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Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Fires Up Icelandic Idol Visuals

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The popular Idol TV singing competition came back onto Icelandic screens recently after a hiatus of more than ten years, updating its staging and visuals with four LED screen elements which were all driven by Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers.

The fifth season’s finale was broadcast live from Reykjavik as contestants battled it out in front of a live audience, judging panel and TV viewers at home. The stage was dominated by an upstage centre Absen PL2.9 LED screen at 2688x1680px, flanked by two LED side walls at 2688x1512px. An additional Absen PL3.9 lite LED floor at 3584x512px completed the video fest, enveloping the set.

Icelandic TV technology solutions company Luxor served as production designers for the show, specifying the Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers for Video Designer Ingi Bekk’s creations. “We used two Boreal+ MK2 servers running as a main and backup unit, with content ingested on the backup server in the HapQ format, then synced over to the main server’s media folders and media maps,” explains Luxor Technician Ágúst Ingi Stefánsson. “Both servers’ output signals were fed into a Barco E2, to make use of the E2’s easy primary/backup destination configuration, as well as mixing inputs from the OB truck to the screens.

“Once up and configured, the Boreals really didn’t break a sweat no matter what heavy lifting was required of them and that gives us, and the creative minds we work with, the confidence to achieve visual mastery without worry.”

Ingi Bekk began conversations with creative director Unnur Elisabet Gunnarsdottir in the run up to the show to design the core visual identity of the show. “We opted for a more abstract feel that would swell and blend with the music and the performance without interfering with the focus on the performer,” says Bekk. “This led to us taking a ‘left-field’ approach to some of the designs that really added an interesting and exciting texture to the show as a whole.”

“I have been a long time user of Green Hippo products, as well has having a long and successful working relationship with Luxor who supplied the Boreal+ MK2s. I think the simplest way to put it is that when it was confirmed the show was to be run on the Boreal+ MK2s I had the confidence to really push them as far as I could as the output processing headroom is plenty.”

All of the content was produced with Notch and rendered out for timecoded playback using HapQ at a 1 to 1 resolution to the screens. “The ingestion of the large files was incredibly quick and easy through the native Hap support on Hippotizer’s MediaManager, making Luxor’s video programmer Olafur Starri Palsson’s job a little bit easier,” Bekk continues. “The Hippotizers performed brilliantly throughout without as much as a dropped frame, proving their reliability as a playback platform.”

The Luxor team used four HDMI outputs from the Boreal+ MK2, and mapped each LED slice to its respective output through the viewport configuration. “Ingi’s creative workflow worked best with the floor slice rotated 90 degrees CCW, so through the viewport we rotated it back to 90 degrees, meaning no compromises had to be made in the creative process for us to fit the content nicely into a standard 4K signal,” adds Stefánsson. “On top of that, we ran 34 universes of pixel strips via sACN from Hippotizer’s PixelMapper component.

“We always enjoy using the Hippotizers with a lighting desk for fast and efficient programming along with the lighting team’s timecode programming. We feed the same timecode into the Hippotizers, and make use of Sync Manager to keep timings as tight as possible. Ingi created content to the same timecode, ensuring we were always in sync with lighting. Lastly, we use CITP into the video programmers desk for easier overview of what content lived in the selected bank, directly from the desk.”

Twenty-four-year-old Saga Matthildur won the 2023 final, to be crowned Iceland’s new Idol star. The production company and broadcaster was Stöð 2 (Channel 2).

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