Dr Who Live
Taking cult sci-fi figure Dr Who from the small screen onto the stages of nine major UK arenas around the UK was no small feat for events specialist XL Events and sound, lighting and audiovisual solutions company Adlib Audio. Visuals, pyrotechnics and video content were accompanied by Murray Gold’s scores, delivered by a 16-piece orchestra and combined with cast dialogue, choir, additional orchestral stems, VT playback character dialogue and special effects.

The 270° sound system was specified by XL Events’ Rich Rowley, who was also instrumental in choosing Adlib to supply the equipment –two main hangs of eight L-Acoustics K1s per side with three Kara downfills, plus two side hangs of nine L-Acoustics Kudo per side, flown as high as possible 10m upstage of the main arrays. Four SB28 subs per side were stacked in cardioid pattern, complete with dV-Doscs sitting on top as front fills. The system was powered by L-Acoustics LA8 amplified controllers. The production also called on three Soundcraft Vi consoles – two Vi6 and a Vi1.

With a programme of full-range music, often at high levels, the substantial bass capacity of the system was important.

Adlib fielded a vastly experienced team, including Tony Szabo (systems engineer), Chris Leckie (FOH, on a Soundcraft Vi6), with Fergus Mount handling audio playback on a Soundcraft Vi1, and Marc Peers mixing monitors on a second Vi6. In addition, it was the first use of Adlib’s new L-Acoustics Kara speaker system, and also the first tour for its K1 system, which has been used on festivals and one-off events.

Sound base

Dr Who LiveThe Adlib team needed a rich and full sound to emphasise the orchestral base of the show and define the narrative, both live onstage and from VT, while retaining the distinct touches of ‘sci-fi craziness’ demanded by the show. Practical challenges for the sound design included keeping the hangs completely clear of the upstage projection screen, and a major benefit of using the K1/Kara system was that fewer boxes were needed to get the coverage and SPL.

For mixing the sound, Rowley is unequivocal about the choice of Soundcraft’s Vi series: ‘There was no other console family on the market that would give us the interface and the footprint,’ he says. ‘It’s about having a range of compatible consoles that talk to each other on every level - and for me this solution ticked every box.’

Chris Leckie handled the main house mix on his favourite Vi6, taking it on a hair-raising voyage through a few centuries of time travel. ‘I can’t think of another console which, in tandem with the Vi6 on stage, the local racks and remote stage racks could have provided the flexibility required for this show,’ he adds.

The sound required more than 80 inputs to the desk along with complex patching, including stems from Fergus Mount on the Vi1, who was controlling the audio playback hard drive via QLab software. This effectively ran the show, sending time code to trigger the video play-ins. The Vi1 handled hundreds of sound effects and pieces of pre-recorded dialogue, receiving the majority of its inputs via Adat interface cards. ‘It was a joy to mix about 60 inputs of very dynamic music, from a wide variety of sources, and my capabilities were stretched somewhat further with the addition of playback stems, sound effects and then a dozen microphones for the show’s cast,;’ says Rowley. ‘It’s the first gig in 25 years that I’ve actually had to learn a script.’

Everything for which the FOH engineer required speedy access when in show mode was arranged on one bank of 24 faders. ‘This facility is going to be an absolute godsend to touring engineers walking onto mixers laid out at multi-band events with a generic festival patch, in that within a couple of minutes they can arrange just the inputs they need into their familiar sequence,’ Chris Leckie notes.

‘The two Vi6 desks on the tour, along with the optical multicore, allowed almost limitless options in terms of delivering different signals to different locations around the system – which would have been impossible in the analogue world. But as with every bit of kit I use, my priority is ease of use, and the Vi6 is the closest I’ve come to the intuitive, feel we old folk look for in a console.’

Rich Rowley was instrumental in awarding Adlib the tender for audio equipment, believing the K1 system was perfect for the job and that Adlib would provide the best service, crew and latest technology: ‘Adlib have been brilliant as always,’ he says. ‘They were definitely the right company for the job with the right attitude,’ he says.

The show featured a selection of classic and favourite Doctor Who monsters including The Daleks and Cybermen, with Nigel Planer as ‘intergalactic showman’ and archetypal baddie, Vorgenson.

TwitterGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedIn Pin It
Fast-and-Wide.com An independent news site and blog for professional audio and related businesses, Fast-and-Wide.com provides a platform for discussion and information exchange in one of the world's fastest-moving technology-based industries.
Fast Touch:
Author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fast Thinking:Marketing:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: Latitude Hosting