Behind The Scenes As Delirious? Record A DVD (Delirious.org.uk)
Last modified: 30 Jun 2006
Author: Darren Niesley
Date: 30 Jun 2006
Exclusive to Delirious.org.uk: Darren Niesley, video director at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, gives a behind the scenes view as Delirious? recorded the first ever full-length live DVD.
If you are a Delirious? fan, you have been eagerly waiting for them to release a new concert DVD. Well, recently they recorded their concert at Willow Creek Community Church, near Chicago, Illinois. Dave Wood thought some of you might be interested in a glimpse of the concert from someone "behind the scenes" at Willow Creek, and asked me to scribble down a few thoughts. In case you're wondering who I am, my name is Darren Niesley and I am one of the video directors at Willow Creek. It was my privilege to work on this project.
Before I get into the details, I'd like to comment on how great it has been to work with Andy Hutchison and the band. (If the name isn't familiar, you should know that Andy has a long history with Delirious? filming, photographing, running lights, and probably 40 other roles that go unseen.) They were genuine, professional, approachable...and I could go on, but it is already beginning to sound trite. Suffice it to say that I hope my path will cross any one of theirs again.
The story really started months ago when I heard that Delirious? was interested in recording a concert at Willow Creek. Both parties (Delirious? and Willow Creek) were very interested, but this was a challenging proposition for many reasons. The concert was scheduled as part of a larger event at Willow-a four day conference, with several other guest artists and teachers. Our entire programming and technical crew produced the conference, and nearly all of us were also teaching breakout classes during the conference. As much fun as it would be to make the DVD, we did not want to agree to do it if we could not give it the attention it deserved.
Delirious? had similar concerns, not the least of which was the set design. Willow has a great venue for recording a concert, but having the concert look like a stand alone gig was important. The original set design (which was consistent with the theme of the conference) was significantly different than any Delirious? concert you have ever seen, and most likely, you would never see them in front of a set like that ever again. This would not serve the DVD project or their fans well. So, our set and lighting designers for this project, Dan Larson and Daniel Kaminski, worked with Hutch and the band for months, going through several iterations to develop a set design that served both purposes. They were even making a few changes the day before the conference. Personally, I think the set rocked.
Lighting was a team effort, with Willow designing the rig and Delirious? bringing Tony Fransen to program and operate lights for the event. Tony did a fantastic job with a minimal amount of time to program. For those of you who care, here is a list of the lighting gear we used for the concert:
- Jands Vista T2 Lighting Console
- 17 - SGM Giotto 400 Wash
- 12 - Martin Mac 2000 Wash
- 8 - Vari*Lite VL3000
- 9 - HighEndSystems X-Spot Extreme
- 12 - HighEndSystems Studio Beam
- 6 - 4-Lite DWE Audience Blinder
- 3 - 4-Lite DWE Audience Blinder with Scroller
- 7 - ACL 4-bar PAR64
- 2 - 2k Fresnel
- 6 - ETC S4 PAR on Floorbase
- 16 - AutoYokes S4
- 3 - 2k Fresnel in the house
- a lot of Christmas lights
- unknown number of Extra Pars as Houselights
Obviously, the video crew and the style we would choose to capture the concert was a great concern as well. Delirious? is a rock band. Willow Creek is a church. History has shown that this is not always a good combination. However, within minutes of meeting Hutch and the band in April (thanks to Riverside Church in Peoria), it was clear that we were all on the same page regarding crew and style. Hutch was interested in working with the Willow crew to make sure we understood the look he wanted, then relying on us to plan and execute the details. I was glad to use my knowledge of our facility and crew to make sure we captured the event well in the one chance we had. I should say, though, that it was really a team effort with Scott Lambert, Willow's video ministry director, and Andrew Schuurmann, one of our editors. As for video gear, here's a general list:
- Ross Synergy4 Switcher
- 11 Sony Cameras, D35-D50 (1 jib, 1 dolly, 2 tripods, 2 robotic, 5 hand held)
- 6 Cannon HD broadcast lenses
- 3 Fujinon SD broadcast lenses
- 2 Fujinon SD broadcast wide angle lenses
- 9 Panasonic DVCPro50 record decks
- 2 Panasonic AG-DVX100 for behind the scenes footage
- Delirious? DoReMi for playback
- Center Screens - 2 Barco R12 fed by Pandora's Box
- Side screens - Mitsubishi LED
This was a very good collaborative process. Hutch paid us a visit in May for a very full day of planning. He met with lighting, set, video, camera crew, and more. We worked together on camera angles and reviewed concert footage from the Delirious? concert at Willow in 2005. That day was key to being ready for concert.
OK. Monday, June 12. Delirious? arrives. Everybody is excited...and a little nervous. We have just one opportunity to capture the event, so everyone needs to be at the top of their game. This includes five very talented band members, more than 60 crew members, and thousands of people in the audience. Easy enough, right? Cameras were calibrated, lights were programmed, sound check was good. During sound check, we rechecked all the camera angles and met with each camera operator at their position to go over their assignments. A quick 12 hours. Monday was good.
Tuesday, June 13. The day that seemed like it was taking forever to arrive was here. We had prayed for God to bless this day, the DVD project, and the people who would some day watch it. All that was left was a full rehearsal (which is not typical for a band that performs live as much as they do) and the concert itself. Rehearsal went very well. One of my favorite memories of the day was to see Gordy, one of our faithful stage volunteers, standing in the front row all by himself worshipping his heart out during the rehearsal. After rehearsal, the Willow crew reset the stage for the conference, we rehearsed for the afternoon conference sessions, filled the room with thousands of conference attendees, and did a few hours worth of conference sessions. Meanwhile, the band and their crew met to debrief the rehearsal and make a few changes. Not sure what else they did, except that Stew took a quick 40-mile bike ride with one of our audio engineers. Refreshing, I guess.
The second conference session was finished a little after 5:00pm. A couple of loyal fans sneaked in while the conference attendees exited for dinner, but it was only two and none of us had the heart to kick them out. We scrambled to reset the stage for Delirious?, reset the track and dolly, recheck audio, program a few new lighting cues, and we're all set. We opened doors around 6:15 and shortly after that Martin and the band took the stage to talk about the DVD recording and teach some songs for those that might not have known them. Then they left the stage for a while, until it was time for the concert.
Then, Delirious? rocked Willow Creek.
During the concert, the crew was in constant communication. Most everyone at the concert is aware of the tech booth at the back of the auditorium. This area is the hub of communication for audio, lighting, and stage. And, it is the communication link from video to the other technical disciplines. At Willow, the video control room (see photos
) is located under the auditorium. Next door is an audio recording studio. This is the area where all the video and audio recording was done for the DVD, and this is where my seat was (though I don't remember sitting) for the concert. To my right was Andrew (assistant director and editor) and Hutch. Andrew and I were on mic to the cameras, and Hutch was on mic to Tony (lighting). There was a lot of talking...excited talking...talking at the same time...talking while jumping...talking, talking, talking. At times it was a lot for the camera operators to decipher, but given one chance at capturing the event, we decided to give them as much direction as possible.
When the concert was finished, the mood in the control room was good, but most of us were still somewhat low key. We all knew that regardless of how good it felt in the moment, the proof of how good it actually is will be revealed in the edit.
Currently, editors are feverishly clicking away on keyboards and what they have so far is looking good. I heard that things are progressing nicely on the audio front as well. So that brings us up to date. Thanks for "listening" to my point of view.
Special thanks to Darren Niesley for taking the time to write this article for Delirious.org.uk