Jands Vista


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.

Altar Boyz at the Bristol Riverside Theatre

Altar Boyz, The Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol PA.

Altar Boyz, The Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol PA.

Lighting designer David Pedemonti specified a Jands Vista S3 console, his desk of choice, to provide lighting control for a regional production of the hit US Off Broadway show, Altar Boyz.

David was particularly impressed with the Vista’s ability to combine big bold looks with the show’s precise comic timing, and how quick and easy the show was to programme using the console’s unique visually based lighting plot.

Summarizing his experience of the Vista, David commented: “As a theatrical lighting designer, I am always searching for a console that handles well the conventional fixtures along with the moving heads and LEDs. The Jands Vista, for me, has addressed the entire process of cueing a show for all types of fixtures. The Vista’s interface and timeline make the concept of lighting much more user friendly, particularly when working with video and audio in a multimedia production.”

SUNY Geneseo Theatre

Rent at SUNY Geneseo. Photo ©Benjamin Gajewski

Rent at SUNY Geneseo. Photo ©Benjamin Gajewski

The State University of New York at Geneseo has purchased a Jands Vista T2 full size console for its School of the Arts faculty, which provides degree courses in stage lighting design, technical theatre and stagecraft.

Located in the historic village of Geneseo, the University is a premier public liberal arts college with a rich tradition of academic excellence. The campus facilities include a state-of-the-art theatre used for practical lessons and assessments, as well as an array of faculty-directed and student-directed productions, community-produced shows, dance concerts and musical theatre revues.

With a focus on teaching students to use the very latest industry technologies, Johnnie Ferrell, associate professor of theatre and technical director at the School of the Arts, decided it was time to upgrade their lighting console to something more modern, powerful and capable of handing the increasing number of intelligent fixtures.

Being active in the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology, he decided to visit the USITT show to get hands-on experience of the latest lighting consoles available. After evaluating several popular industry consoles, Johnnie was impressed by the Jands Vista so arranged a demonstration for himself and his students at the University, provided by Jands exclusive North American distributor, A.C. Lighting Inc.

The Vista’s modern, graphic interface, pen-tablet control and ease of use made a big impression on Johnnie and the students, so he purchased a full size T2 console for the University’s theatre via local company, BMI Supply in Queensbury, New York.

Johnnie commented: “I have never had a lighting desk that is so easy to use. You can set cues faster and easier than anything I have ever used. The patch is always a snap as well.”

The console is primarily being used in the University’s 386-seater Alice Austin Theatre to control a lighting rig which includes various Altman, ETC, Elation and Vari-Lite intelligent and conventional fixtures. The Vista has also been used in the campus’s 950-seater Wadsworth Auditorium and 150-seater Robert Sinclair Black Box.

Student productions programmed on the Vista include The Clean House, Fool for Love, Rent, Pirates of Penzance, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as dance concerts every semester.

In addition to using the console on-site, the students also frequently edit their shows away from the campus using the free PC and native Mac-based Vista offline editor software.

Summarizing his experience of the Vista, Johnnie commented: “As my mentor stated about the Vista: did I want a lighting console that students could learn to program, or did I want a console that the students could light with? The students love the Vista and it has quickly become their console of choice.”

New York Musical Theatre Festival

The Good Fight 1

Vista S3 and WYSIWYG join LD Glen Hunter for The Good
Fight in New York.

The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is one of the
most prestigious theatre schools in the country, and was recently selected to
tour The Good Fight at the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Written
by Nick Enright (best known for “The Boy from Oz”), with music composed by
David King, The Good Fight is set in Australia during the first World War. It’s
based on themes such as mateship and centers around the tale of a
legendary boxer, Les Darcy, and his rise from blacksmith to the world’s most
famous boxer. Performed for the first time in the United States, the New
York Musical Theater Festival showcases new musicals from Australia,
Canada, South Korea the United Kingdom and the United States.

Lighting Designer Glen Hunter is a 3rd year lighting design student at WAAPA
and chose the Jands Vista and Cast Software’s WYSIWYG as his weapons of
choice for the tour. Glen commented: “One of the great challenges of the
show was that we opened the day following a 30 hour flight to New York,
which gave us a day to load in the set, lighting, plot, tech run and then open
that evening. I made a decision early on to completely pre-plot the show in
Perth with the Vista and WYSIWYG”.
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Theatre Royal Waterford

Theatre Royal Waterford, Ireland

The Theatre Royal Waterford, Ireland has recently purchased a Jands Vista T2 lighting console. It was supplied by local theatre consultants Dirk Baumann Lighting (DBL Lighting) as part of an upgrade to the venue’s existing lighting system, which was over thirty years old.

The Theatre has been Waterford’s main centre of culture and entertainment since the mid 1970s, providing the region with a dynamic programme of professional and community-based music, drama, dance, variety, pantomime and other live productions.

DBL’s Dirk Baumann was appointed to re-design the existing lighting grid and provide a much more flexible system to suit the theatre’s current and future needs. Once the lanterns, grid and dimming were in place, Dirk was also asked to specify a more powerful console to make the most of the new lighting infrastructure. Initially the theatre was keen to stick with a traditional theatre-style desk, but this soon changed after they were given the opportunity to see a demo of the Jands Vista in action.
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The Vista—a breath of fresh air

The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is one of the most prestigious theatre schools in the country, and recently chose the Vista T2 as their console. Why? Because they see it as the future of lighting control. After using the T2 to stage a recent production, ‘Once On This Island’, two of the students kindly took the time to write to us about their experiences with the console.
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