Solotech Contributes to ABBA Voyage Concerts
Several years in the making, ABBA Voyage brings the 70s supergroup back to the stage in a seamless blend of the virtual and physical worlds with help from Solotech.
The show, which opened on May 26, is held in a purpose-built arena designed by Stufish Entertainment Architects at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Reviews confirm that it is like nothing seen before, as it adds a new element to the live music experience by blurring the lines between computer-generated imagery (CGI) and reality that can only be seen in person to fully understand, with The Guardian calling it a “jaw-dropping avatar act that’s destined to be copied.”
Solotech worked with a multitude of companies to provide audio, lighting, and video solutions capable of pushing the boundaries for live productions.
The project is Solotech U.K.’s foray as a high-end 360-equipment supplier, as it delivered audio, video and lighting technology and expertise to the show. Solotech drew on its experience as live production specialists to aid in the process from the design stages to installation and opening night to help deliver the incredible event.
Working in close collaboration with ABBA’s production team, Ian “Woody” Woodall, Solotech UK’s director of special projects, led the efforts, with Paul “Macca” McCauley overseeing the installation of the rental equipment in the venue, and serving as the host to technical demos of the system in the many months leading up to the show. Solotech’s Robin Conway oversaw audio, Oli James handled lighting, and Alex Mulrenan managed video and cameras.
The members of ABBA spent five weeks being filmed by 160 cameras for motion capture as they performed the songs that make up the show’s 95-minute runtime. This footage was then used to digitally create the band in extreme detail, as they look entirely realistic when they appear on stage alongside a 10-piece live band.
Solotech was chosen to help the team realize this transformation from the video performance footage to the physical space due to its multi-disciplinary approach to live production gained from experience working on the world’s biggest festivals and concerts. The company says the result is an “unprecedented immersive venue environment that adds another dimension to the show via a unique workflow that breaks new ground by its use of technical innovation”.
State-of-the-art equipment was chosen from leading manufacturers, including ROE Visual, VYV, Robe, L-Acoustics, and others to augment the filmed performance footage with technology used throughout the venue. The show features one of the largest installations of ROE Black Pearl v2 LED screens, driven by Brompton 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors. It is one of the tallest installations of Black Pearl screens, standing 19 tiles high. Solotech also coordinated the supply of Solotech’s Service+ real-time, managed services software platform.
“This project has been special as we’ve spent two years of our lives working on it. It is the most technically complicated and challenging project I have ever been involved in,” said Solotech’s Woodall. “This is proven by the fact that everyone who has been there cannot find the words to describe it. The technical elements of the show have been virtually flawless from the rehearsals through to opening night on a show that is breaking new ground. These are accomplishments that we are extremely proud of.”