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Based in Mackay, the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music is committed to being a major performing arts training centre attracting students from all states of Australia and overseas.
Students studying for their Bachelor in Theatre have the option to specialize in technical theatre learning the art of lighting for the stage with the aid of the campus’ Vista software and Vista T2 console.
Kade Sproule, Theatre Technician for the Conservatorium, is happy to champion the Vista and explain why it became the Conservatorium’s preferred method of lighting control.
“We had a very ancient Jands Event console that needed replacing,” he said. “At the same time we had a split music program in Rockhampton that got moved back to Mackay and they had a Vista M1 and Vista software with a laptop. It made sense to opt for a compatible system for both internal and external gigs. Of course, the Vista is well known and well regarded too, and we believed that it would push what we could do lighting-wise in our venue.”
The above mentioned venue is a 200-seat auditorium with a proscenium arch stage and it is used for theatre, musical theatre, contemporary music and multimedia programs. The space and its’ equipment needs to be very adaptable to meet the needs of all of those programs and the associated classes. Thrice yearly there are main theatre productions and a couple of main stage music concerts. The space is also hired to local dance companies, community theatre and schools for which Kade will design the lighting.
“The Vista T2 stays in the venue whilst our music students take the Vista M1 out to the small cafes and bars where they do jam sessions,” commented Kade. “We need the flexibility to program lights and effects in house, then quickly and easily send it off to a festival or different venue, remaining compatible so we don’t double up on the work. This allows the students to train within the Vista software and learn how to operate, then whether it’s an internal or external gig they can still playback the lighting effects they’ve created.”
Kade comments that the students appear to be able to learn Vista fairly quickly and adds that although he had no experience with Vista when it first arrived, he found it very easy to jump in and start operating.
“It’s very intuitive, with most controls and functions where you’d expect them to be,” he said. “Before using Vista, I really hadn’t had much experience with intelligent lights yet I found the Vista’s functionality of how you can control and manipulate those lights and their effects, so simple to pick up. The ease of which you can control effects, colours, beams, and gobos is very easy and quick. We run to a very tight time schedule so when I need to move at a quick pace Vista really helps.”
Kade remarked that the online tutorials provided by Jands are invaluable to the students, helping them to immediately begin navigating the console and get a few lights up and running quickly. He advises the students to watch these tutorials before they get hands-on experience with the software.
Bachelor of Theatre: Technical Theatre students Rachel Harcourt and Gabi Cherry have found the Vista way of lighting to be a breeze.
“I found the Vista to be really easy and straightforward to learn,” said Gabi. “The way the software is set up means it is easy to find everything and the layout is done really well, you’re never stuck looking for something.”
“Everything is easy to find and everything you need to apply is built on the basics of the whole system,” added Rachel. “The tutorials are great and a big help.”
The Vista T2 was supplied by Kennedy Amplifier Hire Services who suggested the product not only because the Conservatorium already used the platform.
“It’s a great product – in fact we have one ourselves!” added Dale Kennedy, managing director at Kennedy Amplifier Hire Services. “It was also a competitive price and of course Jands are renowned for their excellent back up service.”
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