Depeche Mode’s Memento Mori continues its world-spanning tour dates - it's this summer's longest running European stadium tour - with an LED ‘M’ centrepiece, a 3D scenic element that becomes seamlessly integrated as part of the video wall.
Working alongside TAIT and Show Designer Jason Baeri, Universal Pixels has helped to create the custom-built set piece for Artistic Director and long-time Depeche Mode collaborator, Anton Corbjin’s latest vision.
The LED adorned ‘M’ stands at an impressive 8m in height, aiding the tour’s video visuals and doubling an additional dimension for the video content. Universal Pixels has provided 320m2 of INFiLED ER5 LED for the upstage wall, IMAG screens and the ‘M’.
The band - which comprises founding members Dave Gahan and Martin Gore - are well-known for their compelling visual aesthetics. Video Director, Jon Shrimpton says:
Anton is a true master of design, and becomes the eyes of the band. I look at what he does with his films and base everything around that. We try to make the cameras show the audience what the music sounds like; when it sounds dark, weird, and spooky, the cameras reflect that. If we’re hearing a song like ‘I Feel You’, which is a huge, great big energy thump of a song, then the camera cut has to be energetic.
Universal Pixels has also provided Shrimpton’s team with a Grass Valley Kula PPU, Hitachi 3G camera channels, Panasonic HE145 robo cameras and disguise gx2c media servers.
Shrimpton works on a six-inch preview monitor television with a camera pointed at it to create the final, unpolished look. “We usually make the cameras look as beautiful and clean as possible and then, when it gets to my side, I make it look as messy as I can! Ultimately, nothing is clean and everything is an experiment within this journey. Dave Gahan is an incredible frontman, there's very few people that come anywhere near to how magnetic he is on stage. He draws everybody in and is a pleasure to put on the big screen. Together, Dave and Martin are still unmatched when it comes to portraying their love of playing together up there”.
Miguel Ribeiro worked together with Shrimpton on the original camera treatments and additional background textures. He comments: “The disguise server platform was chosen for its impressive visualising capabilities. Jon and I worked on the show long before we got to LA for the technical tour rehearsals; I have an extensive background in 3D modelling, so I was able to create the stage model which allowed us to observe it in 360º to see the combination of the back wall and the ‘M’ from different angles. Then, we could see how camera feeds would work and, most importantly, how Anton’s films would be best displayed and seen by the live audience”.
Depeche Mode tours are always different from their last, but they’re no strangers to utilising bespoke 3D LED set pieces on stage. The scaled up stadium performances, led by Production Manager Tony Gittins, did this unforgettable design justice. There’s an incredible production team behind this tour, and we’re thrilled to be back working alongside them, concludes Universal Pixels’ Phil Mercer.
The touring video team is completed by Jeroen “Myway" Marain (Engineer) Michelle Sarrat (Media Server Operator), Al Bolland (Crew Chief), Eoin McBrien, Steve Jones & Tim Bolland (LED Tech/Camera Ops).