Mode Studios, the Seattle-based production design company, has added ESP Vision to its arsenal of design tools.

“We’ve watched the development of this product category carefully in the last couple of years” comments Mode Studios principle designer, Bob Bonniol. “We’ve always used pre-visuals in design, usually via our 3D applications like Softimage, or in compositing apps like After Effects. These were always a good visual aid, but obviously we weren’t then deriving the benefit of cueing data to use in the show. Up to now we just hadn’t seen the necessary level of visual representation in pre-programming solutions that compelled us to buy one. ESP has changed that.”

Mode purchased a license of ESP Vision that they installed on a quad processor 64bit BOXX workstation, with dual SLI video cards. “The platform we chose to install it on is about as robust as you can imagine” Says Mode associate designer Thomas Hague. The result is a photo realistic pre-visualization of all lighting and multimedia elements in real time.

Mode Studios put the system to immediate use for the design of their upcoming PBS concert special, Metal Messiah. “On Metal Messiah we have a large rig of Vari*Lites and multiple projection and emissive media surfaces. We were able to hook up Mode’s own HD Hippotizer Media Server to the ESP, import the Vector Works draftings of the rig, and plug in Artnet with two grandMA desks” says Bonniol. “ We then brought in the director, the producers, and the programmers for a week of tech/visualization. Our actual tech time in the venue is very short, and we had to be able to communicate the whole show production to the PBS filming team in advance for shot planning. The ESP system functioned flawlessly, and everybody was blown away. The producers were quite excited by the potential cost savings, while the creative team reveled in the ability to really dial in the design.”

Mode expects to use the ESP system on all of their upcoming shows. “We have a huge booth design for Nokia N-Series coming up, as well as an the Opera Frobisher, happening in January. Both of those shows will be going into the ESP Vision phase quite soon” comments Bonniol. “I really believe that ZZYZX has made a huge breakthrough with this software. It ought to be in every designer’s toolkit.”