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March 2011

Shipping Up to Tsongas

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On March 19th, we had the pleasure of producing a seven camera IMAG (image magnification) show for the Dropkick Murphys at Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

Given our long history of live concert production and the number of shows we’ve worked with DKM in the past, D2 was approached by the band’s management to produce the live video to accompany the concert at one of the last shows of their US tour promoting the new album “Going Out in Style”. This wasn’t to be a straightforward production, though – we were asked to put together a show that was gritty and “old-school” – think black & white, grainy, frenzied and paced to match the band – fast. Stylistically and technically, the challenge was to create a post-produced feel but shot live show.


Camera locations were worked and re-worked, finally settling on two hard cameras at front-of-house (where the sound and light boards live) with long (33x and 35x) lenses, three hand-held cameras on the downstage edge between the barricade and the stage, and two hand-held cameras upstage looking back toward the audience.This would provide for excellent up-close coverage of the action on stage and the two cameras at FOH allowed for “safety” coverage of Ken Casey and Al Barr, who trade lead vocals.


Using a mix of our Sony DXC-D55 and Sony BVP-70is cameras turned out to be a fun and fascinating dilemma – mixing analog and digital and attempting to have all the images match – we wanted the show to feel gritty and we were able to achieve that with increasing the gain on the older 70is cameras to 18db, crushing the black levels, over-saturating the colors and over-exposing the whites. But, the SDI D55s proved to be a problem. Even at 18db, the cameras looked too good! Dialing up the gain in-camera to 27db took care of that – the seven cameras matched nicely; all with the grit and noise that was going to give that old-school rock-n-roll look we were going for.


The idea of shooting the entire show in black & white ultimately gave way to using that effect more sparingly and we used a switcher effect on our Sony DFS-700a to remove all the color and add additional grain with overlays from DVD playback. Using it on just a few of the songs in the 2-hour set was met with rave reviews.

The end product was exactly what we had hoped it would be: a gritty, old-school video that supported (and, dare we say, enhanced?) the audience experience.