Behind the scenes of the Ultra Main Stage visuals, powered by VSquared Labs
The UMF Main Stage has always made a statement, but this year’s array of LEDs, lights, and lasers was something you had to see in person to fully grasp. The gargantuan structure took over one week to build by a “small army” of workers, last year’s stage pales in comparison to the all-encompassing offering that was put together this year. The screens are only one half of the story, however, since they would be nothing without visuals to splay across all of them.
Save for a few headliners who bring in their own crew (Guetta, Tiesto, etc), the visuals were provided by VSquared Labs, a company headed up by Vello Virkhaus that has done shows such as Audiotistic and EDC 2011 in the past. The largest innovation this year was the addition of an ‘LED roof’ that was erected over the stage itself. The DJ booth also had an all-LED facade, and the end result was something so vivid and alive it was often difficult to make out the DJ. Luckily there were two huge monitors flanking the stage showing live video feeds of the event.
The screens are all controlled from the front-of-house structure (a big tent right in front of the stage) by Vello, who uses everything from an iPad to a full keyboard to a computer mouse to change the visual display. Each part controls the way the visuals are displayed on screen, and the piano keyboard is actually used to switch between different hard drives on a machine called the Edirol. He has a background in art and technology, and started his own company to create visuals for stages and concerts after doing video post-production out of college.
The company is powering the Sahara tent, Heineken Domes, and Amon Tobin 2.0 at this year’s Coachella, and will also be providing the visual flare at EDC Las Vegas. The Main Stage visuals at Ultra this year certainly raised the bar — here’s to hoping Coachella will take them up another notch.
Got any favorite videos of the visuals in action? Drop ’em in the comments.
MTV got some video with Vello before the event. Check it out below.