Open Forum

Vista 3 Lighting Control?

  • 1.  Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-27-2020 10:39
    Good morning,
      Our auditorium is undergoing a refresh - which is exciting - however, the plan for our new lighting control is apparently a computer running "Vista 3" by Chroma-Q and a couple of Vista control wings.  I have never used Vista before, but my research seems to show that it was not originally designed to use a traditional syntax or cue structure.  One review stated that, in ~15 years on the market, "it's never come to dominate a section of the market like some other consoles, though it has a devoted band of users including a strong following in the house of worship market."  Apparently, the new incarnation of the program (after Choma-Q bought it from Jands) does have a Command Line (although even the programming wing doesn't have a keypad?).  Also, the timeline approach has now been revised to include cues.

      The advantage of Vista seems to be the "intuitive tools for editing how things happen through time" and Chroma-Q seems to have also realized the value of a more traditional cue structure (especially when working on live shows) and the option to type commands.  The review ultimately suggest that it might now be a "solution that's a bit less radical but perhaps a bit more welcoming to new users."

      I have 2 questions for the community:

    1) Have any other High Schools used this software?  If so, to what effect?

    2) For anyone in the College or Professional world, is this going to be a useful format for our kids to learn on? Or, are they going to be at a disadvantage not learning to program on a more traditional console?

    Thanks for any advice,
    ~Guy

    ------------------------------
    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown MD
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 08:37
    Good morning Guy,

    There was a small community theatre that had this software. As a lighting designer I did not like it but they seem to get along with it well. I can tell you that we have an ETC ION and love it. There are four high schools in our area, three have the ION and on has an ETC Element. Many colleges that I have visited/spoken to also use an ETC product. Some still have older Strand units. I haven't heard of any using the Vista product.

    I had a discussion about lighting recently. with a friend of mine, who does the lighting design for ESPN Boxing,

    It seems that most schools that have traditional "theatre" are sticking with an ETC line of consoles. This is due to a cue based system with multiple perimeters. Many other productions, outside of theatre (concerts, ect.) use a Grand MA or a HOG board, because they are great for splash and are more of a paged "look" system.

    Hope this helps.

    ------------------------------
    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 10:16
      Thanks, Crit.  We were originally supposed to get an Ion. But the lowest bid for the project was something like a million dollars over-budget, so the district worked with the apparent low-bid contractor to cut costs. (This is one of the costs cut.) I'm grateful that the project is still happening, but nobody asked us for our input on some of these money-saving decisions.

      I'm trying to decide whether the Vista 3 is something we can live with, or if I should be raising a concern that our students will not be learning on industry-standard equipment.  I also don't want to complain without a viable solution to suggest. I think $$ is the main limiting factor, and the Vista 3 may be the best we can afford at this time?
      I downloaded the Vista3 software and played around with a demo show file connected to WYSIWYG. The graphic interface does look like it's more user-friendly, but I worry that any of our kids going on to college are going to have a significant learning curve transitioning to a more traditional console.



    ------------------------------
    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown MD
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 11:33
    We've used Vista for the last 9 years in our 1875 seat auditorium.  I LOVE it!  I've used it for all of our shows, from one acts to our huge spring musicals (which typically have hundreds of cues!). We also us it for our school assemblies, concerts that come through, dance recitals, youth conferences, etc.  I came from a command line background (ETC), but this is so much easier and more intuitive for my students.  After one lesson and a quick download of the free software, they're programming their own simple shows.  I still teach and use the same lighting design paperwork, but patching, creating groups, fx, and the visual layout is way easier.  Give it a chance.  There are some AWESOME webinar videos that Vista created for users.  Check them out on the Vista by Chroma-Q channel. Super helpful.  Hope this helps ease your mind, and have fun with it!  Let me know if I can help! :)

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Stahl
    Technical Director
    Russellville Schools
    Russellville AR
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  • 5.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 12:27
    Thanks, Daniel.  That is encouraging!  I'm glad to hear that it has worked well for your space. I found some webinars on Chroma-Q's website / youtube channel and am planning on working through them over the summer.  I can see the appeal / potential and am trying to keep an open mind.  I just hope that it is the right thing for our students.  Have you had any feedback from past students who went on to do lighting in college?  Was it easy for them to adapt?

    ------------------------------
    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown MD
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 20:02
    So I did a quick Facebook poll.  It's all over the place.  Some say it's enough to learn the basics.  (A dmx interface is a dmx interface.)  Some say they learn from the beginning at college anyway, since not every incoming freshman is as fortunate as our students.  One guy who went "pro" said neither will sufficiently prep for the higher end systems (hog or ma) and seconded the "they learn programming at college" and suggested to just teach them basics of how to be a sparky and gig events.  That's usually how it goes.  I have several kids who can do the electrics and usually only one, maybe two, programmers.  

    Daniel Stahl
    Technical Director
    The Center for the Arts
    (479)498-6600 ext. 3





  • 7.  RE: Vista 3 Lighting Control?

    Posted 06-28-2020 20:46
    Hello Again,

    Just know I was only answering my knowledge of the program. As for DMX, absolutely. My students learn all about it and event have a DMX wiring project. They also start with an analog 24 channel board before they touch the ION.

    Good to know that the program is out there and widely used. That should be a good network to assist in development of a teaching curriculum.

    ---------------------------------
    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
    ---------------------------------