Each year the Jesus Army marches through the centre of London in a colourful display to demonstrate Jesus’ message of love for all. There are two stand-out events – the march, and then a gospel focused gathering on Trafalgar Square. This is a snapshot of the day:
There have been continual improvements to make the day as colourful and spectacular as it is now, and I’ll touch on some of the areas below.
March Music / Band Truck
This year saw the introduction on the march of live electronic music rather than just a band playing, positioned on a curtain sider (posh name for a truck with open sides) which was driven by the one and only Clive Strudwick.
Jonny and Nayf created various upbeat backing tracks using software called Ableton to carry the march along – two of which are on Soundcloud for you to listen to.
As often with creative efforts if you’re having fun making it then that reflects positively on what is made – perfect for London Day.
The LED screen above stage was first introduced in 2010, which felt like a bit of a trial run as it was nothing any of us had any experience in. This year we had knowledge of what worked well, and the big bonus of squeezing the 20 foot screen in the video studio to work on content the week before.
The result was the set-up went remarkably well compared to the previous year, as we pre-configured it with how it would be put together on Trafalgar Square.
The feedback on the screen was overwhelmingly positive, and many commented that it helped add to stage items when viewing from the back of the square by the gallery. There are still some improvements to make – like making the screen display without flickering when being filmed, but after speaking to the guys that we hire it from we should be able to fix it.
Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of preparing for an event you get 5 minutes to ponder and reflect on the deeper meanings of life…
Streaming. Not as easy as it looks. We wanted to have a go and broadcast the Trafalgar Square event to people that couldn’t get down for the day, and any others that were interested. As we hadn’t done anything like it before there was a fair bit of playing around and we used the June marquee weekend to test the kit.
That seemed to work quite well, even though we were in a field in the middle of the countryside. We then had a last minute idea to try broadcasting the march as well – which resulted in a camera being fixed to the top of the band truck looking back across the whole march. This also made for some great footage for the highlights video.
On the square itself we used a Sony PD150 video camera firewired into a laptop, which was connected to the internet with a 3G router (Orange SIM). The connection to uStream which was doing the streaming was temperamental (and that’s being kind) due to the Orange mobile network being congested. Understandable though as 1,000 people all on Orange just turned up on the square!
There were 128 unique viewers, which was quite impressive considering it wasn’t advertised till the last minute. Now that we know what is involved we’ll try and work on some technical fixes to ensure a consistent connection.
Rigging (and banners)
There was a big effort this year to add more colour, rather the black and red banners we used to have. So the march band truck was draped all over, and the stage had some bright banners covering the truss.
So to sum up all of the above it felt like everyone had improved what they were doing, and that teamwork was a vital. A satisfying result of people’s many, many hours of hard work, and their desire to make a positive impression for Jesus in the capital. To cap it off here is a little video of some of what went on behind the scenes. Enjoy.