iPhone Lighting Software: ZinmanCo’s PocketLD and Synthe FX’s Luminair v2

As far as iPhone software goes, “there’s an app for that,” right?  How about an app for MAKING ME A PIZZA RIGHT NOW AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

<deep breath>

Okay, I feel better.  But seriously, there are tons of apps out there for every single thing you can imagine.  The other day I downloaded an app from the iTunes store that played these crazy soundscapes to help you fall asleep.  Awesome.  As far as lighting goes, there are tons of apps out there for that, too.  But I think it takes more than the skill of coding an app to make an iPhone app – hell, there are programs out there that generate iPhone apps out of a website feed or a podcast stream, and apps that really do nothing at all.  You have to have an understanding of the basis of what you’re doing in order to make a useful iPhone app.

Two such iPhone app developers are Ryan Hisey from Synthe FX (makers of Luminair) and Mike Zinman of Zinman Software (makers of PocketLD and many others).  Both are pushing updates this week to their popular iPhone suites.  What these two guys do forges the way.  End of story.

First, Zinman Software’s PocketLD – a program that International Cinematographer’s Guild Magazine called one of the top five apps for filmmakers and cinematographers:

PocketLD V2.0 Now Available on the iTunes App Store

LONG BEACH, CA – ZINMAN SOFTWARE, makers of the popular lighting related iPhone apps, announces the release of PocketLD v2.0. PocketLD allows lighting professionals in theatre, film and TV to calculate the FC/LUX and Beam/Field Diameters for over 2000 fixtures and lamps.

V2.0 adds the functionality for users to edit the existing library, create their own fixtures and organize these fixtures into an improved Favorites List. New fixtures included in the library include Dedolight, K5600 and Kobold.

Developer Michael Zinman says “This is our most ambitious update for PocketLD since it was released two years ago. I’m so happy with these changes and I’m confident our world-wide user base will find the new functions a great add.”

Recently, PocketLD was featured in ICG Magazine (International Cinematographers Guild) as one of the top five apps for filmmakers and cinematographers.

For more information, visit www.zinmansoftware.com

Direct download of PocketLD v2.0 on the App Store is available by following the link below.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketld/id292911261?mt=8

About Zinman Software.

Zinman Software is a technology leader in applications for the event production industry. Among their products are a number of iPhone apps including Genielux, ML Finder, Pocket LD, Gel Calc, iSwitch DMX and TCP/IP Remote. For more information visit www.zinmansoftware.com.

Ryan Hisey and Synthe FX’s Luminair v2 – a lighting control suite that turns your iPhone into an amazing lighting tool for programmers, designers, lighting directors, and lighting technicians in all trades.  I mean, 36+ hours on batteries?!  Fuhgeddabadit.  Luminair v2 is being developed to do some amazing things in CAST Software’s wysiwyg, Release 25. More on that later, but be sure that it will rock!

Synthe FX release Luminair v2.0 for iPhone & iPod touch
Cincinnati, OH, February 25, 2010 – Synthe FX have released Luminair 2.0, a major upgrade to the wireless multi-touch DMX control app for iPhone and iPod touch. Luminair is revolutionary wireless lighting control software, which uses the Art-Net protocol to control
compatible lighting equipment and media servers via the iPhone and iPod touch’s internal Wi-Fi hardware.

Among the new features in v2.0 is “Stacks”, which is a cue-list playback system designed to make it very easy to put together shows for a wide variety of uses. Cues can be programmed directly within Luminair, and also recorded as snapshots from an external console or any other DMX control source. Standard playback life using the device’s internal battery can run up to
3.5 hours, and can be extended to over 36 hours using a 3rd-party external battery pack. Playback will run indefinitely when the device is plugged into a power source.

Another major new feature in Luminair 2.0 is the ability to assign images as visual references to cues, using the iPhone’s built-in camera, photo library, or transferred via Luminair’s internal web server. Users can browse and trigger Quick-Touch cues using a CoverFlow view, which renders the assigned images in breathtaking OpenGL 3D. Also dependent on the new image
reference support in version 2.0, is the ability to export “Fixture POV” images and data directly over Wi-Fi from Cast Software’s next release of WYSIWYG R25.

Other notable new features in 2.0 include full group support, cut/copy/paste capabilities, accelerometer support for XY controls, plus extensive additions and refinements to the existing feature-set. Company founder and lead product developer Ryan Hisey says “The ability to program and playback shows directly from an iPhone or iPod, for periods lasting greater than 36 hours on batteries is really amazing. We’re really excited to see how our customers push the boundaries of automated lighting control.”

“In this release, we also took advantage of a lot of the great features that are built-in to the iPhone and iPod touch, such as the accelerometer, camera, and photo library. The images in CoverFlow look absolutely amazing, and users can easily add their own custom images and icons via multiple convenient methods. Additionally, we are very excited to be working with
Cast Software, who is a highly respected industry leader, on such a groundbreaking new feature for lighting pros.”

Availability
Luminair 2.0 is available for download now, exclusively from Apple’s iTunes App Store. For all existing customers, version 2.0 is a free upgrade. Full product details, videos, and screenshots can be seen at http://synthe-fx.com/luminair

Keep up the excellent developing, dudes.

Lady GaGa’s Brit Awards Performance

Okay, to be honest, I’ve not really heard much of her music until I saw this video.  Lady GaGa performed her tunes “Telephone” and “Dance in the Dark” at the Brit Awards recently.  It’s the one where she gave thanks to Alexander McQueen, the fashion designer who just passed away.

Al Gurdon (Super Bowl LD) designed the lighting for that performance, and Miguel Ribiero from PRG created the wysiwyg for the performance.  Gentlemen, what a kick-ass job you did.  Congratulations on that work.

Check this out:

Jim Hutchison Joins the CAST Software Team!

I am really excited to announce that I’m now working for CAST Software!

castlogo-300px

I approached Gil and Bruce from CAST Software at LDI 2009 about CAST’s role in social media, and that I wanted to help in any way I could.  After talks and strategizing for a while since the convention, they’ve decided to bring me on as their Social Media and Area Sales Manager!

This is just awesome for me.  I have A) been using WYSIWYG for a long, long time, B) really believed in what they’re doing up there, C) wanted to be a part of the CAST team, and D) I love talking to people about WYSIWYG!  This is like epic win for me right now.  So as of a few days ago, I’m playing on the CAST team of developers, experts, and really fun people.

In addition to my full-time roll with JimOnLight.com, I’m also going to help CAST branch out into the worlds of Twitter, Facebook, and other various social media streams.  YEEHAA!  I’m still gonna write about WYSIWYG stuff here, because I am a fan and a user!

In the mean time, follow CAST Software on Twitter and Facebook!

CAST Software on Facebook:  facebook.com/CASTsoftware
CAST Software on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/CASTsoftware

WOOHOO!

So, please resume your normal JimOnLight.com reading, sorry to interrupt!

urawesome

ATTENTION LIGHTING STUDENTS: WYSIWYG Now Has A Student “Perform” Version

random-wysiwyg-jimonlight

I had a great conversation with Gil Densham from Cast Lighting yesterday.  We’ve been talking about the upcoming release of WYSIWYG R25 and some of the new features that will be implemented in R25, as well as all kinds of developments that the Black Box system is having.  Gil also informed me about a new Cast Software offering – a limited time WYSIWYG student version.  Normally the student versions of software are fairly limited, whether it is in features or a big watermark somewhere on the drawing or something equally as pervasive.  However, the student versions usually have a reduced price tag too, so the balance finds its way in there somehow.

The student pricing, also called Cast’s “Perform SSE,” is a full version of the Perform suite with visualization.  You will get a dongle which is your property – the dongle will come authorized for the student version of the suite, which includes everything but tech support and updates.  What I understand the details to be is as follows:

  • it’s the full version of Perform.  Viz, console connectivity, the works.
  • the student WYSIWYG suite is $499
  • the $499 that you pay as a student is fully applicable to a full version when you’ve graduated – essentially you’re getting the program for nothing if you plan on upgrading at the end of school.
  • you get a dongle that you can travel with, and you’re not limited to using a student version in the computer lab.
  • you do have to prove that you’re a student currently enrolled and taking classes.
  • It’s essentially a full version of R22, which has all of the great viz and beam stuff.
  • the student WYSIWYG will have a 1000 channel limit.

I love my WYSIWYG.  After my eyes, it is my number one lighting design tool.  If you’re a student, and you want to get in on this, email learn@cast-soft.com and give them the hey-what’s-up.  If you ever have questions about WYSIWYG, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the JimOnLight contact form, just put WYSIWYG somewhere in the subject.

Cast also has some cool student pricing on a specially packaged student version of WYSIWYG Design, and their Event Planning and conceptual design package, Vivien.  I haven’t ever talked about Vivien much, but it is a cool product.  I’ll talk a bit more about this in the near future, but for $199 and a $30 “initiation fee” you get one year of the software as long as you’re a student.  The cool part of that money is that if you were to buy four years at $199 a year, at your graduation they will credit you every dime of that money towards upgrading to the full version.

You’re going to use a lot of software in your lives to design lighting – some of it is cool, some of it is a waste of your time.  WYSIWYG has taught me more, saved me more time, and saved my rear end more times than I can count.  That’s why I write these posts.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

WYSIWYG Release 24: Virtual Lighting Designer Heaven

WYG-title

Over the last few weeks I have been testing out Cast Lighting’s new release for WYSIWYG – Release 24.  In the last year, R22 and R23 have revolutionized the way that we’ve been thinking about viz software, and R24 is the crown jewel of the improvements in R22 and R23.  The real-time rendering engine in R24 is so full of awesome that there is next to no need to sit and wait for a rendering of the look.

The interesting movement in R24 is that the processing feels like it has been allocated in the most efficient way – meaning graphic properties seem to be moved to the GPU, and numeric functions have been retained into the CPU.  I could be totally off here, but I have used the program on a very, very slow machine and on my laptop, which is configured to be a desktop replacement.  Nothing lags, nothing drags, and I have not crashed it yet.  Believe me, I have been trying!

There are some excellent new features in Release 24 that everyone should know about – from the ability to snap a pic of your instrument’s focus and send it up to the electrician in the cherry picker for focus, to live beam-in video for digital lights across a network:

  • LED: R24’s LED models use a point source to better represent a diode for LED fixtures and LED walls that look better and enhance overall efficiency and performance when dealing with all LEDs. New LED light sources and LED flare capability offer better representation in Shaded Views for better presentation.
  • Colour temperature: Information from WYG libraries includes lamp wattages that more accurately display photometrics.
  • Hot Spots: Hot spots add another aspect of realism to looks – fixture footprints are based on photometric data.
  • R24 introduces a time-of-day capability in Shaded Views. Use climatic or environmental conditions specific to the time, place and even weather, specific to an event’s geographical location anywhere around the world to test ideas and demonstrate work.
  • Geometry Smoothing in OpenGL: This new shading technique delivers better-looking sets and people, plus a performance boost.
  • Inverse Square Law: A new upgrade in R24, it calculates accurate beam drop-off in visualization calculations.  Hot spots have also been integrated into the Shaded View, giving a lot more realism to the visualizations.
  • CITP Protocol for Video, which allows consoles supporting this protocol to stream video content across a network into wysiwyg to be displayed on a video screen or a digital light fixture.

Time of Day information is one of the coolest features relevant to me right now – I have been experimenting with different structures, times of day, and locations in the new release.  Using just the included file of an outdoor venue I put myself into Stockholm, Sweden at 9:45pm:

wysiwyg-timeofday

Time of Day Options dialogue:

viewoptions_timeofday

Color Temperature is another great feature that WYSIWYG R24 has implemented.  With a large database of photometry to work from, WYSIWYG R24 has integrated lamp color temperature variations into the program.  Lamps going through amber drift has been in WYG for ages – which is a very important function when dimming in a rendering.

Low Color Temperature and intensity:

wysiwyg-r24-color-temperature

Lamps post-amber drift at full intensity:

colortemp2

Before I get too far with this, did I mention that the Library Browser is SEARCHABLE?!  (Oh thank you thank you thank you thank you!)

wysiwyg-library-broswer

A few additional features worth noting – making focus charts, new color picker in Design mode, new font interaction, and animated atmopsherics.  Starting with the atmospheric animation (smoke or haze to the layperson), WYSIWYG Release 24 gives you the ability to alter direction and speed for X, Y, and Z coordinates.  Take a look at the control dialogue for this:

viewoptions-wysiwyg-animated-smoke

In Design mode, WYSIWYG also has new features in the color picker for fixtures.  In addition to having the option to use RGB, CMY, or HSI mixing (HSI means Hue, Saturation, and Intensity), you can enter in hex values for the colors across the three variables and pick from a picker:

colorpicker

Last but not least in this review is the ability to make focus charts for your fixtures.  Imagine having an electrician in a lift in a situation where you need to get something focused, but communication is almost impossible – or you’re not on site for some reason and something needs to be focused.  You can look at the stage, architecture, or whatever else you’re lighting from the view of the fixture and get fixture information, channel and dimmer info, and the patch.  Snap a pic of that and send it up to the electrician in the basket on his or her iPhone – done.  I love it:

wysiwyg-r24-focus

I use WYSIWYG for everything I do in lighting design.  Release 24 is amazing, and performs beautifully.  Thanks for a great product, Cast.

Check out some screenshots of the live visualization feature – and get your own copy of WYSIWYG R24 here.

render-wysiwyg-r24

wysiwyg-r24-render

wysiwyg-r24-render

WYSIWYG R24 COMES OUT NEXT WEEK!!!!

wysiwyg r24

The makers of my favorite lighting design software, WYSIWYG, are releasing a new build to members this coming Tuesday, August 4, 2009.  If you’ve never tried WYSIWYG for anything, I highly recommend just giving it a go for a week.  Richard Cadena, who we all know and love, says that R24’s new features are “amazingly responsive.”  Hell, R23’s features are still amazingly responsive!

Some notes on the new features that are included in R24:

  • LED: New LED models use a point source to better represent a diode for LED fixtures and LED walls that look better and enhance overall efficiency and performance when dealing with all LEDs. New LED light sources and LED flare capability offer better representation in Shaded Views.
  • Improvements in visualization: including enhanced beams, improved beam footprints and shadows.
  • Inverse Square Law: A new upgrade in R24, it calculates accurate beam drop-off in visualization calculations.
  • Colour temperature: Information from wysiwyg Libraries includes different bulb wattages to more accurately display the photometrics of different bulbs.
  • Hot Spots: Hot spots add another aspect of realism to wysiwyg visualization. Formerly, uniform footprints are now distributed based on the photometric data of the fixture.
  • For outdoor events: R24 introduces a time-of-day capability in Shaded Views. Use climatic or environmental conditions specific to the time, place and even weather, specific to an event’s geographical location anywhere around the world to test ideas and demonstrate work.
  • Geometry Smoothing in OpenGL: This new shading technique delivers better-looking sets and people, plus a performance boost.
  • CITP Protocol for Video: The new feature allows consoles supporting this protocol to stream video content across a network into wysiwyg to be displayed on a video screen or DL fixture.
  • R24 also has more intuitive and logical Design Tools and an Improved Dongle Security System.

wysiwyg r24

Go check out WYSIWYG Release 23, and read up on R24 as well.  You won’t be disappointed.  It’s been one of the best things that’s ever happened to my pre-viz work, ever.

Weekly WYSIWYG: Importing Floorplans for Maximum Awesome

So I know it’s been a little while since WYSIWYG R23 has been released, but it’s never too late to show some of the pretty fantastic features that it’s packing.  I have a ton of these for you (as there are a ton to show) so I’m breaking them up into smaller posts.

The feature that has significantly made life a bit more simple for me as of the last couple of days is the ability to import an image file as a “floor plan.”  Once this image is in place and scaled (yeah, WYSIWYG scales it for you too), you can draw on top of the floor plan and use it as a map for creating a quick reference to either make a new drawing, copy on top of an old drawing, make some revisions to a drawing that your venue only has half a JPEG file for, or anything else you can come up with.  It’s awesome.  I am doing a show right now, as a matter of fact, that doesn’t have much information about their theatre, and they desperately need that information.  The scenic designer and I have been emailing back and forth with files that are from a non-standard CAD program, and once I was able to find a converter for those files to JPEG or BMP, I was able to pop the theatre into WYSIWYG, quickly 3D-up the plan, and *POW* – I have a working model of the theatre so I can light it.

I am all giggles about this – I have so many old drawings that would brighten the day of many a TD or production manager if they just had a CAD of their eleventy thousand year old hand-drawn blueprint of their venue.  Well thanks, Cast Lighting – DONE and DONE.

Adding the image file is cake – black forest cherry chocolate cake, mmm – and literally as easy as dropping the image in, measuring a line in the image, and telling WYG the length of that line.  Done.  I have to give thanks where thanks are due for this feature, because it saved me about two hours of trying to figure out an unscaled drawing.

A few pointers that I’ve noticed with this process:

  1. Your image needs to be no larger than 2048 x 2048 pixels.
  2. It’s best to crop to the outside edges of your walls before importing an image for the floorplan.  I mean that extra white space in your drawing should be cropped out –  when I dropped in a drawing that was about half of an E sized sheet, WYG wasn’t as happy with rescaling it as it was when I cropped the extra white space out.
  3. You need a bitmap (.BMP), jpeg (.JPG), gif (.GIF), png (.PNG), tiff (.TIFF), or targa (.TGA) image file to use the tool.

Okay, the first step is to click the FILE menu and choose to import floorplan:

wysiwyg

Once you click this option, you’re going to get a dialogue box asking you where that pesky image file of your floorplan lives – just a standard dialogue box.  Navigate to your image file and choose it.

wysiwyg

Once you’ve told WYSIWYG where that image file is hiding, it’s going to give you a brief description of what’s going to happen next.

wysiwyg

You’ll then see that image file.  This is a good example of cutting that extra white space out of the outsides of the image – anywhere on the outside edge of my venue’s walls has to go.  I left this one in here because…  well, because I forgot to take it out and took mine out later, but I thought this would be a good time to show that image with the white space and without.  Below is with the space:

wysiwyg

This is the image file without:

wysiwyg

Okay, back on track – once you drop the image in the drawing, you’ll need to zoom into the image and give WYSIWYG the gist of some lengths.  If, for example, you have a stage that is 40′-0″ wide, then you’ll move your crosshairs to point A and click (one side of the proscenium) and then at point B and click again (other side of the proscenium).  I had some hard measurements on my drawing, so I chose one.

wysiwyg

Once you’ve done the two clicks, WYSIWYG will say “hey drafter, how long’s that line, duder?  (or dudette, you know).  Enter in how long the distance is between your two clicks.

wysiwyg

VOILA – WYSIWYG has scaled that floorplan to the correct scale – which in WYG is 1:1 of course – you scale your paper after you’re finished drawing.  As you can see below, my 18′-2″ is 18′-2″!

wysiwyg

I hope this has been helpful – I have tons more to post!

R23 IS HERE!

wygsuitebanner

I just downloaded WYSIWYG R23 last week; I am now plugging my way through a few posts about the new features, but I can tell you that the new live viz tool is stunning.  Spectacular is another word that comes to mind.  They’re also knocking $800 off of the price of WYSIWYG Perform Unlimited, and WYSIWYG Design to Perform upgrade is $800 off list as well.  Times are tough, Gil and his people aren’t stupid.

New in R23:

Visualization (Shaded Views)

  • Improved Beam Footprints
  • Shadows
  • Hotspots
  • Video in Beams
  • Improved Smoke Controls
  • AVI Movie Creator

Lighting Design Tools

  • Footprint Focus
  • Fixture Point of View (POV)
  • Updates to Designer Tools
  • Ruler Tool

Security & Product Levels

  • AES Dongle Encryption
  • Dongle-less Background Render Manager
  • Dongle-less Console Viewer

Library

  • Sixty-five (65) new Fixtures
  • Two hundred seventy five (275) new Truss pieces
  • One hundred (100) new Gobos

Cast has a ton of screenshots for the new release – check them out here.  Also, go to Cast’s WYSIWYG page to get more info on getting R23.

Weekly WYSIWYG: The Concepts Function

When using the design functions or even just drafting in WYSIWYG, and whether or not I am hooked up to a console (which is usually the case), the Concepts function is one of the most powerful organization tools in the WYSIWYG software.  As simple of an item as the Concepts function is, it is something that saves me a lot of time when needing to edit multiple fixtures within a system or in the rig as a whole.

To put it simply, the Concepts function is just like using a console’s Groups function.  It allows you to select multiple fixtures in your rig for editing.

The concepts tool is located with the other shortcuts in the bottom left of your WYSIWYG window:

When you click the tool, you are given the space to work with – you can create a new concept by selecting the fixtures you want in a group in your rig, right clicking on the Concepts space and choosing “New Concept.”  You are given the choice to rename the concept, and I add as many concepts as I can think of, just like breaking up my rig to program.  If I could potentially foresee using a certain group of fixtures at a time, I add a concept to shorten my time.

For example, here’s the concept tool for a rig I’m working on:

I divide it up into as many possibilities as I can think of – this makes editing the rig very fast.  Let’s say I want to change the fixture type for a certain system of fixtures in the rig, or maybe just add an accessory, or any other small or large edit.  If I take a few moments to set up my concepts as I go, I save myself TONS of time during editing – I don’t have to individually select each fixture for editing, I just choose the associated concept.

I hope this helps – it’s a simple tool, but such a timesaver.