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History

Peter Gabriel ‘Back to Front’ world tour

Peter Gabriel world tour

Renowned lighting designer, Rob Sinclair has used a Jands Vista L5 lighting and media control console to deliver an atmospheric visual feast for the latest Peter Gabriel ‘Back to Front’ world tour.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of hit album ‘So’, the tour spans Peter‘s illustrious career, including a performance of the album in its entirety and features the original ‘So live’ 1987 band lineup. It is described by the innovative artist himself as a ‘three course show’.

In response, Rob’s inventive and dynamic lighting kicks off with the house lights up, then slowly slips into performance mode. Rob chose to use Jands’ Vista control platform for a number of reasons: “Firstly, it’s fast and instinctive to use. At The O2 arena, London I needed to modify every cue for filming and it only took me a couple of hours!” Rob says it feels like it’s actually an extension of his brain.

Secondly, the latest Vista v2 software release has Rob impressed: “Some of the time I need to do relatively simple programming and the console makes that easy and frictionless. However sometimes I need to set up more complex sequences. This is where the console really comes into its own, allowing me to burrow deep into the detail of a cue.”

Thirdly, I use the cloning, copy and pasting features regularly. I can change an entire rig, and by adjusting a few presets I know my show will run as I expect.”

Rob has used the Jands Vista platform since 2005. “The console operates visually, so I don’t need to do any unnecessary math,” he explains. “The timeline shows me exactly what I’ve recorded and allows me to identify where something needs adjusting. The ability to copy and paste events between completely different types of fixtures in different songs is nothing short of miraculous!

Rob comments. “I love that the show file is constantly evolving. Every small change, every slight move forward gets me closer to the never attainable dream of perfection.

The premise of the design began with an idea to re-use and re-engineer the camera style boom arms from the original ‘So live’ tour. The design featured over 100 Martin Mac Auras, Mac 2k washes and Clay Paky QWO 800s.

For Rob, the Jands Vista platform is the only choice. “The Vista helps me by being powerful yet simple, enabling me to get the artist’s and my ideas from our heads and onto the stage. It’s quick to achieve the simple, yet I can also delve deeper and deliver complex programming quickly. The added bonus is the support. It’s comforting to know that there are always people on my side if ever I have a problem, regardless of where I am in the world.”

The European leg of the ‘Back to Front’ world tour commenced in September, culminating with a series of UK dates which were recorded for a future DVD release. Following the phenomenal response, Peter recently announced further shows in April/May 2014.

Sydney Opera House – 40th anniversary

Sydney Opera House 40th

As part of the week of celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, Crown Prince Frederik and Australian born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark visited the Harbour City to honour the Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s crowning achievement.

In cooperative effort between SBS, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, the royal couple and the charitable Bikuben Foundation, their Highnesses presented the annual Crown Prince Couples Awards at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, the first time the awards ceremony has been held outside its native Denmark since its inception in 2004.

The awards were established by the Bikuben Foundation as a wedding gift for the royal couple and celebrate Danish excellence in arts, culture and society. The creative teams behind the television series The Killing and Borgen received the Cultural award, while violinist Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and singer-songwriter MØ aka Karen Marie Ørsted both received the Rising Star award for young musicians. Volunteer organisation Natteravnene (Night Owls) received the Society award for their work with young people. Australia’s Gurrumul and Diesel performed alongside 2013 Rising Star winners and past winner Oh Land, while Julia Zemiro co-hosted.

Lighting Director Gavan Swift was tasked with bringing the ceremony in on top of current show-in-residence South Pacific. The Sunday before the show saw the crew stripping out part of the musical’s set, bringing in a semi-trailer full of extra lighting from Chameleon and setting up a “black box” TV studio environment with trussing and black masking.

Gavan chose to run the show from a Jands Vista L5. A long time user of the Vista platform, he knew the desk had the usability and features he needed to build a show with such a tight schedule. “The Vista is my go-to-console for any kind of live concert or event-style lighting” said Gavan. “I ran the Helpmann awards on Vista for five years, and I’ve used it on gigs like APEC and Concerts in the Domain.”

With no pre-programming time, Gavan came in at 7 AM on the morning of the ceremony, exported a CSV file from South Pacific’s ETC Eos and imported the patch into the L5. He plugged the Vista into the theatre’s Ethernet network and had complete control of South Pacific’s channels. Rehearsal started at 9 AM, and Gavan began with no cues built.

The lighting was the set” explained Gavan. “Because we created a black box environment, the lighting became the background for all the camera shots.” With the combination of time pressure and with the lighting doing dual duty as set, the Vista L5’s ergonomics and speed of workflow were integral in getting the show up to international broadcast standard.

It’s the timing features of the console that are a huge drawcard for me” Gavan continued. “The ability to select something, contract the time, spread out the fanning of it and have moving light effects in an instant rather than having to type in delays or inventing timing numbers. It’s much more intuitive, quick and easy to create the right look for these kind of shows.”

Daringly, it was also Gavan’s first time using the Vista v2 software. “I’d had plenty of experience using the original Vista, but I’d never used v2 at all” Gavan confessed. “I walked in on the day and made it work. I was very impressed by the improvements to the console and the improvements to the overall interface.”

Little Big Town US Tour

Chris Shrom LD

A Jands Vista T2 console was chosen by US based Lighting Designer, Chris Shrom, to control lighting for the Grammy Award-winning vocal harmony group Little Big Town, currently touring North America until mid-December.

Chris was challenged with programming a rig which would have as much impact outside in daylight as it does when the band moves inside arenas.

Chris worked closely with the band, Tour Project Manager, Chris Diener and Show Designer, Raj Kapoor in designing something that worked well in all scenarios – choosing a dynamic rig featuring Sharpys, Atomic 3000s with color scrollers, Nocturn UV lights with Eclipse Shutters and Mac Auras.

I know the Jands Vista T2 well and I can program it very quickly. I’ve been using the Vista software now for almost five years. I love the timeline feature: Its simple, easy to look at and work in. The less thinking I have to do when building cues with complicated timing, the better. I can compact two or three steps into one by arranging various attributes to happen chronologically. Click, Drag, Done… moving on.

The other item I find the most helpful is the visual interface – I click on the icon, interact with it, and I’m done. There are no numbers to memorise or type in, it’s so easy to use and very, very quick.

Chris reveals that during the tour, all flown items are provided locally, requiring regular fixture swaps.

Every day I’m changing luminaires and the Vista was designed to do this seamlessly,” explains Chris. “Most days I only need to update a few palettes and I’m rolling.
Despite using the Vista for many years, Chris continues to be surprised in new ways by its flexibility and ability to make light work of creative challenges.

At one festival recently, which was held on a Saturday, it meant that Chris’s access to helpful advice from a lighting manufacturer was limited.

I had a bunch of LED lights that were brand new,” explained Chris. “They were just released and I had no profile for them. It was my most challenging show to date and I had a whole rig of lights that I couldn’t use. Vista has a fixture editor in it, but at that point I had never used it. I opened the program and within two to three attempts I had built a working profile. Every time I walk into a challenge I am thankful I have that console – it takes large catastrophes and seems to make them minor inconveniences.

Bandit Lites, based in Knoxville, TN, USA, provided all the lighting equipment for the tour.

As far as service is concerned, between Jake Tickle at Bandit, who introduced me to the Vista, and the staff I’ve worked with at US distributor, A.C. Lighting, I’ve been very happy. If I run into trouble, on the rare occasion they can’t help me, they know someone who can.

Vista Consoles come home with Sir Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard 2

Sir Cliff Richard OBE returned to Australia earlier this year with his hit-packed Still Reelin’ and A-Rockin’ tour and with him was his long-time lighting designer Derek Jones who was touring an impressive rig that held close to ninety moving lights.

Derek has been a champion of Jands Vista consoles for many years and so it was no surprise to see him travel here with his own Vista S3 and Vista M1, part of a larger family of Vista consoles that he owns.

One word comes to Derek’s mind when asked what it is about the Jands Vista consoles that he likes and that’s ‘easy’. “The Vista consoles are easy to operate and easy to programme,” he said. “I also like the support that you get from Jands as they will actually listen to your ideas and feedback, coming up with real solutions to help achieve what you need.

Derek also favours the ‘mix and match’ ability offered by owning a few Vista consoles as well as their portability.

The surface is flexible, small and highly portable,” he declared. “Depending on the size of the job, I can package a kit to suit. For example I have just finished a job for a TV station with just an S1 which I could pop in my bag along with a laptop. The S3 is larger but I’ve packaged it into a roadcase so it weighs less than 32 kilograms and I can check it in at an airport. Stick your laptop in your rucksack and off you go.

Features of the Vista that impress Derek include snapshots which makes playing back a show simple and also the effects engine.

I like the way that everything is assignable,” he added. “The Vista consoles are very reliable and haven’t let me down yet despite being taken all around the world.

Derek is running the current release of Vista v2 software which he describes as brilliant.

Vista L5 on tour with Secret Garden

Secret Garden

Lighting Designer, Trond Dybfest of Trondheim Lyd Lysverket recently chose a Jands Vista L5 console to control lighting for award‑winning neo‑classical duo, Secret Garden’s latest tour.

With over 3 million international album sales and a Eurovision Song Contest win under their belt, Secret Garden have been touring relentlessly for over 15 years, covering a huge portion of the globe.

The first time Trond tried a Vista he was immediately drawn to its powerful, simple operating system, which he found to be extremely intuitive. Since then, he has become a keen Vista user, specifying a range of Vista products across his busy schedule of tours and productions.

Trond chose the new, flagship Vista L5 console to control lighting and media on this tour knowing that the software’s simple, powerful and visual interface would provide him with the flexible, reliable and consistent control he needed.

For this tour there was no touring lighting rig, so Trond relied heavily on Vista’s powerful Fixture Swap capabilities, which allowed him to quickly and accurately swap programming between the wide selection of fixture types he knew he would encounter.

Trond explains “It was completely necessary that the Fixture Swap worked seamlessly… which it did… Combined with Vista’s powerful FX generator, I managed to create great looking shows with whatever equipment was available to me on the night.”

Trond comments that he especially likes the Vista’s Timeline functionality, which allows him to quickly fine tune every detail of his show, providing “endless opportunities to create extraordinary looks”.

Trond concludes that he “simply loves working on Vista consoles” and really appreciates the Vista L5’s 21 inch High‑Definition TFT screen, which made it incredibly easy for him to access everything clearly on the rig at any given moment.

The Vista L5 used on the tour was supplied by Norwegian Jands Vista dealer, Norsk Sceneteknikk.

L5 Controls Lighting & Media for Incubus

Incubus photo by Steve Jennings

Photo © Steve Jennings

A Jands Vista L5 console was chosen by Chicago based Lighting Designer, Robb Jibson of So, Midwest Inc. to control lighting and media for multi-platinum selling rockers, Incubus. Sharing the headline of the North American 2012 Honda Civic Tour were Grammy award winning rap-rock outfit, Linkin Park.

Robb was first introduced to the Jands Vista platform earlier in the year when he was supplied a Vista L5 on the Australian leg of Incubus’ tour. Although initially cautious, he was immediately impressed by Jands’ flagship console with its powerful Vista v2 software, and after using it chose to make the swap to the platform at the first opportunity.

Initially using a Vista T2 for Incubus’ spring run, then a Vista L5 for the high profile Honda Civic Tour, Robb explains that as a designer he likes his consoles “to be as intuitive and easy as possible to operate”, stating that “the Vista absolutely delivers on all levels.

With complex timing changes, intricate programming, an extensive lighting system and multiple video content and input layers, Robb‘s design required a fast workflow, which the Vista’s simple, powerful interface helped him achieve.

Timing is central to Robb‘s designs, and he really appreciates the ability to fine tune each detail quickly and accurately using the Vista‘s timeline.

The Vista makes it so easy to add complex timing and build intricate programming very quickly. With all the power you need and virtually unlimited possibilities – what more do you need?” Robb enthuses.

The L5‘s design is dominated by its 21 inch High-Definition TFT screen. This comfortable work-surface allows everything to be accessed quickly and clearly on the rig. Ergonomically, “It‘s a great desk” says Robb, commenting that he likes the feel and positioning of the faders plus the ’clicky-ness‘ of the flash buttons.

The L5 ran the system via ArtNet on the Honda Civic tour, which proved to be rock solid.

Following such positive experiences using the Vista control platform, Robb decided to invest in his own Jands Vista S3 console, which he used as a tracking backup on the Honda Civic Tour.

Opening for Incubus and Linkin Park were prog-rockers MUTEMATH, whose LD, Darien Koop, is also a dedicated Jands Vista fan.

Vista L5 for Queen and Adam Lambert

Queen and Adam Lambert

A Jands Vista L5 was chosen by leading Lighting and Visuals Designer, Rob Sinclair, to control lighting and media for British rock legends, ’Queen‘. Their recent string of high profile shows featured American Idol star Adam Lambert as lead singer.

The first highly anticipated show truly tested everyone‘s technical and creative skills. Performed in front of enormous crowds (estimated at up to 500,000 people) in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine – the concert was televised live as part of the Euro 2012 Football Championships, as well as being streamed online.

Although Rob has been a keen Vista user for a number of years, this was his first experience using the new flagship L5 console. Choosing to do so on a show of such stature and visibility was a real testament to his confidence in the reliability and flexibility of the Vista family.

Rob‘s design concept began with the classic look of the massive Queen PAR can rigs of the 1970s and 80s. It was then evolved into a stunning contemporary version by taking advantage of the latest LED, automation and control technologies.

The touring rig featured over 200 moving lights arranged on six moving pods over the stage that were able to shift into different positions throughout the show.

Custom video – co-ordinated by Rob – was played back from a Catalyst media server that was also under control of the Vista L5.

Rob was extremely impressed with his experience, “The L5 has definitely been designed to make controlling even large and complex shows like this extremely easy” he comments. He found the console‘s 21 inch high-definition screen made it “very easy to find everything quickly.

Rob took full advantage of Vista‘s Matrix Effects to quickly get some great looks out of the rig‘s 180 Mac 101s when they were configured as a big par wall. He concludes that Vista gives the tools to “Achieve straightforward tasks very easily, whilst retaining the ability to engage in complex programming. You don‘t have to do any maths to write a cue.

Given the choice, Rob has specified Vista control extensively on his shows for the past few years. As well as Queen, these include Peter Gabriel, Adele, Pulp, Pet Shop Boys, Keane, and Will Young.

All photos courtesy of ©Rob Sinclair. Click to enlarge.

Vista v2 for Andrea Bocelli tour

Andrea Bocelli 4

Italian based lighting designer, Aldo Visentin is using his own Jands Vista S1 lighting console running the next generation Vista v2 software, plus two Vista M1 Wings, to control lighting for Italy‘s most beloved tenor, Andrea Bocelli.

Aldo‘s creative relationship with Bocelli started in 2006 and this tour‘s natural innovative design contains lots of subtleties, with slow colour changes and no visible movement. It is operated completely ’live‘ every night using the Vista‘s powerful visual interface and just a few pre-programmed presets. This allows Aldo the creative freedom to reflect the spirit of the evening in the lighting, and flow organically with the mood of the set.

Rather non-conventionally, a typical Bocelli tour will feature two or three shows a week over a three week period – often on different continents. Instead of touring a production lighting system, lighting equipment is normally hired locally for each concert.

At each show, Aldo has around 105 different moving lights to incorporate in to the design. Vista‘s powerful fixture swapping allows him to quickly and accurately replace any previously programmed fixtures. He finds this to be incredibly fast and intuitive, and a real time saver.

Aldo needed a system that was both easily travelable and cost-effective, so that he always had the right tools to deliver his shows. He checks the Vista S1 into the plane hold, while the two Vista M1s and laptops come onboard as carry-on luggage. In this way he is able to use his travel time to work on upcoming shows while on the move.

On this tour, he most appreciated Vista‘s livetime functionality. This allows him to set a time and then simply choose what he wants the fixtures to do – whether programmed or completely ad-hoc. “It‘s really nice to have no creative restrictions when you are operating” he confirms, adding that he feels so comfortable with the overall ’visual environment‘ of the console.

He thinks the extensive range of Vista hardware options available is a great benefit, offering an “extremely flexible, powerful and very customisable solution for any application or situation, all running the same reliable software architecture.

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Vista v2 controls innovative Mutemath visuals show

Mutemath 1

A Jands Vista T2 console, running the next generation Vista v2 software, has been controlling lighting and visuals for progressive rockers Mutemath on their recent US tour.

The tour‘s production design was a creative collaboration between the band themselves and Jeff Lava & Darien Koop of Nashville based 44 Designs.

44 Designs are a full service visual design practice, specialising in creating lighting, video and staging concepts for all types of performance and live shows. The company now owns five Jands Vista consoles after purchasing their first when 44 Designs was formed in 2008. They continue to be firm advocates of the brand, citing that with Vista v2 software it really is the ultimate designer‘s tool.

The touring system features a lighting floor package including a selection of moving lights and generics, as well as a 24 foot wide aluminium screen-like structure which is supported from a rear truss. The structure is fed with mapped video stored on a Pandora‘s Box media server.

In addition to their own touring equipment, Mutemath plugged in to the house lighting rig at each venue. The Vista‘s ability to quickly and accurately swap and clone programming between different fixture types, even using different colour systems, offered quick and easy integration of the available venue lighting into their show each day.

Darien, who programmed the T2 and ran visuals on the tour, remains hugely impressed with the performance of the Vista v2 software.

He thinks the Timeline editing on Vista v2 is “fantastic”, allowing the operator to drill down to far greater depths and much faster than before. “They have really nailed the timeline now, it‘s very simple and offers possibilities that I‘ve not found on other consoles” he says.

One function that has helped him out is the ability to customise and build new fixture profiles. on the console. This feature was used to write a personality for the brand new Pandora‘s Box v5 before it was generally available, creating exactly the profile they wanted, and even tailored to the way the media server is specifically being used on their tour.

Darien feels that Jands really listen to user feedback in their quest for continual improvement of all their products.

He concludes “If you are a designer and haven‘t taken a proper look at Vista v2 yet, you really need to…

On top of that, he notes the superlative service, support and backup through Jands‘ US distributors, AC Lighting Incc.

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Vista v2 Shines on Third Day

Alabama based Lighting designer Taylor Price used a Jands Vista S3 console, running the next generation Vista v2 software, to control lighting for the recent US tour of Grammy Award winning rockers, Third Day.

Taylor made the switch to the Jands Vista platform while lighting another Grammy award winner, Switchfoot. Their punishing touring schedule meant Taylor was looking for a powerful yet portable control system that could easily travel on a plane. His solution was to join the growing international family of lighting designers who have bought their own Vista system. He‘s not looked back, and has been an enthusiastic Jands Vista user ever since.

Third Day play a wide variety of venues using a mix of their own touring rig and locally supplied production. On arena shows the Vista S3 was controlling the full touring rig of VARI*LITE 3000 profiles, VARI*LITE 3500 washes, Martin MAC 101‘s, Martin MAC 301‘s, Atomic strobes and conventionals, all supplied by Theatrical Media Services (TMS) from Omaha, Nebraska.

For some of the smaller shows, the rig was reduced and integrated with the house system. Taylor was able to simply change fixture types in the patch, giving him the flexibility to run his show on whatever fixture types he had to work with.

The final backdrop of Taylor‘s high energy, classic ‘rock and roll’ design was a light bulb wall containing 300 standard 60Watt incandescent household bulbs. Vista v2 gave Taylor the tools to effortlessly get the most from this dynamic scenic element with minimal programming time.

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