Jands Stage


Vista control for Alban Arena

The busy multi-purpose Alban Arena in St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, has taken delivery of a Jands Vista I3 lighting console, running the next generation Vista v2 software, to complement a new rig of GLP Volkslicht LED moving lights all ready for the kick off of its action-packed autumn/winter season.

The 1200 seat venue is a truly multi-purpose facility, acting as both a busy receiving house and also featuring a wide array of live entertainment including all types of music, comedy acts, circus, dance, drama, awards shows, exhibitions and competitions.

The venue‘s technical manager, Steve Brookes, instigated the new purchases to encourage visiting productions to take advantage of the time and cost savings of having the latest technologies available in-house. These included the Jands Vista I3 console, complemented by a Vista S3 wing for additional playbacks, with Steve and his team choosing a touchscreen option to access the Vista v2 software. This flexible package fitted their requirements exactly, and replaced their existing lighting desk which had been in service for over 10 years.

The Vista I3 was integral to the venue‘s new lighting package, allowing themselves and visiting productions to get the most from their new, dynamic, energy conscious solution, while achieving the high quality end result that their audiences have come to expect.

Steve had not used a Jands Vista before, and was not especially familiar with the brand. Whilst investigating all the available options – an extensive and in-depth process that involved looking at many manufacturers‘ offerings – he became intrigued with Vista, and more specifically the new Vista v2 operating system. He felt that the software offered the right balance of powerful control, with the simplicity to use it quickly, that was crucial to a venue like theirs. Once he had decided that the Vista v2 software was the way forward, it was simply a matter of finding the hardware option that best fitted his budget and requirements.

He was immediately impressed with the console’s intuitive visual interface, and with the speed and ease of programming. “I really like the simplicity of the interface and it‘s great intuitively. It’s obvious how to do most things without having to consult the manual.

Steve, along with Deputy Nick Clarke and some of their other regular operators, undertook training with Jands’ exclusive UK dealer, A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. (AC-ET) – who supplied the Vista system and GLP Volkslichts to the Arena. Before even doing this their introduction was so successful that they programmed and ran their first show on the console the next day – a real testament to just how easy that the Vista platform is to learn.

A number of the venue’s incoming shows are theatre based with lighting run from cue stacks, so having a console with powerful timing control was essential. It also fulfilled the requirement of offering a straightforward desk for incoming shows bringing their own operators who might not be familiar with Jands Vista.

The first show to take advantage of the complete new lighting system was a performance by The Animals & Friends, featuring John Steel and Mick Gallagher, original members of the 1960s rock/blues legends The Animals, plus John E Williamson (Titanic), Peter Barton (Mindbenders, Boomtown Rats) and acclaimed US blues guitarist Steve Cropper. The band are touring the UK until November delighting audiences around with a set including Animals classics like House of the Rising Sun and We‘ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place.

The I3 was operated by Nick Clarke, who was duty manager on the day. For this show, the console was set up for busking – another task at which the Vista, and the Vista v2 software, excels. Its speed of use and accuracy make it ideal for creating a great looking show live, and reacting to any last minute requests by the band.

Apart from all the technical and practical requirements being met by the Vista I3, Steve underlines that he was confident in “The excellent levels of service and after-sales support that could be expected.

Summing up, he reckons that the Vista I3 is a“ perfect control scenario“ for the venue, “The Vista I3 enables us to offer all the functionality that any show might need“ he confirms.

Vista v2 was designed from the ground up to allow all levels of user get the most from whatever mix of technology they have available, whether dimmers, moving lights, LED, or media. Available in a wide range of hardware options Vista v2 offers both the simplicity to work fast, with the power to control the finest details, so everyone can focus on creating a great looking show rather than on programming a desk.

Jands Europe‘s Neil Vann said “Vista v2 really does offer the right balance between powerful functionality, and ease of use, that allows everyone to get the most from their show. Steve and his team have a busy schedule, and need to be able to cope with a wide range of different clients, styles and size of show both quickly and accurately. If you haven‘t taken a look at Vista v2 yet, you really should before you miss out.