades and looks for each song of the setlist as well as dynamic real time visual effects that added elements of stylized hyper realism to the multi camera feed of the band in line with the narrative arc of the show. Examples include the colourful prismatic trail effects of ‘Paradise’ and ‘Sky Full of Stars’, the motion generated particles of ‘Biutyful’, the gritty audio reactive video distortions ofPeople Of The Pride’, the psychedelic rainbow chaser colour effects of ‘Charlie Brown’ as well as the live recording capture and reverse playback of the band and the audience in ‘The Scientist’ (as a node to the original music video) among others.

Over 30+ iMAG looks and/or real time effects were created by FRAY for the show as well implementing the technical workflow for compositing rendered content and the live video feed together in sophisticated ways. FRAY also streamlined the Notch technical workflow, allowing for iMAG and video output on various screens with extensively different resolutions to be displayed correctly depending on the geometry of the LED surfaces. This was specially the case with the multiple spheres' shaped LED screens in which this was achieved by incorporating Notch’s UV camera capabilities into a content/pixel map that was then transferred into Disguise.

Biutyful: The Show’s Closing Visuals

In addition FRAY Studio created content for the opening moments of the show ‘Incoming Transmission’ as well as for the visuals for the closing number ‘Biuytful’ in which the world of ‘Flora’ was created and animated using the powerful tools of Unreal Engine that allowed for the speedy realization of sophisticated stylized near photorealistic finishing. The art direction and narrative of the visuals explore the corners of planet ‘Flora’ as its alien plants and flowers blossom in magical and rapid ways alluding to our own planet which too has this capacity and which should not be taken for granted: a central theme and objective Coldplay bring to the forefront of the Music of The Spheres World Tour as they aim to bring awareness to the subject and make the tour as eco-friendly as possible.

Dance Party: An Energy Emitting Interactive Game

Part of the eco-friendly and environmental awareness push by the tour manifested itself in the incorporation of two kinetic dance floors that operate using pressure sensitive tiles that generate energy when stepped or danced on. In the hours before the concert begins audiences are encouraged to come and dance on the kinetic floors and cycle on the power bikes to generate energy which is used by the show. This data is received and can be interpreted live as OSC data to create a live competition before the show.

Notch was used to interpret and display the data received in a stylised and fun way onto the giant circular iMag screens on both sides of the stage. The energy information was displayed in three ways: first live joules data was received and accumulated (added up) to show the amount of energy generated over the 4 minute game. Second was the speedometer or level which was an active representation of the energy level, the bar getting higher and lower dependant on the amount of energy produced; to give the sense of the build of energy and encourage the crowd more there were also added effects like glowing pulses which increase in speed with the level and particles which were generated when the energy level was above 50% but would stop if it dropped back down. Finally was an animated battery, which would fill up over time in accordance to the amount of joules generated.

Alongside these generative elements were text which can be updated to display the City the show is currently in, a winner trigger which can be triggered by the video operator to show which Dance Floor has produced the most energy over the 4 minutes, and a live camera IMAG feed of the crowd on the Kinetic Dance Floors and Power Bikes.

In addition to receiving the energy level of the kinetic floor, triggers were received from the separate tiles and quadrants of each floor. With this data in mind, FRAY Studio created a single canvas of eight separately triggered pieces of content in Notch from these triggers which could be feed mapped in Disguise to various strands of the LED strips that adorned the kinetic floors and power bikes. This added an additional way of creatively displaying audience participation.

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