For four nights only, the Sydney Festival transformed Sydney Town Hall into swing-dancing heaven featuring a huge dance floor, a fabulous floorshow and sizzling swing music played by Sydney’s spectacular all-girl Sirens Big Band, just as it did in its halcyon days – but with plenty of 2011 edge.
Sydney’s original Trocadero had its heyday in the 1940s and 50s with lindy-hoppers, swingsters, rockabillies and cha cha cha-ers dancing the nights away in all their finery. It was demolished in the 70s but its spirit jives on in the gloriously re-imagined new night club named the Trocadero Dance Palace.
The lighting in the venue, designed by Matthew Marshall and including around fifty moving lights and a collection of LED fixtures along with generic theatrical lights, was programmed and operated by Peter Rubie who opted to use a Vista T4 running a beta version of the Vista V2 ‘Byron’ software.
“After beta testing Vista V2 in it’s early stages I was impressed by its feature set and vast improvements on Vista 1,” remarked Peter. “A lot of the things that were missing or not quite there yet in V1 have been added in the new version – Jands have really listened to the user feedback.”
As both plotted cues for the structured show and on the fly operating was required for the Troc Party Nights after the show, Peter was keen to use the V2 beta over V1 with its improvements in the theatre elements as well as the busking ability. As the show was also very flashy with a lot of cues and effects, he was eager to use the new improved effects engine.
“I was a little nervous using the beta software, but did some extensive testing and trials before moving in to the venue which went successfully,” said Peter. “Once the plotting stage came around, we experienced a few bugs but these were met with great support from Jands who were able to solve the show critical ones very swiftly. We were also running a secondary Vista with a backup of the show which I would always recommend when using any newly released software / consoles.”
Peter comments that the Vista V2 beta retains all of the great V1 features and that the intuitive patch system has been made even faster with an instant search function for fixture profiles.
“The timeline which is one of the main areas where Vista differs from other consoles has received various improvements too,” he added. “The speed at which I can look at multiple cues at once and clearly see tracked values and all parameter info supersedes other consoles where I find myself having to retrace my steps and think harder about what I am editing and how it will affect other cues in a tracking environment. All the cue timing properties are much improved in V2 so they now much more closely follow the same structure expected in theatre consoles such as split up and down timing and follows.”
Peter particularly favours the flexibility of having separate live timing for each different parameter and the speed in which this can now be changed on the fly.
“That is one of the many improved busking features,” he said. “The major overhaul of the look and appearance of the GUI has resulted in a much more professional looking console and is very user-customisable including personalised user colour themes. The visual representation of everything down to a mimic of gobo and colour wheels with gobos that actually animate is fantastic. I particularly like the button that reverses the direction a gobo is rotating whilst retaining the speed.
Peter reports that the shows went off really well and he was glad to get the chance to test the V2 beta in a show environment.