Giant video screen backs Led Zeppelin reunion concert

The Led Zeppelin reunion show — a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, the late founder of Atlantic Records — opened against a 28m by 10m backdrop featuring video mixed on a Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switcher. For the Dec. 10 event at London's O2 arena, the concert’s video director, Dick Carruthers of Cheese Film & Video, used the Kahuna to create the visual spectacle envisioned by the legendary band.

The Kahuna allowed Carruthers to create and apply textures suited to each song. Layers of effects were programmed and mapped into more than 30 buttons, subdivided by song, so each could be recalled immediately. Carruthers used a 4ME Kahuna to switch graphic material, live slow-motion playback and eight live HD camera feeds through the switcher DVEs. The effects ranged widely from heavy colorization (blue or red in the blacks) and black and white with heavy contrast ratios to color washes and film effects such as strobing, smears and jiggles.

Carruthers' team captured the whole event using 12 cameras recording in HDSR as well as three film cameras. Though Carruthers worked at a front-of-house switching station, the Kahuna mainframe was located in a CTV OB unit 150m away. Using uncompressed HD images and uncompressed processing, the Kahuna's transition T-bar enabled timelines incorporating 30 different layers of a given effect. While cutting cameras with his left hand, Carruthers used his right hand to operate the T-bar in unison with Jimmy Page's guitar.

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