Kings of Leon has completed a successful European stadium and festival tour using Polecam’s narrow-profile compact camera crane to get close to the action while not obscuring the audience’s view, writes David Fox.
KoL, which is one of America’s most popular rock bands, chose the 8m-long Polecam system for its ability to provide dynamic long-reach close ups of the band from the stage front without getting in the way.
“As the tour continues, we are having to adapt to every new venue,” explained Phil Woodhead, head of KoL’s Touring Video department, who began promoting the use of Polecam at the beginning of 2011. “It’s okay when we are running our own stadium show because then we call the shots. When we go to festivals, however, we have to work very closely with local TV companies who may be shooting for broadcast. Each festival site manager said ‘No’ to the Polecam at first but, once the rig was in position and there were obviously no sightline issues or safety issues, we were given a wholehearted ‘Yes’.
“I was actually congratulated at the Roskilde festival in Norway for being the first person to be allowed to use a long-reach jib anywhere near the stage or audience. I’d love to say it was because of my wonderful wit and charm but it was all down to the fact Polecam does what its manufacturer claims. If we had used any other type of jib we would have been screwed.
The rig’s operator, Michael Cordier (pictured), knows the Polecam very well and “his interaction with the band is great. Before we began using Polecam, the band members were shy and backed away from cameras. They now actively use Polecam as in effect their personal perform-to camera. This is great for me as the director because the shots just keep getting better,” added Woodhead.
“Michael not only operates Polecam but is one of the best LED-screen techs around so he is always needed after the show to help de-rig the displays. It takes him 15 minutes to de-rig Polecam safely and securely. That would be impossibly fast with any other camera support system of comparable reach.”
The KOL deployment includes four Toshiba IK-HD1 minicams. These and the Polecam are all operated from a single remote control panel which saves a lot of space in the racks.
“Polecam has proved very cost-effective for touring. There is always the need to multitask and Polecam fits in to that protocol very well,” he said.