David Howard Illuminates Gary Numan’s 1000th Gig with Wysiwyg by CAST

Gary Numan – Photo by Lorne Thomson – Redferns via Getty Image.

British artist, Gary Numan, celebrated reaching an astounding 1000th gig milestone by performing three consecutive shows at London’s iconic Electric Ballroom. To mark this remarkable journey, Lighting Designer David Howard was enlisted to create an iconic, immersive backdrop that encapsulated every essence of Numan’s career. This article delves into how wysiwyg empowered David Howard to craft Numan’s most unforgettable performance to date. 

Independent Lighting Designer, David Howard, boasts a diverse portfolio spanning music tours, special events, and more. From working with artists like Jo Quail and The Hoosiers to contributing his expertise to prestigious events like Glastonbury and MCM Comic Con, Howard’s creative flair knows no bounds. 

MCM Comic Con – Virtual VS Real –  design by David Howard

First introduced to wysiwyg whilst studying at university in 2013, David Howard instantly recognized its transformative potential. The lighting design software opened doors to unprecedented creative possibilities, enabling him to turn abstract design concepts into tangible visualisations. With its comprehensive features encompassing 3D previsualization, paperwork generation, show programming, and the ability to seamlessly bring designs to reality, wysiwyg swiftly came an integral part of Howard’s workflow. 

Howard explains, “With the convenience of real-time visualization, I’m able to design using the right fixtures, provide production teams with detailed plans, and even simulate attendee experiences to not only bring my ideas to life but also bring people onboard my creative vision. Without wysiwyg, I’d struggle to deliver the same level of full production. Be that the design, the plots, or the plans for the production; it’s such a convenient all-in-one holistic platform that complements my workflow perfectly.” 

When the opportunity arose to design the 998th, 999th, and 1000th gigs for Gary Numan, the creative direction was clear: create a moment that encapsulates every essence of the artist’s long career. Howard’s creative process began with receiving the initial brief, spending two- or three-days brainstorming ideas, and then visualizing those ideas using wysiwyg to bring them to life. 

Festival of New York – Virtual VS Real – design by David Howard

Through extensive research into the history of Numan’s performances, Howard used wysiwyg pre-visualisation to incorporate newer elements such as video technology and pixels and demonstrate how these would breathe new life into the production. Taking Numans preferences into account, the entire show consisted of 12 universes of lighting and another 10 of pixel lighting. The stage itself was lined with pixel tape, adding a visually intense dimension to the experience. Drawing from Numan’s nostalgic triangular motif, Howard used wysiwyg to introduce innovative video tile concepts to the team, enhancing the visual impact and creating a fresh revamped version of the artist’s trademark. 

To create a visually striking backdrop, Howard used 24 GLP JDC1’s and ran video pixel content which was projected onto the triangular screen. This video content was also fed through the pixels of the JDC1’s to effectively blend the visual elements and create a pixel-rich environment. To acknowledge Numan’s admiration for aviation, Howard featured Ayrton Magic Blades as well as the SGM BeaSt moving light that resembled an aircraft landing light, with an overhead rig of  Chauvet Spots and washes.  

Unlike previous Numan shows, the consecutive gigs were set in much smaller intimate venues with low ceiling heights. This presented distinct challenges that wysiwyg effectively addressed by assisting the build process, the transition from Howard’s laptop design to live execution on stage became effortless.  

Rendering VS Photos – Gary Numan 1000th Show

Howard emphasizes, “wysiwyg allowed us to not only 3D visualise the venue but also check that the rig would be compatible with the space. This meant that the entire production team was able to see the show in advance, and I was able to guarantee that every element fit perfectly. 

A unique aspect of the show was its fluidity; with 3 different set lists, every night brought a fresh new experience for the audience. With everything tried and tested using wysiwyg long before showtime, the production team were able to efficiently move through each aspect of the gig. When songs needed to be changed, wysiwyg allowed for easy advance programming while away from the lighting rig.  

In reflecting on the impact wysiwyg has had on his creative journey, David Howard comments: “Wysiwyg isn’t just a tool; it’s the all in one system that propels my ideas into reality. The mirroring tool, the seamless workflow between wysiwyg and BlackTrax, the ability to export with precision – these are more than just features; they’re what makes my work come to life. wysiwyg, without a doubt, has opened up more creative freedom, giving me the time to explore, refine, and execute quickly. It’s not just about lighting design; it’s about crafting experiences and wysiwyg stands as the ultimate partner that enables me to do this.” 

This partnership resulted in a mesmerizing performance that captured Gary Numan’s legacy perfectly. We extend our gratitude to David for sharing his exceptional project with us, and for being a huge supporter of wysiwyg for the entirety of his career. We look forward to sharing more about the unforgettable experiences David continues to deliver for audiences worldwide. 

Credits: Photos courtesy of David Howard

For more information about wysiwyg click here: https://cast-soft.com/wysiwyg-lighting-design/