Brisbane City Church Puts Jands Vista 2 “Byron” On Trial

Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Originally released in 2004, the Jands Vista introduced a whole new approach to constructing light shows, with ‘think visually, work visually’ as the core concept. The upcoming Vista 2 “Byron” release of the application takes this innovative approach to a new stage, introducing a true second generation of software, completely re-written from the ground up.

The lighting crew at Brisbane City Church has been a long time Vista user and was excited to be one of a select group of people to beta test Byron.

Everyone involved in the production team at City Church are volunteers, yet at City Church’s Bowen Hills auditorium the team executes two ‘shows’ per Sunday to a congregation of up to 2000 people.

“I am a non-professional lighting guy”, said Scott Bernoth one of the Church’s longest serving lighting volunteers. “So the ease of use that is provided by the visual interface, coupled with the timeline approach familiar to anyone with experience in video or audio editing, made Vista the standout choice when we purchased production equipment for our new auditorium in 2006.”

Since first using Jands Vista Scott has been an avid devotee. After hearing about the impending release of Byron, he was so anxious to begin using it that he managed to persuade Alex Mair, Jands Lighting Control Specialist, to include him in the beta testing program.

“We have a basic rig that is supplemented for special events,” explained Scott. “After only a few weeks testing we found the beta version so reliable that we switched to using Vista 2 Byron to control all our services even though it was still in the beta period. I like the ability the window themes give you to customise the interface, and I have found the drop-down default timing bar in the fixture chooser saves heaps of time because I don’t have to switch to the timeline view as much as I did  previously.”

“I love the flexibility of the effects engine, particularly the ability to create multi-step swing effects.”

When operating the lights during a Worship Service, Scott said that his favorite feature is the sync button that allows tap timing control of smart effects rates.

“To be able to have all the lighting effects in sync with the music simply by tapping one finger in time to the drum beat is so great,” he commented. “Songs where the drummer is switching from 1/4 times to 1/16 staccato accents and then back, that used to be near-impossible to follow using Vista1 but now it is dead easy.”

Scott recounted that the effort Jands has put into making the new interface intuitive has paid off because he has hardly had to train the team’s new member in using Byron at all.

“Jesse took to it like a duck to water and was off programming cuelist and effects with less than five minutes instruction!”

Scott said he can’t commend Jands highly enough for way they have responded to user feedback during the Beta development.

“I was amazed at the number of times Jands has taken a comment or functionality request and worked them into feature that was better than what we asked for,” he said.

Free to existing users, Jands Vista 2 Byron builds on the visual approach with key features including zero-configuration, automatic networking, and tracking backup that synchronises a second console or PC. A second-generation timeline provides visual split fade times, a per-step timing structure for instantly setting fade and delay times for some or all the events in a step and new filters that make it easier to see what’s going on with big rigs. The extended generic fixture model allows limitless use of non-standard or overlapping features and adapts to all types of new and unusual fixtures. The overhauled user interface reflects user feedback, with search functions built in, and provides a visual method of controlling media servers. New matrix layouts and effects are also included, and a command line window accepts keypad input for fixture selection, levels, timing, store, and other frequently used commands.

Picture: Scott Bernoth (Left) and Jesse Donovan (Right)