For the final three-week arena tour of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds (TWOTW), XL Video supplied impressive 100ft widescreen projection and an IMAG camera system.
This is a show inspired by HG Wells’ 1898 classic sci-fi novel and based on Wayne’s classic double album which has sold over 15 million copies for Sony Music worldwide. This epic, modernised, live stage adaptation starred Jeff Wayne himself conducting the nine-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings, Jason Donovan, Westlife’s Brian McFadden, X-Factor winner Shayne Ward, X Factor 2013’s Joseph Whelan, and Les Miserables’ Carrie Hope Fletcher.
Production direction was provided by Steve Nolan from Chromatic Productions, and the tour was produced by Jeff Wayne and Damian Collier of Top Drawer Tours Ltd, and XL Video’s project manager was Paul Wood. Wood and XL delivered the live video solution for all previous touring versions of Wayne’s epic creation since its inception in 2006. Each time the video elements have been outstanding and impressive: “It’s been a great experience working on all the TWOTW shows and seeing the application of video grow along with the evolution of the whole show. It’s a real case of the latest technologies being used wisely and appropriately to bring a classic story – still extremely relevant today – to life, ensuring that the presentation stays relevant and stimulating,’ says Wood.
This smart approach to the production has allowed the show to be enjoyed live by a whole new generation of fans and become a timeless and classic stage presentation in its own right. The system comprised the 100-foot wide, 20-foot deep front projection screen which was flown upstage, using eight Barco FLM R22 22K projectors in four double-stacked pairs, edge blended together to form one giant widescreen image. This four-stack system is required to get behind the Martian Fighting Machine when it drops in centre stage from the lighting rig.
Two Barco HDQ40 40K projectors positioned under the stage, were used to project onto a holographic film positioned downstage centre to project Liam Neeson’s “virtual’ performance as The Journalist. Also two 20K Panasonic Projectors were flown stage-right to back-end projector onto another holographic-style framed screen for Liam Neeson head narrations. Widescreen Video Playback content was run using VirtualVTR, locked to show time-code generated by the show audio multi-track playback.
An additional laptop was used to store and run extra graphics pieces and intro / outro VTs. The camera package, which comprised of two Sony DXC55 studio cameras, was fitted with 70 x lenses and positioned at FOH, picking up onstage action and beamed onto the screen via PiPs integrated with the widescreen playback footage.