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wysiwyg Hits the High Seas on the Ms Nieuw Amsterdam

This summer, CAST Software of Toronto, Canada, makers of the industry standard in lighting previsualization software wysiwyg, helped prepare the latest addition to the Holland America Line, the 86,000-ton Ms Nieuw Amsterdam.

On 4 July 2010, the Ms Nieuw Amsterdam was launched from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Venice. It is the fourth Nieuw Amsterdam from Holland America, with the first dating back to 1906. With a capacity of 1380 passengers at a length of 780 feet (238 metres), the luxury cruise ship celebrates the glamour and history of New York City (formerly called New Amsterdam) with its inspired interior design and art collection. The ship is also home to five Broadway-style shows, with lighting design and pre-programming completed in wysiwyg R25.

The ship spared no expense in décor, with an array of works valued at over $3million, ranging from antiques by traditional Dutch Masters to creations by renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Richard Estes and Roy Lichtenstein, with astounding displays throughout the ship.

Ms Nieuw Amsterdam also features premium concepts such as its panoramic restaurant, a premium wine-tasting lounge, an elegant luxury jewellery boutique, new atrium bar area, and of course its world class live entertainment. Four brand new shows debuted at the maiden launch: Avalon, Cantare, It Takes Two and NYC. Another show on board is Garage Band, which is a re-run of a show that was debuted on the Ms Oosterdam last year.

The creative team for all five shows (which will run for approximately five years) includes Show Director John Charron at the helm and Lighting Designer Brian Monahan of BPM Designs ( Lighting and Media Programmer was David Horner, with all shows designed and pre-programmed in wysiwyg Perform. The wysiwyg drawing, wysiwyg equipment and part of the media content were carried out by Visual Connection Ltd of the UK, under the direction of Horner.

Although initial meetings with Holland America began in Spring 2009, Horner and his team actually started designing and executing in May 2010, while the equipment installation was beginning on board. The drawing and wysiwyg setup took around two weeks, and the pre-programming happened for 10 days at the end of May; onsite work started on 1 June. The first public shows launched on 2 July for the shipyard workers and their families.  The maiden voyage started on 4 July. Let’s review that timing; start in May, installation, precue, etc. completed by the end of June – only two months.

Horner says, “I do not think we would have been able to complete this project on time without the aid of wysiwyg! If all the shows were played one after another, it would last over five hours, so clearly a lot of lighting cues had to get programmed.”

Total lighting equipment included 43 VL2500 Spots, 38 VL2500 Wash, two DL3’s, an Axon Server, a 32’ x 12.5’ Barco LED Mi-trix wall, approximately 50 ETC S4’s (spots and pars) with Wybron Coloram scrollers, six Martin Atomic Strobes, two Look hazers, six UV units with DMX dowsers, Low fog system, three fibre optic curtains and two sets of fibre optic legs. Control came from a Full size GrandMA console (+replay for backup), a Pathport system with approximately 50 nodes, three 48-way sensor racks, and wysiwyg Perform.

Horner ran wysiwyg Perform 5000 on a custom-build PC with the new i7 Intel chip. “It worked so great,” he said, “I was able to connect the GrandMA desk into the software and even with over 80 moving lights, all the conventionals and three separate live video feeds inputting into wysiwyg, the software still performed great, even when using complex scenarios such as all the lights doing movement whilst having a detailed gobo and rotating prism in them.”

Of R25, Horner commented, “It was great to be able to look at the stage and scenery in such a detailed virtual world that with the ability to create motion Axis allowed us move around scenery in the same way it was going to be done in the real shows. The live view looks in these latest versions of software are so good and incredibly realistic. I especially like the new feature of being able to put live video on an LED wall.”

Horner selected a photo from each of the new shows and images which illustrate each aspect of what they used in wysiwyg such as an LED wall, DL3’s, live video input, Axis, large amount of lighting fixtures, multiple sets, etc. “We definitely used it to its fullest,” he said.





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