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EDC A 28 Million Pixel feast

The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is a music festival which started back in 1997 in Los Angeles. It has since spread to other cities in the US, and to other countries: Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the UK.

In July of this year it made its second trip to the UK, and was hosted at the National Bowl (a major outdoor venue that holds 65 000) in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.


Festival organisers delivered a spectacular digital environment, with LED screens surrounding all 360 degrees of the National Bowl. There were weird and wonderful performers wowing the crowd and the combination of LED light displays, pyrotechnics and lasers meant that the visuals were as appealing as the music itself.

Avicii headlined the music side of the festival, and his 80-minute set brought the show to a close. When the sky became pitch black, the Electric Daisy Carnival came into its prime – visually that is.

The uber-creative duo of Nick Jevons and Philip Winward (Electric Fly) were behind the festivals concept and design. James Baker, of Creative Video Design, was brought in by Nick to head up the visual solutions, which were driven by Hippotizer media servers.

Using this design, Xpono (a London based production company) custom-made certain content using a complex set of After Effects templates, supplied by Creative Video Design. Xpono’s content was rendered for the Hippotizers, which then distributed the 3.6tb of data through the HippoNet network.

VER supplied brand new WinVision Air 9mm outdoor LED screens for the main stage and wings. For the 360 degree perimeter they used Big Bear 25mm, Everbrighten 15mm, and Winvision 12mm and 8mm screens. The use of one type of screen would have been more suitable but due to the sheer scale of the design, and number of screens needed for this production, there simply wasn’t enough of any one type of screen in the world available.

To map both the custom content and the VJs to the screens, Creative Video Design used over 36 different VideoMapper maps and DMX2 components. They also used six GenLock HDs, with quad HD-SDI running in dual mode to the active system, and another six running backup. All servers were controlled by James’s full-sized grandMA2 console, with a grandMA2 Lite in session for Nigel, so he also had access to the full-res content.

An additional Genlock was added to the set up, and used as the main media manager. This helped controllers check all incoming VJ signals.

The Hippotizer GrassHopper also featured in the visual set-up. James used a GrassHopper for his dual-output ZooKeeper; while Green Hippo’s very own Nigel Sadler, House VJ for the event, used a Hippotizer HD and a GrassHopper. Nigel, who is Special Projects Director at Green Hippo, was effusive about the performance: “From any point of view this was an epic setup from start to finish; even just trying to see the screen was a challenge because it was so big. And to think that we were able to VJ in real time across its surface is amazing. The system performed flawlessly without the slightest hitch”.


Creative Video Design were delighted with their role in this impressive project, which was to help bridge the gap between Electric Fly and VER (screen suppliers). This entailed everything from complicated After Effects templates to system design for all aspects of the show. James Baker, of Creative Video Design, summed up the sentiment:

"Everything about this show was big: lots of servers, pixels, led panels, crew, points of rigging, etc. This is one of the most complex shows we have worked on in terms of pre-planning. Managing the process was a major challenge. The detail within our templates really pushed the limits of After Effects, but thankfully with VideoMapper we were able to take rendering time down to a minimum. The real time aspect of Hippo still makes me smile. With around 200 layers running within the system it performed faultlessly. Hippotizer is still by far the most solid and accurate real-time media server system available. A huge thanks go to Nick, Philip and their team for involving us in this great show; and also to Phil Blue, Paul Gilzene, and the team from VER, for their tireless work".

On only its second visit to the UK, EDC has established itself as a festival great. It’s filled a gap in the British festival market with a world class line-up and epic visuals: a 28 million pixel entertainment spectacle.

Posted in Lighting News

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