The 2014 EMAs featured performances from Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Royal Blood and Kiesza, U2, Enrique Iglesias, Alicia Keys and a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne featuring Slash and Biffy Clyro.
The production was designed by Florian Wieder and Matthias Kublik from Wieder Design.
The circular main stage featured a backdrop of LED surrounded by a series of curved metal ribs to form a vortex style structure inspired by the show’s ‘Time Machine’ theme.
A thin curved catwalk extended into the audience and an award presentation area and ‘glamour pit’ faced the main performance stage.
XL’s crew was led by project manager Guido Ruysschaert, assisted on site by crew chiefs, Kurt Verhelle and Daan Govaerts.
XL worked closely with MTV event manager Maggie Mouzakitis, production executive Andy Derbyshire and Ogle Hog who provided content control and screen management.
A total of 170sq-m of XL’s ROE Visual MC-7T LED screen was utilised. A 16m wide by 11m high section was positioned at the back of the main stage supported by a custom-built Stageco structure that tilted it slightly backwards.
Upstage centre on the presentation stage was a surface of ROE Visual MC-18T Hybrid LED which opened to allow presenter and performer access – and about a metre behind this, a small circular surface of MC-7T. This 1m-diameter screen ‘covered’ the gap and was lined up exactly to fit into the back aperture of the vortex.
Video projection onto four special transparent fabric strips stretched between the metal ribs and running along the length of the vortex was fed by three double-stacked pairs of Barco HDF-W26 projectors flown on a front truss.
XL notes that by far the most challenging video component to install were the 8,500 Barco FLX 24 pixel strings – comprising individual pixels – which were fitted into the metal hoops encircling the vortex using cherry pickers.
Bespoke video content was produced for the event by Hello Charlie and Gravity, and Ogle Hog’s crew headed by Chris Saunders engineered, specified and co-ordinated all the control systems required to handle media playback, including scaling, conversion, formatting, etc. of all the pre-recorded sources, managing their output to screen together with that of selected camera feeds. Servers for the show were operated by John Montague.
“The EMA’s, as always, was another fantastic collaboration between all technical and production departments, disciplines and suppliers,” enthuses Guido.
“Many of us have worked together for some years on this much anticipated show, and a real rapport of what everyone has to do and how ‘the bigger picture’ fits together is absolutely essential as we are all under intense pressure. This and a serious amount of talent and experience all combines to produce world-class results every year.”
Joining him and the two crew chiefs in Glasgow were XL’s Jeroen Mahieu, Steve Clarisse, Jan Reyntjens, Maaike Lusyne and Tim Bonte.
XL’s overall technical project manager Steve Ackein was in constant communication with Wieder Designs, Ogle Hog, set builders Hollandse Handen and Blackout who supplied rigging services, draping and soft goods and MTV’s production during the preceding weeks which also aided everything smoothly on site.
Ackein headed the load-in crew for the first five days before handing over to the two (aforementioned) crew chiefs.
Oliver D’Haene (Oli) XL’s in-house CAD specialist was another vital link in the production chain. He integrated the assorted vendor technical drawings with XL’s. “His meticulous advance work makes things infinitely easier on the day,” praises Guido.
Lighting was designed by Tom Kenny with equipment supplied by PRG; Britannia Row delivered the sound, and the show was directed by Russell Thomas and Produced by Debbie Phillips.