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CAST’s wysiwyg speeds pre-programming of HAL shows

CAST’s wysiwyg speeds pre-programming of HAL shows
Toronto-based CAST Software, maker of the lighting pre-visualization software wysiwyg, was instrumental in preparing and pre-programming the lighting for all five Broadway-style shows on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam.  

Four shows debuted at the launch: ‘Live from the Avalon Ballroom,’ ‘Cantaré,’ ‘It Takes Two’ and ‘NYC.’ ‘Garage Band,’ another show on board, premiered last year on HAL’s Oosterdam. Pre-programming for all five shows was completed in wysiwyg R25.

The creative team for the shows includes director John Charron and lighting designer Brian Monahan of BPM Designs. Lighting and media programmer was David Horner, with all shows designed and pre-programmed in wysiwyg Perform. The wysiwyg drawing, wysiwyg equipment and part of the media content were carried out by Visual Connection Ltd. of the UK, under Horner’s direction.

Initial meetings with HAL began in spring 2009, but Horner and his team started designing and executing last May while the equipment installation was beginning on board. The drawing and wysiwyg set-up took around two weeks, and the pre-programming was completed in 10 days at the end of May. On-site work started on June 1. The first public shows launched on July 2 for the shipyard workers and their families.

In other words, installation, pre-cue and other work was completed in two months for shows totaling five hours. Horner credited wysiwyg for helping the speedy execution.

Total lighting equipment included 43 VL2500 Spots, 38 VL2500 Wash, 2 DL3s, one Axon Server, a 32’ x 12.5’ Barco LED Mi-trix wall, approximately 50 ETC S4s (spots and pars) with Wybron Coloram scrollers, six Martin Atomic Strobes, two Look hazers, six UV units with DMX dowsers, Low Fog system, three fiber optic curtains and two sets of fiber optic legs. Control came from a full-size GrandMA console (plus replay for backup), a Pathport system with approximately 50 nodes, three 48-way sensor racks and wysiwyg Perform.

Horner ran wysiwyg Perform 5000 on a custom-built personal computer with the new i7 Intel chip.

‘It worked so great,’ he said. Horner was able to connect the GrandMA desk into the software and even with more than 80 moving lights, all the conventionals and three separate live video feeds inputting into wysiwyg, the software performed well. That was the case, he said, ‘even when using complex scenarios such as all the lights [moving] whilst having a detailed gobo and rotating prism in them.’

R25 enabled Horner to look at the stage and scenery in a detailed virtual world with the Axis ability to create motion and move scenery in the same way as in the real shows. ‘The live-view looks in these latest [software versions] are so good and incredibly realistic,’ he said, adding that he especially likes the new feature that puts live video on an LED wall.