WYSIWYG has fans screaming at Wembley Arena

r1ta-green-ps.jpgLess than a month after its release, WYSIWYG R29, the new, upgraded version of CAST Software's industry standard pre-visualisation suite, is already being used to stunning effect on high-profile shows around the world. Among them is the BBC Radio One Teen Awards, which took place at Wembley Arena this month, featuring a visual design by award-winning LD Tim Routledge.

Broadcast live on BBC Red Button, with highlights shown the following evening on BBC Three, the Radio One Teen Awards included a live music bill that read like a who's who of up-to-the-minute pop music. Headliners One Direction were supported by the likes of Little Mix, Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard and Taylor Swift, drawing a crowd of 10,000 screaming teenage fans. Routledge, who has used WYSIWYG extensively in recent months, having been lead lighting programmer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic games, used the software to create a visual complement comprising five 10-foot cubes of video and lighting, suspended over the stage.

“We used R29 to create the visuals, impress the client and get the show,” explains Routledge. “It was my first design for Radio One and I really wanted to impress them, so I provided WYSIWYG renders immediately upon winning the contract. They were really happy when they saw the visual because it absolutely explained what I was trying to do – a complex set of truss cubes, all fitted with video screens and various lighting fixtures, which was impossible to describe without being able to actually present it to them visually. We had to show the camera angles and how their logo would sit on the stage, so it really let them understand where I was going with it and helped me win their confidence.”

Tim and his programmer Alex Passmore designed the entire show in WYSIWYG before “plugging into the real world” at Wembley on October 7th. This involved a day in his Blue Lens Studio in London where he completed half the show, with the rest of the programming finished off in a Wembley dressing room as the lighting and video rig, supplied by HSL and Oglehog, was going in. Routledge readily admits that with 26 music numbers onsite in one day and a very short rehearsal time, he could never have achieved the same results without WYSIWYG and the new shaded view selection tool implemented in R29.

“For me, the new Shaded View selection tool has just revolutionised the way I create visuals for a client, mainly due to the speed at which it lets me work. I can achieve so much more now, in the same amount of time. Being able to select and create groups of lights within shaded view is far easier and means that I can really tweak my visuals and come up with something that I probably wouldn't have come up with before.

“Quite often I'll connect a desk, but if I just want to get an idea across to a client without having to get the consoles out and patch the whole show – which is sometimes too laborious – I'll use the design mode in WYSIWYG. Before R29 this meant selecting the fixtures that I wanted in CAD view and then going back to shaded view to see the outcome. Now I can just grab individual items or complex selections of lights, tweak them out of the way of the camera shot, make them glare more and so on – and I'm actually creating better visuals as a result.”

Having wrapped up the Teen Awards, Routledge is already back at his WYSIWYG machine, creating the visual design for Katherine Jenkins' tour, which is due to hit the road in December. Audiences will next see his work this Autumn, however, when The War of the Worlds begins a six-week European tour starting at the O2 Arena in Dublin. Tim is working with Production Director Steve Nolan to programme a fully time-coded show with a monstrous 4,000 cues. Again, WYSIWYG will be fundamental to the design process.

“I'm using it as an everyday tool,” concludes Routledge. “Every few hours I'm on WYSIWYG creating something.”

WYSIWYG R29 is available now from the Members Only section of the CAST Software website. Get yours now by visiting www.cast-soft.com.

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