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  •   Jands Vistas & WYSIWYG Supplied for Liverpool 08 Opening Ceremony

Jands Vistas & WYSIWYG Supplied for Liverpool 08 Opening Ceremony

31st January 2008

Lighting designer Stephen Page used a Jands Vista T2 console to provide lighting control for 'The People's Opening' event to launch Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture.

Using the stunning architecture of St George's Plateau as a backdrop, the show featured a cast of 600 to represent the City's rich cultural heritage, including artists Ringo Starr and Dave Stewart, a choir of 300, 40 aerial performers, 80 guitarists and hundreds of local school children.

The event was attended by 50,000 people and also received widespread international coverage across TV, radio, the web and other media.

The show was co-produced by John Wassell & Jon Drape and production managed by Simon Barrington. Direction was by Nigel Jamieson, Jayne Casey and Mark Murphy, with production design by Dan Potra. All lighting equipment was supplied by Blackburn based rental company HSL and project managed by Mike Oates.

The show featured a highly original stage setup, with simultaneous performances by artists across eight rooftops surrounding the main stage in front of and around St George's Hall.

Lighting designer Stephen Page's brief from the creative team was to light a musical, multi-cultural event featuring a diverse mix of performers on a large outdoor scale in the middle of Liverpool's city centre.

Stephen, who is also a director of Manchester-based DBN Lighting, had used the Jands Vista on various events since the company became one its first adopters in 2004, so the Vista was his obvious console of choice for the Liverpool event.

He was also looking forward to using the Vista on a much larger event than his previous jobs, and decided it would therefore be a good opportunity to try it with Cast's WYSIWYG lighting visualisation software to get much of the show programmed before going onsite.

Stephen was planning to prep the basic structure of his design in WYSIWYG and then make up the specific looks during three days and nights of full production rehearsals. However, severe weather conditions forced all but the final night's rehearsals to be cancelled, so the visualization software proved absolutely key to preparing the show in time.

He commented: "I did a lot of pre-programming on WYSIWYG, which worked extremely well and proved a real life-saver when I got just 6 hrs and only one full rehearsal the night before the show, instead of the 36 hrs or 3 days and nights of rehearsal time I was expecting. WYSIWYG bought me an extra 3-4 days of virtual programming time, which enabled me to put most of the structure of the show together and check how it would look, before I was able to rehearse it. So when I finally got on site all I had to do was make up the key looks and some final tweaks to the design.".

The Vista controlled a lighting rig featuring over 200 moving lights, 360 ways of dimming, and nearly 100 LEDs to light the main stage, surrounding area and various rooftops.

In addition to the main performance, lighting designer Rob Sinclair used the new Vista S1 console for US broadcaster CBS's 'Good Morning America' program, which was broadcast live from inside St George's Concert Hall. The new control surface is a powerful and flexible live console that's compact enough to carry in hand luggage along with a laptop, making it ideal for when users need to travel light.

DBN's own Vista S1 was also used as an extra focusing tool for HSL whilst Stephen continued to prep the main show on his T2 console.

Summarising his experience using the Vista, Stephen commented: "I've used various consoles before but when it comes to programming shows, I believe the Vista's the best. The timeline, being able to change events graphically, looking at things in a visual way and just the overall flexibility of the desk. In addition, the Vista also made it very easy to handle the large amount of lights - in this case 16 universes worth. WYSIWYG also proved itself to be a really valuable tool - without it I wouldn't have been able to program and rehearse the whole show in the one night onsite I had. A special thanks also to A.C. Lighting for its overall support on WYSIWYG and Vista, which was second to none as usual."