Adlib lives the dream for Dreamworks
Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:31
DreamWorks Animation in Concert, SSE Wembley Arena in London
Adlib supplied full production – sound, lighting, rigging and large format video
projection - for a special one-off event at the SSE Wembley Arena in London,
‘DreamWorks Animation in Concert’ which was presented by DreamWorks Animation,
CineConcerts, and The MJR Group. It featured music and many memorable moments
from DreamWorks Animation’s numerous hit films like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How to
Train Your Dragon and more with music performed live by The Royal Philharmonic
Adlib was extremely pleased to be involved with such an ambitious and high profile
orchestral and cinematic ‘crossover’ production. Their project managers Dave Eldridge
and Richard Nicholson co-ordinated all the technical elements working closely with
tour manager Barry Jepson, MJR’s production manager Leanne Powell, technical
manager Curtis King and creative director Nathan Stone.
It completes a hattrick of recent noteworthy orchestral works serviced by Adlib
including the Harry Potter Film Concert Series and La La Land UK tours.
As you would expect, the video was right at the core of the technical production and a
starting point for the entire concept.
Adlib’s Charlie Rushton and John Haggart ensured that this all ran smoothly, starting
with the large 40ft wide x 22.5 deep projection screen as specified by the production.
Adlib has a number of Stumpfl screens and this one – a 40 ft. wide Vario 64 – was
chosen for its quality and precision as well as the modular construction which ensures
a nice rigid surface.
The powerful front projection system consisted of a double-stacked pair of Panasonic
The content was fed via the production’s CineMuse system servers and playback set-
up running over Adlib’s fibre signal network. One feed was routed to the projectors
and another to conductor Benjamin Pope’s stage monitor, so he had a clear view of
the animations at all times.
The biggest challenge for this aspect of the production was physically getting the
screen built and floated in a timely fashion, allowing the orchestra to come in to a
clear stage in time for rehearsals.
Due to the screen size, the build process occupied the entire stage, and Adlib provided
a dedicated crew to deal with its flying.
The Stumpfl product was also picked for the speed at which it can be assembled,
which was of the essence here, with pre-rigged lighting trusses selected for the same
reasons – so they could be wheeled in pre-loaded with fixtures and quickly picked up
and flown to ’floating’ height.
PA techs Otto Kroyman and Jethro Hall looked after the system, with Terry Smith and
Chris Snow co-ordinating everything at the stage end.
They worked alongside the production’s FOH engineer Sylvain Denis and CineMuse’s
An L-Acoustics K1 System was specified for its universal popularity and
appropriateness for delivering premium quality audio for arena shows and events.
From experience, Adlib’s team knew it would provide exceptional coverage in the
The system was a careful combination of L-Acoustics K1, K2 and KARA loudspeakers.
The main hangs were 12 x L-Acoustics K1 a side, with 4 x KARA-downs and the side
hangs were 8 x K2 a side, with KARA also used for infills and outfills. The low end of
the spectrum was covered by the new L-Acoustics KS28 subs, six a side which were
ground stacked in front of the stage.
All of these speakers combined to ensure a crisp, precise sound image across the
whole arena, which is vital for delivering classical music in this environment. The
whole system was driven by L-Acoustics LA12X and LA8 amps and one of Adlib’s
standard Lake LM44 control racks was used for zone control, EQ and signal
distribution. With over 80 inputs, a DiGiCo fibre loop system was installed in
conjunction with 2 x SD racks at stage end and a mini rack at FOH to accommodate
the large channel-count. Sylvain’s console of choice was a DiGiCo SD5 positioned at
“The most important challenge” commented Richy Nicholson, “was the tight timescale.
Planning was key, so we worked alongside Barry Jepson (PM) and Sylvain ahead of the
show to ensure there would be no surprises on the day. With such high channels
counts, a very skilled crew was required to deal with the complexities of the set up
and execute a practical, methodical plan resulting in flawless coverage”.
Monitors were controlled from FOH. The strategic location of upstage wedges and “fill
speakers” helped the orchestra achieve a consistent stage sound and Ben Pope the
conductor, a vital link in the whole show delivery, had a shout system to help with
cues and other instructions.
A mix of DPA 4011 and 4099 mics covered the large string sections, with Neumann,
Sennheiser and Shure covering the rest of the orchestra, as per Sylvain’s specific
Dave Eldridge and Adlib’s lighting specialist Tom Webber created a design based on
the requirements from DreamWorks and Barry Jepson. They were asked to specify a
package to illuminate the orchestra and provide subtle but effective keylight while
ensuring that the projection screen remained the centre of attention.
Tom worked on site with Jon Barlow who tech’d both lighting and video and dedicated
lighting tech, Ash Dawson. General orchestra lighting was kept low and understated,
John Henry’s supplied illuminated music stands to enable the musicians to see their
scores and conductor Ben Pope was lit from the back truss allowing the performers to
see him clearly at all times.
Four trusses were utilised, the most upstage made up from Prolyte H40V for flying the
screen and some drapes immediately behind. The back lighting truss was Prolyte S36
pre-rig, with 10 x Martin MAC Viper washes positioned on it for covering the orchestra,
plus two MAC Viper Profiles providing the all-important elegant return light on the
conductor.The front truss was also made of S36 pre-rig, containing eight MAC Viper
washes giving a general stage wash, plus four Viper Profiles for additional conductor
key light. Finally the projector truss was flown just upstage of the front truss.
Vipers were chosen as a versatile source offering all the features needed for
appropriately lighting the performance. A grandMA2 light – Tom’s console of choice -
was used for lighting control.
Client manager Phil Kielty commented; “To be part of something iconic and
memorable in Wembley Arena was a privilege. All of our team worked extra hard
alongside Barry, MJR & CineConcerts to ensure that the audience could just fall into
watching the movie moments while enjoying the incredible orchestration. We enjoy
the richness and experience of delivering these orchestral projects and look forward to
working on many more in the future.”