“Bothy Culture & Beyond”, was one of Celtic Connections 2018’s highlight shows. This spectacular combination of sound and visuals saw some of the finest musicians in the country playing alongside performances by aerial dancers, and street trials rider Danny MacAskill.
Taking its inspiration from the Martyn Bennett album, "Bothy Culture", the concert was performed by the GRIT Orchestra, originally created by Greg Lawson to perform Martyn Bennett's GRIT album at Celtic Connections in 2015. This album featured the track Blackbird which Danny famously used on his video, The Ridge.
At Vision Ramps, we transformed Danny's existing 'The Ridge' video in a segment for the show, with the soundtrack being provided live by the GRIT orchestra. Key moments of the original video were re-created for the stage, including a motorised boat which Danny "rowed in" on at the start of his section. We also built a raised ring around the standing area of the stage, with a variety of obstacles from the video for Danny to ride, getting up close and personal with the crowd.
For the backdrop, we constructed the iconic Cuillin mountain-range in Skye from wooden panels and had a series of mountain images projection-mapped onto these. Hidden behind the panels were rideable ramps and ladders so that Danny could ascend the dramatic, projection-mapped backdrop. During the finale, we revealed an image of the famous in-accessible pinnacle. Danny stood atop of the in-pin, 42ft above the orchestra and the crowd, and raised his bike above his head, recreating one of the most memorable moments from the film.
We also tried out a new technique, using 3D animation in the planning stages of the project to storyboard and choreograph the show. This was useful for showing to members of the stage team, such as the lighting and projection staff, who are not typically familiar with the language of bike-riding. By putting the music and timing information onto this 3D animation, we created a useful reference for everyone involved in the production.