Digital Insanity teamed up with House powerhouse Defected and Disco-House connoisseurs Glitterbox in August to deliver dazzling visuals for London’s We are FSTVL, powering up a Hippotizer Nevis+ Media Server (opens in new tab) to pump out extra VJ prowess.
Reading-based video production company Digital Insanity—which has created visuals for dance festivals including Snowbombing, Lovebox and Global Gathering—was at the helm of the Glitterbox/Defected stage over two days of fast-paced performances. Eight huge 512x1280 portrait, 3mm LED screens were rigged in a four stage-left, four stage-right formation, displaying branded punk style disco graphics, slogans, geometric beauty and live feed footage. A further two screens were positioned as a DJ riser and behind the booth, at the upstage position. The full canvas size was 7680x1440 pixels, and all of the screens were supplied by UK Events Group.
The Glitterbox stage kicked off the weekend with a bang with a heavyweight lineup which included Dave Lee ZR, The Shapeshifters, Jellybean Benitez, and Todd Terry. “We were called up for VJ services to build a show from a supplied set of branded clips, slogans, logos, and the Glitterbox brand’s five-color palette,” said Digital Insanity’s Richard Bagshaw. “The brief was very specific and the brand guidelines were very clear—we were provided with around 70 clips, a logo, and five color references, and we also made seven or eight clips to add to the batch. We spent a couple of days back at the office programming around 350 presets, to make the supplied standard 16:9 content work in the super wide array.”
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Due to the nature of the arena, it was not possible for Bagshaw and his team to have a FOH position in the usual location, so they created a small bunker underneath the stage, below the DJ booth. Space was at a premium.
“The Hippotizer Nevis+ enabled us to have all the features that we needed in a tiny footprint, while still giving us the 4K output that we needed and the ability to connect our controllers and the NDI camera,” added Bagshaw. “Because we were positioned underneath the stage, we could not see the actual screens so we created a SHAPE Visualizer 3D mockup that allowed us to see what we were sending to the screens in real time, and we were able to place the Visualizer window onto the same 4K ZooKeeper output screen along with all the other controls that we were using.
“VideoMapper was essential for this show, as the huge 7680x1440 pixel canvas had to be outputted within a single 4K canvas to the screen processor. We also made extensive use of the VideoMapper on Layer feature to be able to re-size, position and composite existing HD 16:9 content onto the extensive screen layout and to allow us to composite the camera feed over the video content.”
The VJ team used NDI to get the camera inputs into the Nevis+, meaning there was no need for any capture cards. MultiController was used to interface to all the external controllers.
On day two, the We Are FSTVL stage was taken over by Defected with a stellar lineup consisting of Monki, Jess Bays and Low Steppa, among many others. “Our VJing was a bit freer on the Defected day—they liked what we did for them at Austria’s Snowbombing festival earlier in the year, so we delivered a Digital Insanity dance show consisting of minimum colors and lots of negative space, just letting the video follow the vibe of the music,” Bagshaw continued.
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Live camera feeds were also fed into the Nevis+, which the Digital Insanity team says they used “sparingly”, blending it into the visual mix and integrating stage action shots into the graphics video show.
“Hippotizer’s Pin-Bridge feature was a key player in the Glitterbox show, linking layers to keep multiple layer looks in sync and it worked beautifully,” explained Bagshaw. “In fact, Hippo always makes my life easy—I pretty much use it on every gig and have for the last 19 years. VideoMapper on Layer and Alpha compositing were the features that really stood out for me on this project.”