Sector 6, the brainchild of Dan Borg, was an enormous brand new stage and performance area at the 2016 Boomtown Fair in the UK. The crazy set design was created from several tonnes of reconditioned scrap metal and much ingenuity as a living, moving, breathing industrial sculpture … inspired by iconic structural components from steel works, power stations, nuclear reactors, etc. all united in an post-apocalyptic masterpiece of madness!
Dan and Boomtown’s production manager asked Dave Whiteoak of Video Illusions to be visual production manager and video designer and to co-ordinate the visual production elements including lighting and video content creation. Dave commissioned lighting designer Sam Tozer from Vision Factory – a regular LD on Video Illusions projects – to add some original lighting magic to Sector-6.
Video Illusions, who work closely with leading UK lighting rental company GLS, in turn asked them to help specify and provide the appropriate lighting kit.
Boomtown is one of a handful of music events that has successfully retained a boutique ambience with a developing theme across a large and diverse site, with a reasonable capacity of 60,000.
Says GLS’s Ian Turner, “We were delighted to be involved with an invigorating, fresh and imaginative project like this. The set was completely stunning, Dave’s video was amazing, Sam made fantastic job of the lighting and it was clear that much thought and precision went into creating a fantastic visual harmony”.
More than Video Illusions!
Video Illusions’ Dave Whiteoak was “honoured to be offered this project” although in fact when initially sent over the design, his first reaction was “Holy shit!”
After that, and very excited about the prospect, he called back immediately and agreed that Video Illusions would do it … before even showing it to any of his team!
Working together with Simon Stuart of HSL and Ian Turner of GLS – the HSL Family company based in Southampton – Video Illusions accepted responsibility for delivery of both lighting and video design, and worked closely with Dan Borg and Sam Tozer on the integrated plan to light the structure and treat specific areas with customised video.
Being a completely new and bespoke concept threw up many challenges, but Dave explains that once on site, “When we all stood back and looked at where we were and what we were actually working on … we knew we had a very special team on this project”.
That included – in addition to those already mentioned – stage manager Selvin Cooper, crew boss Jake Burchell, lighting tech Stu Barr, video animators Kev Watts and Tom Wall and VJs George Dc SFX, media server operator ‘Sleepy Tom’ and supplier Nick Whiteoak plus LED techs Maggs and Gilbert Roper.
Once the installation was underway, a few additional challenges popped up like the LED tubes either side of the main circle, for which Toby Shann from Acorn “helped us out massively” recalls Dave describing how for these and in certain other areas … there was literally only thin air in which to rig!
“Toby is always a legend … within the hour would have a fixing point for our LED” says Dave, adding that they ploughed determinedly through day and night sticking fully to the original video design plan … working out how precisely to make each LED panel fit to the structure.
The video theme was based around the Boomtown’s masked man and industrial revolution steam punk. For the content animators providing an unusual concept meant they had something interesting and invigorating to work on in the studio.
“They pulled numerous elements together to create a flowing storyboard that ran coherently throughout the weekend,” says Dave.
Video Illusions supplied 355 panels of their new high res IP rated VI-L6 LED product giving 5500 Nits of brightness, which even with the lucky Boomtown sunshine blazing, still punched through with the fabulous steam punk animations.
A Resolume media server with 6 full HD outputs was used for control and with its new advanced mapping feature each section of LED could be mapped pixel by pixel.
The server’s new DXV 3 codec offered smooth and seamless playback for running the special nightly AV show, and Kev and Tom could mix back-to-back when VJ’ing throughout the weekend.
Gruelling though the whole Sector 6 experience was in terms of creating a highly original and bespoke environment for the first time, Imagineering the lighting and visuals was also one of the most rewarding projects that Dave has ever undertaken.
“Getting a text from Dan on the Sunday night after the final show and the production manager saying it was literally the best rave-up atmosphere ever … was SUCH a great feeling,” he enthuses. “It made everything worthwhile and recognised the incredible teamwork and synergy that united to make it all happen in such a spectacular fashion that was enjoyed by so much of the festival population”.
Video Illusions also supplied Video Production to some the equally impressive stages including The Lion’s Den, Town Centre, Poco Loco and Projection Mapping.
The Sector-6 concept proved to be one of the most popular locations on site throughout the weekend, at one point pulling 60 percent of the festival population who enjoyed the amazing atmosphere and superlative musical line-up. Even the weather joined the spirit of Boomtown 2016, beaming sunshine and staying dry.
Boomtown – Sector 6 opening show