In May 2012 I flew to New York's JFK with a simple instruction to make a phone call when I landed. This phone call was with a Live Nation production manager who sent a runner to drive me from the airport to Long Island Nassau Coliseum where I was to find Stefan 'Smasher' Desmadt in command of the video team preparing to go around the world with Madonna's MDNA tour. I was quickly dressed in black and given a radio and for the next six weeks was an integral part of the team. My main duty was to collaborate with the show director Michel Laprise and the choreography team to 'animate' the stage floor. The main central portion of the stage was dividied into 36 squares that each could rise up independantly up to 8 feet. Using animated maps created in After Effects, the motion controller would trigger my sequences to create structures on the stage that Madonna and her dancers could explore, ride on and perform from. The creative and technical challenge of this task was among the greatest I have faced, knowing that an unrehearsed mistake from me could cost a performer a serious injury gave me a sense of resposibility that I hadn't previously experienced and every run through of the show raised my blood pressure. My other duties included triggering and maintaining video sync for the moving LED barn doors that towered behind the stage, wrangling video clips as they arrived from 'Moment Factory' who were also based on site and the other video contrbuters around the globe. All the video was loaded in a d3 system which allowed us to preview the stage motion alongside the correctly mapped video. My presence was required until the succesful first show in Tel Aviv, Israel where I worked in the heat to polish and refine the work completed in New York.
The view from front of house in Tel Aviv. The stage boxes I animated are what Madonna is standing on.
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