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A. R. Rahman, India’s superstar

AR Rahman 1

A. R. Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, musician and philanthropist, whose live shows have become legendary in his home country as well as abroad. Lighting designer Becket J Tundatil has been responsible for lighting the majority of his shows — always with a trusty Jands Vista at his fingertips.

I have been using Jands Vista since 2005, in fact I was one of the first users in India, and I wouldn’t use anything else,” remarked Becket. “I need the timeline feature to design my shows, the way I work can be quite different and I can only do it with the Vista.

Becket owns a compact Jands Vista S3 supplied to him by Integrated Entertainment Solutions, the Indian Jands dealer who he describes as extremely supportive.

I decided to go freelance last year and the first thing I needed to do was buy a console,” he explained. “Although another manufacturer offered me a good deal, I chose a Vista S3 for the comfort factor and the ease of use. It is just so simple and intuitive for me. Everything is drag ’n’ drop and touch in technology these day, so I have a touch laptop and a 21” touch monitor attached to the Vista S3 making a fully-fledged console in terms of operations.

The Vista S3 is so easy to operate it frees up more time to be creative,” commented Becket. “It is the software that does the magic. You don’t have to spend ages working out how to program a look. I did face a very minor issue on the MIDI when programming as it was the first time I was triggering through the MIDI controller. However Eddie Walsh and Susan Twartz from Jands looked into immediately and their suggestions were very helpful. Jands supply extremely good backup support.

Becket reports that his Vista S3 has performed perfectly and has enabled him to run some very large shows such as Sunburn Goa, one of Asia biggest electronic dance music festivals. The A.R. Rahman show (pictured) used 230 moving lights as well as LED par cans, LED tubes and generics.

Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights Tour

Neil Finn Dizzy Heights tour

Neil Finn is on the road with his Dizzy Heights tour, a show full of lush aural landscapes and exotic arrangements complimented by evocative lighting and a large, fluffy tapestry backdrop created by Noel Crombie and partner Sally Mill.

Lighting designer David Harding began his relationship with Neil way back in the 80’s when he was the Vari*Lite tech/operator for Crowded House. Over the years he has built a solid relationship with Neil who didn’t even have to brief David on what he wanted for his lighting on the Dizzy Heights tour, such is their relationship.

I opted for practical lighting for the band and Neil is quite minimalistic,” explained David. “Colours are either in contrast, or, complimentary to how the backdrop is lit. The backdrop is the cornerstone for setting the scene. It reacts brilliantly and in a great number of ways to light.
David deployed two truss system with VL550 for tungsten wash colour, VL3000 Spots for air art and stage floor texture, plus 8 x VL3000 Spot for backdrop art. UV picks out hidden highlights in backdrop whilst LED lighting is used for the rear cyc and front up light of backdrop.

I have always loved the optics of the VL3000,” said David. “While some other fixtures on the market are very appealing, they don’t have the zoom range I need working in smaller theatres. I was an early fan of the original VL5 when that series was released and used them for a Wendy Matthews tour. I am a huge fan of varying colour temperature through the dimming range. Only tungsten can provide that effect. The VL550 is the perfect small tungsten wash for small theatres.

David also has VL1000 TS in his rig, again for the tungsten effect as well as the shutters. He describes the fixture as the perfect key light particularly as Neil’s show is too theatrical for follow spots.

As David was a major contributor in development of the Jands Vista control platform, it was no surprise that he chose it for this tour! For the USA and Europe legs of the tour he travels a Vista L5 as the master and his own S1 console as well as two M1 wings with a Dell touch screen as backup and for hotel programming. “The manual interface is perfect for when there is a need for lot of on the fly manipulation,” David commented. “It allows for a fluid, organic show.” David also favours the Vista’s assignable surface functions as well as the timeline.

Equipment Highlights

  • Vista L5 Console
  • Vista S3 Control Surface
  • 2 x Vista M1 Control Surfaces
  • 16 x Vari*Lite VL500 w/external dimmer
  • 14 x Vari*Lite VL300
  • 6 x ChromaQ ColourForce 48
  • 6 x ChromaQ ColourBlaze 72
  • 6 x Red Heads
  • 6 x DWE 8 light floods