Muse’s production designer and lighting director for their Drones World Tour, Oli Metcalfe, was recently interviewed by PLSN Magazine.
The pictures in the article don’t do the scope of the show enough justice. You’ve got to see the machine in action to truly understand the massive undertaking this is.
Here’s Muse performing Knights of Cydonia, sans drones and the retractable screens, but awesome nonetheless:
Anyways, the article is chock full of technicalities I don’t understand, but here’s a bit that caught my interest - Metcalfe on the drones that fly above the audience:
"I faced huge challenges with Brilliant Staging on providing enough surface area in the air for the flight crew to work from and launch their flying machines from...
The band was focused on having a concept and narrative for their tour and with the new album titled Drones, there was to be cohesion between the two from the outset. Oli met with the band to discuss and to open up a dialogue with Jack Smale, who is the founder and owner of Motion Business, based in Utrecht in The Netherlands. Motion Business was commissioned to build and fly the drones using their Path ‘65 software system in collaboration with the BlackTrax, which is a very low latency camera based tracking system used to track the drones as well as the band members themselves."
It’s baffling that Muse had to outsource work to not one, but several companies, in order to fulfil their vision.
Another one of the companies mentioned in the article is Moment Factory, who created the live graphics and ideated a lot of the storytelling aspects of the show. Fast Co. Design documented their process about a month ago, with a particular focus on their use of 3D tracking to tether virtual puppet strings onto the band members for The Handler. It’s a short, worthwhile read.