Jands Stage


Reach Academy Feltham UK

Reach Academy

A.C. Special Projects Ltd. (ACSP) has supplied and installed a bespoke entertainment technology system to Reach Academy Feltham – a pioneering, all-through free school for pupils aged four to 18 in Hounslow, west London.

The school approached ACSP with a brief for a fully flexible lighting, video and sound system for its main hall – which is used for a wide array of events, including plays, dance shows, presentations, social functions and workshops. The system had to be user-friendly and intuitive, so that teaching staff and pupils could work it with ease.

The school approached ACSP to tender for the project, due to the company’s extensive track record providing entertainment technology systems to the education, drama and performing arts sectors. Through the supply of detailed drawings of tailor-made specifications and practical demonstrations of key products, ACSP clearly outlined how its highly skilled team would meet all the brief’s particular requirements and challenges – thereby winning the contract.

In practice, ACSP managed the entire project. As well as devising a bespoke technical solution, the company supplied and installed it – subsequently providing training for school staff and ongoing technical support.

ACSP Director, Lance Bromhead felt that the high-performance ProLights lighting range would offer the best results within the school’s budget. For the main stage area, he installed four Diamond 7 LED washers, the smallest luminaire in the Diamond range. They feature the latest WBFX technology – offering unparalleled flexibility and creative possibilities thanks to three operating modes: high performance wash light, with advanced colour calibration; punchy beam light; and amazing FX graphic generation. These washers are complemented by two bigger, more powerful Diamond 19 LED washers.

The rig also includes six ProLights Crystal spot moving-heads and a highly efficient EVO190ETU LED profiler which is capable of replacing traditional profilers equipped with 750W HPL lamps.

This state-of-the-art lighting system is controlled by an ultra-portable Jands Vista S1 console. Vista’s award-winning intuitive, graphical user interface allows students and teachers to concentrate on the creativity and design of their show lighting, rather than deal with complicated lighting programming. The highly intuitive Vista software handles the technical details. Connection from the console to the ProLights lighting fixtures is made wirelessly via a LumenRadio CRMX Nova range DMX transmitter and receiver.

Other equipment supplied included a Christie DHD600 6,400 lumens projector with a choice of HDMI, VGA and video inputs – so media content can be projected during performances, presentations and other events. Sennheiser Evolution 100 Series handheld, lapel and head-band wireless radio mics mean speakers, singers or performers can benefit from flawless audio enhancement at all times.

Ed Vainker, Headmaster for Reach Academy, says that ACSP provided: “amazing service and communication from start to finish. Lance Bromhead was attentive and committed throughout, offering honest practical advice – which, on comparison, was extremely competitive. The installation process was thorough and professional with a very high-end finish. The equipment is high spec. and the after sales training, first class. I have recommended A.C. Special Projects to other schools and will definitely be using them again!

Contact the company now to see how they can help you to achieve your aspirations:
+44 (0)1494 838392

Buckinghamshire New University’s High Wycombe Campus.

Bucks Uni Drama Studio 1

A.C. Special Projects Ltd. (ACSP) have specified, supplied and installed cutting-edge performance lighting systems for two separate drama studios at Buckinghamshire New University’s High Wycombe Campus.

Having previously supplied lighting systems for several other performance areas on the Campus, the University approached ACSP to deliver solutions to meet their latest studio technical needs.

For the campus’s main Drama Studio 1, which is utilised by a variety of Performing Arts courses, the brief was to enhance the existing conventional tungsten lighting system with a range of the very latest LED solutions, as well as upgrading the existing lighting console to cope with the new rig.

Bucks Uni Drama Studio 1The University were keen to invest in LED technology, to help improve the campus’s overall lighting and heating energy efficiency rating, and thus reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, they wanted to minimise the requirement for students or technical staff to work at height in order to change fixtures’ coloured gels or lamps.

Another consideration was to provide the students that would be operating the equipment, with the opportunity to get hands-on experience using brands whose products were widely adopted in the Performing Arts industry.

ACSP chose options from the ProLights lighting range, to deliver outstanding results from the available budget. These included ProLights StudioCob full colour LED Pars, offering an extremely bright, consistent and wide 60° beam; ProLights Evo 160F Fresnels and Evo 190E Profiles to deliver tungsten-style theatrical performance from an LED source, both featuring excellent optics and smooth dimming; and finally, ProLights Reflex moving washlights, for adding the flexibility of its extensive zoom and vibrant colour range.

In the Studio’s control room, the University needed a lighting console that was easy to use but still capable of controlling the latest lighting technologies, along with being flexible enough to suit the individual show performance needs of students.

ACSP specified the award-winning Jands Vista v2 control solution due to its intuitive, graphical user interface, and the versatility of programming and playback methods it offers. Vista allows students and teachers to concentrate on the creativity and design of their show lighting, rather than complicated lighting programming, by letting the Vista v2 software handle the technical details and simply deliver the target stage look they require.

With limited space to accommodate a large lighting console, ACSP recommended the compact Vista S1 wing. All Vista products run the exact same software and offer the full feature set as found in the range’s largest consoles, therefore the S1 connected to a Mac mini provided this small footprint solution without compromising on power, features or performance.

For the campus’s Drama Studio 2, which is utilised as a rehearsal space for dance performances and other drama-related applications, ACSP provided a whole new lighting system – also featuring ProLights StudioCob full colour Pars and Evo 160F Fresnels fitted with barndoors.

Bucks Uni Drama Studio 2This second studio is also controlled by Jands Vista combined with an even smaller, ultra-portable M1 wing connected to a laptop. With both studios running the same control software, and taking advantage of Vista’s modular wings, this allows students and teachers to freely transition between the two spaces without having to learn differences between two products. Show files can also be seamlessly transferred from one studio to the other, and in addition, the S1 and M1 can be combined to offer a physically larger console for those one-off productions which may require more hands-on control.

In both studios, Jands Vista provides flexible lighting control to suit a variety of Drama productions, ranging from simple Plays to highly animated Dance Shows featuring lighting choreographed to musical numbers.

ACSP provided comprehensive Jands Vista training for the University’s technical staff at their office in High Wycombe.

Frazer Mackenzie, Head of School – Media Production & Performance at the University, commented:

We are very pleased with the tailored solutions that ACSP delivered. The systems are state of the art and yet very simple to operate by both our Performing Arts staff and their students – some of whom may be considering a technical production role within the industry in future. As has been our experience working with ACSP, they again provided a high level of service, and no job was too big or small for them.

More information:



Bonnie and Clyde at the WaterTower Theatre

Bonnie and Clyde 3

The Jands Vista system was used to control the lighting & visual media elements for Texas-based WaterTower Theatre’s spectacular production of Bonnie and Clyde.

Founded in 1996, the multi award-winning WaterTower Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company in Addison, Texas. It produces six main stage shows each season in its flexible, state-of-the-art facility, which is part of the Addison Theatre Centre.

The Centre already owned two Jands Vista consoles – the ultra-compact M1, and the original Vista T2 model, but recently added the range’s flagship L5 console to their inventory.

Dan Schoedel of FullStageProductions.com, who was the lighting designer for Bonnie and Clyde, comments: “We actually upgraded from our existing Jands Vista T2 to the L5 during the show run. This is one thing that I love about the Vista line – the fact that the software is the same across the entire hardware range, making the transition from console to console totally seamless.

Dan specified a fairly large rig for the show, which included Elation Design Spot and Power Wash fixtures, Chroma-Q Color Scrollers, and K-9 Pup and Bulldog fixtures.

I rarely let the board ops program on the Vista system since it’s so much fun to design with!” Dan continues. “I find the ease of programming saves me time and effort, and as a result, it lets me refine my design. The Timeline Editor lets me quickly add depth to transitions and cues that I wouldn’t spend the time doing on other consoles. The Vista also helped me manage the variety of movers/color changing fixtures with ease.

One of the major successes of this production was the inspired projections and visuals. These were created by set designer, Sarah Brown, working closely with in-house technical coordinator, Scott Guenther, who did the media design for the projection surfaces.

The projections were handled by ArKaos MediaMaster Pro 4.0 software running on a Mac Pro, with two projectors. A Panasonic TP-DW830 8500 lumen projector was used for the center hanging cloth and a BenQ SH960 5500 lumen projector for the rigid side projection screen,” says Scott.

ArKaos was used in Fixture mode on the Vista system. We were very happy with the level of control from the ArKaos Profile, while maintaining the ease and workflow of Vista. In fact, the integration with Vista was our favorite feature. Running the media from the lighting console allowed for great control of the images and great flexibility in connecting the media and lighting together, as well as being able to run / trigger these from just one device.

Dan adds: “In addition, we set up the Vista to trigger all of the audio cues on a separate computer that was running QLab. This enabled us to fire off lighting cues and sound cues at the exact same moment. This was critical, especially when it came to gunshots.

The Jands Vista consoles and the ArKaos MediaMaster Pro 4.0 software were demoed and sold to the Centre by North American distributor, A.C. Lighting Inc.

The Addison Theatre Centre is currently celebrating its 21st anniversary year of providing live theatre to the Dallas area, and has won numerous major awards in this time.

Jands’ award-winning Vista lighting & media control system has been embraced by leading designers, companies and venues all over the world on a wide range of shows. Covering entertainment, education & drama, installations, corporate, events and worship, there’s a Vista system to suit all levels of user and almost any scale of show.

The Jands Vista console range and ArKaos Pro media servers hardware and software line-up will be showcased at PLASA Focus, Orlando, in February on the booth of exclusive North American distributor, A.C. Lighting Inc. (booth 413).

Gallery – click to enlarge

Vista L5 goes West (and Australia wide) with CCPWA

Vista L5

Since Perth’s Concert and Corporate Productions (CCPWA to their friends) purchased their Jands Vista L5 they’ve barely had the pleasure of its company. And it’s that kind of immediate return on investment that really makes a production company happy. Sean McKernan, General Manager of CCPWA, couldn’t be happier with its absence. “We got it mid-September and we only had it in our warehouse for 12 hours before it went out on its first tour!

After purchasing from Jands, the L5 flew into Perth to be prepped by the CCPWA crew, and soon turned around and was put on a plane to Brisbane, where it kicked off on UK metal band Bring Me The Horizon’s national tour. As that tour finished up, the desk went straight over to US rockers Fall Out Boy for another lap of the nation.

It was a good month and a half before it came back” Sean continued, “and it has had nothing but praise from all the LDs who’ve used it.” User feedback coming into CCPWA has repeatedly highlighted the L5’s intuitive operation and great operating system. Sean concurs; “I’m a GrandMA operator, and I find the Vista L5 completely intuitive.

One of the big hits with operators is the generous 21-inch, 1920×1080 resolution TFT screen. “It’s one of the biggest visual surfaces on the market” agreed Sean. “There’s not many other consoles that have a better work surface.

After doing two tours of duty, bouncing around Australia’s highways in trucks, the L5 finally made it home in fine working order, ready to go out again almost immediately. “We’ve only had it back for four weeks” explained Sean, “and it has done three shows during that time.

With the incredibly busy Christmas and New Year period upon us, the L5 is still out working hard for CCP. It was on the Perth leg of the huge EDM-based Stereosonic Festival on 30 Nov/1 Dec. Early in 2014 it will be showing its versatility by working on an opera. Looks like the warehouse crew won’t be seeing much of this workhorse at all in the near future.

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.”

AC-ET Hosts ‘LED for Theatres’ UK Workshop

Les Miserables

Photo © Thomas Juul

A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) Ltd, one of the industry‘s leading suppliers of specialist LED lighting and control solutions, is hosting a one day ‘LED for Theatres’ UK Workshop on Saturday, 17th August 2013 in the idyllic production environment of The Kings Theatre in Portsmouth.

With huge technical advances being made in LED lighting and control in recent years, more and more theatres are taking advantage of the latest generation of LED solutions when upgrading their lighting systems.

The ‘LED for Theatres’ Workshop has been organised in response to customer interest and follows a number of high-profile theatres and touring productions utilising LED technologies supplied by AC-ET.

The informal event will enable attendees to get ‘hands-on’ with the very latest in LED solutions designed for theatres – chosen from AC-ET’s impressive portfolio of over 200 technology brands – and
compare like-for-like LED and conventional lighting fixtures in the perfect production environment.

Brands showcased include various LED fixtures from Chroma-Q™, Spotlight, ETC and Philips Selecon, along with lighting and media control solutions from the Jands Vista range.

Although the event is geared towards LED technologies, AC-ET staff will be happy to discuss the company‘s complete ’one stop shop‘ of theatrical technology products, accessories and consumables.

Anyone involved in production for a venue, an amateur theatre group, a hire company, or that’s a freelancer, is invited to pop in at any point on the day between 10am – 5pm, and then join the AC-ET staff for a drink afterwards.

To register your interest, please visit:

Alternatively, please contact the event organiser, Bob Allen of the AC-ET Southern UK Sales team, on Tel: 01494 838378 / email: bob.allen@ac-et.com

Victorian College of the Arts Looks to the Future

Victoria College of the Arts

Joseph Mercurio, Lecturer in Performance Technology at the Victorian College of the Arts, is on a mission to ensure that his students have access to the latest in lighting technology and so it‘s no surprise that he insisted on having a Jands Vista console.

Part of my purpose here is to teach people how to learn and Vista offers a very different way of approaching lighting control,” began Joseph. “With most consoles you type in numbers on a keyboard but Vista has a totally different mentality with which younger people are familiar. They are used to a visual, touch screen, interactive method. Older people have learnt to be digital natives but our students were born and raised this way. You don‘t need to know numbers; you‘re talking holistically around the design and getting lights to work.

Vista offers a totally different paradigm and breaks new ground. It certainly shows the future of lighting control.

The VCA purchased the Vista I3, a mid-range lighting console that provides all the features of the full-size T2/L5 consoles in a smaller, more economical package. Featuring the software, processor, and control elements of the standalone consoles, users can connect a pen-tablet, touch screen, or standard monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the console, and it becomes a fully operational Vista. According to Joseph, it has performed as expected without any problem.

As well as learning current technologies, I try to ensure that the students are pushing the boundaries as to where new technology is going,” stated Joseph. “The Vista shows so many exciting ways of going forward that no other console is showing at the moment.

The students have found the Vista I3 very easy to use due to the hands on graphic interface which they are accustomed to from using other software.

Chris Payne, a second year student at the VCA, recently used the Vista I3 for some dance performances all lit very differently.

It‘s a very different console but I really loved using it,” he said. “It was great for the three different dance performances that I operated. The lay out was really helpful because it meant that I could keep all the specials for each piece organised and that in turn meant I could manage each show as if I had three different consoles.

The visual aspect really helped with programming and operating. I particularly liked having the flexibility of using the command line; I found the command line functions very simply laid out. It was a lot of fun to use and it certainly made my life easier.

Vista takes centre stage at Friedrichsbau Varieté

Photo ©Alexandra Klein

A Jands Vista T2 is at the heart of the lighting control system at Friedrichsbau Varieté in Stuttgart, one of the most popular and influential variety show stages in Germany.

With a vibrant history dating back to the end of the 19th century, the theatre was re-opened in 1994 on its original site, which had been destroyed in World War II.

Friedrichsbau Varieté stages four of its own well known productions each year, featuring internationally acclaimed artists as well as new talents.

Awash with colour and dynamics, an eclectic mix of circus and performance skills merge contemporary and classic aesthetics, accompanied by the Friedrichsbau Varieté Orchestra. Each of these shows has two versions – long and short – and each performance run is between two and three months.

The Vista T2 lighting console was specified by Friedrichsbau Varieté‘s Technical Director and Lighting Designer, Torsten Schulz.

The console controls up to 156 dimmer channels and a number of automated lights including: Coemar Infinity Spot and Washes, Chroma-Q™ Color Block DB4™ fixtures, Chroma-Q Color Block 2™ fixtures, and GLP Startube 4 fluorescents, along with haze and fog machines.

Photo ©Alexandra Klein

They also have an Arkaos DMX 3.6 media server which is triggered by the desk, together with an Extron ISS 506 video switcher for IMAG camera playback.

Amongst many other features, Torsten is extremely fond of Vista‘s visual interface, he explains that “no number crunching on a keypad is very appealing to me”.

Another feature that Torsten really appreciates is the Timeline facilities, something he now considers essential for any theatre performance. He explains that he will often apply complex and more unusual time sequences to the cues, a process that is made very simple on the Vista.

Torsten is delighted with his choice, and explains that Vista is now his preferred lighting control system for all types of application.

Vista at the Sydney Theatre Company

Never Did Me Any Harm is a new dance theatre work by award-winning director and choreographer Kate Champion (Not in a Million Years, The Age I’m In), exploring the complexities of contemporary family life. It is a co-production between Sydney Theatre Company and Force Majeure.

Force Majeure is known for making work that transforms the familiar and domestic into the poetic. Drawing inspiration from Christos Tsiolkas’ bestselling novel The Slap, Champion and her company interviewed people of all ages and backgrounds for their opinions on what makes a good parent.

Using a distinctive language of dance and text, Force Majeure and Sydney Theatre Company give full dramatic voice to these real life stories. In an unsettling yet familiar Aussie backyard, the fears of parents are danced, voiced and unraveled.

Set and lighting designer Geoff Cobham collaborated with Chris Petridis, video designer and assistant lighting designer, on the project. A PC running Jands Vista v2 software with a Vista M1 wingboard was used to operate the show.

Essentially I built the video system which included a Catalyst media server running ArtNet so that was an exciting factor in using the Vista for control,” Chris commented. “I find that the Vista is very compatible with ArtNet and networking.

The production utilised five standard projectors plus a Robe Spot 3000DT digital moving head projector so Chris was running two complete media server systems as well as a normal lighting rig.

Geoff and I are similar in our artistic approach to lighting and consequently we really favour the Vista because it‘s very intuitive in creating the desired stage looks,” explained Chris. “Other consoles can be all about numbers. With the Vista, instead of having to think about what you‘re trying to create in a mathematical manner you can think about it in an artistic way. That‘s the greatest thing about Vista and that comes across in the programming of it using features like the colour picker and having all the gobos visible when you‘re loading and programming them.

Like modern video and audio software, the Vista displays your designs as a series of ’events‘ laid out across the screen over time. This ’timeline‘ approach means that you can see everything that‘s happening in relation to time: when lights come on, when they go off, when they change colour, when they move. Chris is partial to Vista‘s timeline particularly as it uses the same shortcut keyboard commands as a PC or Mac.

It makes it so simple to move attributes between cues,” he added. “Rather than having to constantly think about tracking and how to pull attributes out of certain cues to move them, you can just click on the attribute and cut and paste as you would with any other software. Just the other day I showed this feature to another lighting designer and he was blown away by it. Being able to scrub the timeline is handy – you can move to the point where you want a new attribute to start fading and just drag the attribute to that point. That‘s fantastic.

The Vista‘s interface makes patching a breeze. You just pick the light you want from a list, type the quantity you want, then drag it over to the DMX universe screen. All done! The Vista also includes an extensive fixture library including profiles for the world‘s most popular and less well-known lights.

I find the patching on a Vista to be incredibly simple and I like having the visual 512 channel universe and being able to move stuff around that way is really great,” added Chris. “I like that you can have all the windows pop out and put them on a second monitor, it‘s so nice having a large visual display of what you‘re using.

Never Did Me Any Harm will be playing at the Melbourne Festival later in the year.

Vista for Les Misérables

Les Miserables 1

Danish lighting designer Benjamin la Cour has been using his own Jands Vista T2 lighting console, running the next generation Vista v2 software, on a busy schedule which includes the Musical Silkeborg‘s production of the Victor Hugo classic, “Les Misérables”.

Benjamin decided to invest in his own console as he feels that programming shows himself allows him to get the most out of his creative designs. To achieve this he needed to have a desk that he could easily get to know ’inside out‘.

To ensure he was making the right choice, Benjamin trialled three major brands of console for one month each. At the end of the period his decision was very clear – Jands Vista!

“I learnt the Vista T2 with incredible ease” he states, “I really love the interface, it makes programming exceptionally fast and enjoyable!
Benjamin has been running Jands‘ next generation Vista v2 software since its launch early last year. One of his favourite features is the powerful Effects functionality. Being a theatre designer, timing is very important to Benjamin, and along with simple in and out fades he likes the detailed control he can achieve with the Timeline.
The Jands Vista T2 and v2 software has definitely been designed with theatre shows in mind” he says. “While features like Matrixing are very useful for rock shows, I also find it extremely effective for theatre.

In producing Les Misérables, Benjamin employed the Matrix feature to dramatic effect, using forty 50cm household light bulbs hanging from the ceiling to create a major ’ambience feature‘ for the musical‘s famous ’barricades‘ scene.

Other lights in the Les Misérables rig were Martin Professional MAC 401s, MAC IIIs, Robe ColorWash 750 AT Tungstens, along with a quantity of generics.

The show was a huge success. Benjamin comments that the service and technical support from Jands Europe has been “excellent”. He is looking forward to another busy year with his Vista T2 in 2012.