CAST wysiwyg has been touring with one of the most talked about Indie bands, Wilco, whose music has been described as somewhere between experimental rock and alternative country. The band has gained kudos for one of the best albums of 2016, Schmilco, and for consistently putting on distinctive shows. The tour has just returned from Europe and is continuing now through America.
Lighting Designer Jeremy Roth previsualized their unique setlist using wysiwyg Perform.
The set design, conceived by Jeff Tweedy and fabricated by Valerie Light of Infinite Scenic with textiles provided by Matt Biringer of Rose Brand, executed with Tour Manager Eric Frankhouser allowed Roth’s lighting and scenic design to highlight the mood that the team wished to convey.
Roth describes the set: “The concept came from Jeff [Tweedy] visiting a Masonic temple in Santa Fe that has a set of scenic flats depicting an autumnal forest scene. He was inspired by the use of diminishing perspective, cutouts, and color to create a sense of depth and warmth. He brought the concept to me while we were on tour in Europe and we started to figure out how to turn a scenic concept from a 100+ year old temple into a tourable production design.
“With this project and most of my other projects, wysiwyg is an invaluable tool for designing and sharing concepts, renders and assessing the feasibility and constraints of a design. With the Wilco forest design, I was quickly and easily able to create mock up renders on my laptop that allowed me to show the rest of the band and management what Jeff and I had been talking about. With only a couple of hours of work I had the approvals I needed to move forward with the concept.”
“As with most shows, there were certain physical constraints that needed to be worked within. For this show, all of the lighting and scenic had to fit in about 12′ of truck space, be able to be setup by just me and local stagehands, and fit on to locally provided trusses. For me to meet those challenges, every light in the rig had to be there for a specific reason. There wasn’t room or time to have lots of extra lighting. I find wysiwyg incredibly useful when I am trying to figure out how to maximize coverage and angles through placement and fixture selection. Being able to select real fixtures with proper photometrics from the Library allows me to try out different fixture types at different angles and quantities until I’ve found the coverage I’m looking for with fixture types that are best suited for the job. Because this design is so scenery dependent, it was very important to make sure all of the scenic layers could be lit evenly and independently of each other and the key light coverage would work properly without spilling on the scenic.”
“I find the interface and workflow in wysiwyg extremely intuitive to the point where the software technology doesn’t get in the way of the creative process. There are lots of great tools for dealing with repetitive tasks and spatial alignments. I love that the entire process of designing, drafting, visualizing, and communicating via paperwork is all integrated into one program. Especially once designs start going in to multiple revisions.”
The European leg of the Wilco tour has gotten rave reviews and tickets to the American shows are selling fast. Proof that an original set and lighting design combined with unique music add up to a special tour not to be missed.
17x Martin Mac Quantum Wash
24x Elation SixBar Battens
7x Clay Paky Mythos
2x Vari Lite VL4000 Spot (with custom gobo and animation wheels)
8x Nocturne UV Floods
11x Altman 1K Q-lights
3x Molefay blinders
2x Hazebase Hazers
Lighting for US tour supplied by Holly Russell, TMS Omaha
Lighting for UK / Euro supplied by Julian Lavender, Neg Earth
Lighting tech on UK / Euro tour: Charlie Strangeways
Roth added, “The support from CAST on their program has been invaluable over my years of using wysiwyg. I’m not afraid to make suggestions or speak up when something is missing or could be better implemented. The tech support, sales, and management departments have been very understanding and responsive to fixing and improving their product. I’m sure, in many cases, that I am not the only user seeking additional functionality from the program. It seems like most of my wish list items over the years have been incorporated into subsequent releases. Their attention to user input is surely one of the main reasons why the program keeps getting better and better with each release.”