California based Reggae band Groundation has been using video for the first time in their shows during their first Europeant tour "Tribute to Bob Marley"

The Visuals

Groundation is a Reggae band with Jazz influences and it's not very common to create visual mixes for that kind of music. On Electro music you easily create some fast visual mix with lots of images and colors, but it doesn't work at all in this case.“Why Play so Many Notes instead of Just Choosing the Most Beautiful?” said Miles Davis.

So we created multi-layered static visuals so that the Lighting Designer could tweak colorimetry on which layer to adapt to the desired lighting situation. Then there was an important ressearch work to collect images from Bob Marley and finally we added some "natural" loops composed of timelapse views from the nature, birds flying etc.. But no computer generated graphics.


The idea was to create a setup that would allow the Lighting Designer, Luc Kerouanton, not only to control a visual show from the lighting desk (a grandMA), but also other live sources. Luc turned to VJ Stello to conceive the video scenography and together they chose ArKaos MediaMaster as media server software, since VJ Stello was already experienced in GrandVJ.

“The good thing with ArKaos is that you can acheive basic to complex things from a very simple and intuitive interface. It's remarkably stable, always available and very reactive.” says Stello

Since it's a tribute to Bob Marley, we found it interesting to create an ambiance where the band and the King of Reggae would be appearing on the screen, as if Bob Marley was there playing with Groundation. That's why we decided to add a system to capture live video feeds from the band and integrate it to the mix: MultiCam VJ Edition.

The MultiCam system allows controlling PTZ dome cameras with prepostions. You can define a desired view with the joystick and save it as a thumbnail on the touch screen, then you just touch it to recall the preset and the camera moves to the desired position.“MediaMastard” is the name of this combination of MediaMaster and MultiCam, which allows a single operator to display visuals on screen, mixed with various views from live video sources.

MediaMastard also comes with a VGA input to connect an additional VJing source, which comes particularly handy when a VJ mix needs to be added to match the tempo, as the band does a lot of improvisation.

The whole system fits in a single Flight Case, therefore the setup is particularly quick, which is an important requirement when you're on tour.

What's next?

This setup has also been used on the "Reggae Sun Ska" festival in August 2011 and on the latest Groundation Tour during last fall.

Groundation will release a new album “Bulding An Ark” in March 2012 and they're preparing a new tour involving more video and a specific work on the band's visual identity.. Stay tuned!

Luc and Stello does not indend to stay withing the Music tour industry, they also plan to use theyr system for corporate events. “MediaMastard allows to display a PowerPoint presentation or a movie in sync with the lights and manage background graphics in real time” adds Stello. In other words, this setup still has nices promises in outlook..