Previsualisation of Miss Saigon (photo © James Simpson)
UK - Award-winning lighting designer Bruno Poet used CAST's wysiwyg software to previsualise his technically innovative, trailblazing and epic stage lighting for the latest production of Cameron Mackintosh's Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End.

Big West End shows have never used pre-visualisation software on a show of this scale before, making the use of wysiwyg on this production a real world first. The production team for the latest London production of Miss Saigon was new, while the set was inspired by the recent successful Miss Saigon tour of the Far East.

"As the script and score for the show were well established, the production period for the show was much shorter than other West End productions of a similar scale. Our team worked from scratch on the show's lighting design using the pre-visualisation features on offer in wysiwyg," explained Poet.

"CAST designed wysiwyg specifically to help groundbreaking lighting designers such as Bruno Poet," says Igor Silva, marketing director at CAST Software. "And anybody that's been blown away by Cameron Mackintosh's latest epic production of Miss Saigon in London will already see that the results speak for themselves."

CAST's wysiwyg enables lighting designers to layout their stage structure and have their lighting show pre-programmed before they even get to the venue. It is this particular feature that helped Bruno Poet to start the important work of the lighting design for Miss Saigon before even stepping foot into the new venue at the Prince Edward Theatre.

"Whether a stage director, set or lighting designer is creating an entirely new lighting design for any scale of production or event, or wanting to update and develop a current design, the wysiwyg design and previsualisation suite gives them a real edge, as well as cutting electricity and production costs and the time they need onsite" adds Silva.

The latest set and lighting designs for the new production of Miss Saigon were initially built using wysiwyg, by lighting visualiser, James Simpson, with on-site support during pre-plotting by programmer, Warren Letton. Simpson's brief was to re-build the scenery and add new set elements where necessary, in order to also create and patch the entire lighting rig.

"The reason visualisation was such a success on this production was because Bruno had the confidence to push it through the producers and get them to support it," Simpson recalls. "Visualisation doesn't have a future in the theatre unless lighting designers, programmers and producers want to support it, but if they do it can really save a lot of time and money."

Bruno's lighting rig was crammed full of moving fixtures to give him the flexibility he demanded for this project and one of the most notable uses of new technology was the use of LED with the Martin MAC Aura for strong backlight and creating epic colour washes.

"This decision paid off dividends for him as it suited the look he was trying to get for the show," says Simpson. "The first time he felt sure that this bold move was going to work was when he saw them in wysiwyg; the bold colours and wide zoom looked epic! And he couldn't wait to see them in real life to see if they could produce the same dramatic looks - which they did."

Bruno also specified MAC Viper Performances, which did the majority of the lighting work for specials and keying, as well as ETC Revolutions to give tungsten where it was needed.

An evenly spaced LED wall using Martin Professional EvenLED technology was used for the cyclorama in the show and at the time the wysiwyg work was being carried out this was controlled by Warren and the lighting team.

"It was very impressive to see all of this working on wysiwyg," adds Simpson. "Being able to play with transparencies on the sunset cycs in front of it meant we could match it very closely to how it was supposed to look in real l

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