U2 360° World Tour 2009
d3 controls a moving, articulated cylindrical LED screen
Creating an ‘intimate gig’ atmosphere at Camp Nou, despite its huge scale, was U2 360° design architect Mark Fisher’s wish: “The inspiration was to make a set that was as intimate as you can make it in a stadium, so everybody feels like they are real close to the band, and the band feel like they’re real close to everybody in the stadium.”
To achieve this, Frederic Opsomer and Chuck Hoberman created an unbelievable concept; a dynamic video screen consisting of half a million LED pixels, arranged in a weave of interlocking hexagonal panels. A first for the industry, the screen would transform midway through the show; the panels moving apart and expanding the display to three times its original size.
To turn the vision into reality, show director Willie Williams and video artist Catherine Owens needed to evaluate the video content before the screen was built, and video programmer Stefaan ‘Smasher’ Desmedt required a video system that could compensate for the screen’s complex geometry, even as it changed shape during the show.
During the run-up to the first show, d3 was used in the studio to pre-visualise video content, compose and format live video, and rehearse camera transitions. d3 also helped LED fabricators Barco to check each panel was correctly addressed, allowing a ‘right first time’ screen-test.
During the show, d3 handled live camera footage from four SDI sources; compositing them together into a single canvas using soft-edged borders, and performing colour and level correction in real time. d3 then warped and formatted the image to compensate for the screen’s geometry and complex addressing scheme.
d3 also handled all video content playback and transition effects, and received signals from the Kinesys motion control system, updating its virtual 3D model of the stage 50 times per second to ensure that every pixel ended up in precisely the right place. d3’s beat-based musical timeline also allowed precise synchronization to the music, with MIDI-based cues coming from a Medialon control system.