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Working with Solotech makes your event spectacular on-stage and behind the scenes

Expertise, service, and communication: key ingredients for remaining at the forefront of live concert video

For Solotech’s Director of Special Projects, Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall mixing those ingredients perfectly is integral to achieving balance and harmony; his watchwords for aiding in the creation one of a kind video experiences for artists and audiences.

Woodall explains that cutting-edge technology is an important consideration. Still, relationships are perhaps even more critical in designing video systems that meet clients’ needs, citing Solotech’s work on Adele’s Weekends with Adele, Las Vegas residency.

“Last summer, Adele was doing two nights at Hyde Park for British Summertime, her first live shows in some time. We worked really hard with Adele and her team to ensure it went well. What we do out in the field is our ‘shop window,’ so it was a natural progression for us to get involved as early as possible for the Vegas shows.”


Achieving excellence begins with honest conversations

Ensuring an artist’s vision is captured perfectly and supported by the video infrastructure and design.

From early conversations through the demo and design process, Woody worked closely with Adele’s production team, design firm Stufish Entertainment Architects, Creative Director Matt Askem, Treatment Studio, and others to provide the ideal infrastructure to realize their overall vision.

That did include very new technology, notably a large number of Disguise GX3 servers, the first ones on the market globally. However, determining what technology to deploy wasn’t based on what was the biggest, brightest, or closest to hand but on those early conversations. “The whole industry is relationships and people,” Woody notes. “Speaking with everyone involved, saying, ‘I understand the picture, I understand the technical requirements, but what are you trying to achieve, to create? That’s very important.”

In doing so, Solotech demonstrated its dedication to keeping up to date with the latest technology available and willingness to be an early adopter and work closely with manufacturers to iron out the nuances that accompany new products but to ensure every element of the system supported the intent of the artist and designer.

“If you can get a feeling of what someone wants to achieve, that helps the design, even down to what cameras you use – some cameras are a bit more sympathetic, some are highly detailed. We’re trying to understand the flavour of what they’re trying to achieve, all the pieces that make the show the sum of the parts. We’re very conscious that our packaging, our equipment, our people, our approach reflects the company.”

 Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall, Director of Special Projects, Solotech


Technical roadblocks – then and now

With so many possibilities available due to ongoing, rapid innovations in video technology, the challenges in achieving a balance between the look and feel of a show and harmony between the technology and performance have changed over time.

“A technical roadblock twenty years ago might have been that you couldn’t technically achieve someone’s idea. Whereas in today’s world, you have to strip out the ‘noise’ and choose technology that has value for the production,” Woody says. In doing so, it’s vital to have honest conversations with everybody involved and be selective in choosing the right tools for the job.

“At Solotech, we’re really good at winnowing out the technological ‘noise’ and focusing on products and manufacturers that add value and benefit the projects we do. Obviously, with Adele, it is a technical show, but it needed to remain authentic. I describe it as the visual version of listening to vinyl as opposed to listening to Spotify.”

Scaling authenticity

For Weekends With Adele at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, the mandate was to maintain an intimate atmosphere for what is very much a large-scale show, achieving balance and harmony between the performance, the setting, and the technology inhabiting it and ensuring the focus remains on the artist even though the video elements in play dwarf them.

That’s no small feat, given the scope and size of the system deployed at Caesar’s. With 180-degrees of projection surfaces stretching virtually across the entire width of the space, you’d expect the audience to focus on the system immediately. But the show’s tone is set beautifully off the top, with just Adele and a pianist performing the first few songs framed by what appears to be an A-shaped virtual proscenium.

In short, the sense of authenticity increases because the audience is so focused on just the piano and Adele initially so that when the scope of the video surfaces are revealed as the show builds, it feels natural, an organic extension of the performance – a sense of the artist inviting you deeper into their world, rather than a distraction. While the show ramps up dramatically, ultimately becoming a breathtaking spectacle, it remains intimate and authentic.

“When Adele first enters the stage, everybody feels like she’s singing to them individually. Then the backing singers join her at the piano. It’s not until several songs in that you start to see the scope. The video surface is in front of you the whole time, but when you walk in, you see it as part of the venue.”

 Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall, Director of Special Projects, Solotech

Establishing trust to push the envelope

Pacing and technical considerations aside, trust is the main ingredient to creating a uniquely compelling concert experience. “When an artist walks out on stage, they put their image, their reputation, in the hands of the people putting that show together,” Woody says. As an equipment provider, he adds, “whilst Solotech is not officially involved in the creative process, we’re working together. We want to understand the creative process to help the system and everything else work together as one.”

At the core, establishing trust depends on human resources, expertise, and service, emphasizing transparent communication within the company and between partners, and the willingness to adapt swiftly and increase your agility as a company. That requires investing as much in technology as in people whose dedication to ensuring every client has access to Solotech’s wide range of resources and full attention is unshakeable.

“In terms of the number of shows, other companies definitely do more. It’s not a numbers game for Solotech. We’re very conscious about not going ‘one gig too far.’ That’s important. If you’re not looking at a project from a resource standpoint – the right people, the right equipment, the right relationship, and every other aspect – if you’re thinking, ‘I’m going to do the show because it’s a big artist, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”




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