I program lights for 3 church services a week, Wednesday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning. In addition to that throughout the year we also have several large events that we do including Easter Weekend, our large Christmas production, and the Love Is Red conference (loveisred.net), we have a small amount of LED fixtures and moving lights that we own, which are used for all of our normal services, and then typically rent quite a bit of gear for our events. The challenges with renting gear for our larger events is that most of the time I’m only renting gear for 1 week, which means that during the course of that week I have to receive the rentals, place them, program them, run the shows we are doing, tear it all down, and return, all while using fixtures that I’m not always super familiar with. Pre-Visualization has given me a definite advantage in staying ahead of the game with these events.
There are several Pre-Vis programs out there including Grand-MA, Capture Polar, Light Converse, and Wysiwyg (just to name a few.) The software I use is Light Converse, it was recommended to me by a few people that I know, and when I looked into it, it’s a great price, with free updates for life, and a considerable discount for students/ houses of worship. So what does Light Converse do that helps to save me so much time? With Light Converse I’m able to build a three dimensional model of our auditorium, make it as simple or as detailed as I want by adding things like stages, seats, trussing, catwalks, risers, people, projectors screens, curtains, etc. Then I can add all of the light fixtures that I am planning on renting to the 3D model, patch them into my desk, and actually control them all on screen. The software knows all of the capabilities of that fixture, things like brightness, beam angle, gobos, colors, zoom, iris, color mixing, anything that that fixture is capable of you can see it all happening right inside of your model in the software. The great thing for me is that I can see how bright a fixture will appear in my room, how big of a spot it can create from it’s height off of the stage, and how well it compares to different fixtures. I can also then plan out an event, patch my console for the event, and start recording basic pallets, cues, and effects that I’m going to want for the event.
Pre-Visualization can also work great for designers working with a tour, you could work out all of the elements that the tour wants, find out what fixtures would work best for them, show them how you plan on setting everything up, what all you can accomplish with that particular set up, and where things will need to be hung to achieve that design. Many of these pre-vis programs will also create a plot, or a blueprint style drawing of the stage that is easy to read, and can help keep everyone on the same page for where things need to go.
Some friends of the blog, Mitchell Schellenger and Cort Lawrencee, were willing to share some photos with me of their pre-vis process while working with the band Third Eye Blind. While working with an artist Mitchell will create a plot using Vectorworks Spotlight, the Cort uses that plot to render the it in Cinema 4D to show the artist and their management, then when it’s time for the show they combine the Cinema 4D render with MA3D to pre-visualize the show.
All Third Eye Blind images belong to Mitchell Schellenger