Bandit Lites - Case Study
Spectacular Stage Lighting Rendered with nXtRender for AutoCad
In this case study we chat with Dizzy Gosnell of Bandit Lites. Dizzy started in the lighting business in England in the late 1970’s touring with dozens of bands such as Phil Collins, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Paul Simon, and Frankie goes to Hollywood. He is a long-time user of AutoCAD and our nXtRender for AutoCAD rendering plugin.
Hello Dizzy, tell us a little about you and the business.
The company I work for, Bandit Lites, is a full-service stage and concert lighting company. We provide lighting and rigging equipment for tours, concerts, festivals, TV shows and the like. We get designs from lighting and production designers mostly and then use our lights and rigging equipment to go out on tour along with the lighting crew we provide. I started with my own lighting company in England back in the 70’s doing lights for bands in clubs, pubs and small theaters. Most venues didn’t have any lights back then, so the bands had to rent their own lighting and sound to put on a show. I then joined a much larger lighting company and toured with much larger arena tours, sometimes crew chiefing or rigging, and other times designing and operating the shows.
I moved to Maryland in the US in 1985 and ran the US operation of the UK company there until 1993 when we sold it to my current employer, Bandit Lites. With Bandit I moved to Nashville helping to greatly expand the operation with custom buildings we designed, and later moved out to the North Bay in California to concentrate more on design, rendering, production planning and the like.
What sets the business apart from your others in your niche?
Bandit have always treated the pre-planning and preparation of tours and shows almost as a religion with the level of detail we go to before a show goes out. With shows now being more and more complicated technically, we have to hit the ground running on the first day of the tour. There is no chance for “we’ll get to that next week”. In this business, time and timing is absolutely everything.
When did you start using nXtRender for AutoCAD and why?
I’ve been using AutoCad for well over 30 years now and nXtRender for over 20 years since when it was AccuRender. I used to do 3D color renderings for many lighting designers’ proposals before 3D rendering software was more easily obtainable and usable. Most touring designers now use laptops, and it’s only been in the last 10-15 years or so that laptop power has enabled them to do renderings on the road on a tour bus; lugging around a powerful desktop was not an option. I started using nXtRender (previously AccuRender) in the late 90’s. We needed color rendering that wasn’t as intense as 3d Studio and the like and could work inside AutoCAD so I didn’t have to stop, export to 3d studio, try a render, realize I need to change something in the 3D model, go back to AutoCAD, etc. In the entertainment world response time is crucial, sometimes we only have days to get a proposal together or put forward a designer’s ideas to a client; nxtRender really fits the bill (see more of Dizzy's proposal renderings here https://sites.google.com/site/dizguys/proposals). The ability to work inside AutoCAD is really a plus for me and I can knock out renderings very quickly with the way I have it setup.
What elements do you pay most attention to when you render an image?
Setting the environment, backgrounds, be they 3D backgrounds like the seats behind the stage in an arena, theatre proscenium arches, or a sunset sky behind the stage for an outdoor festival.
I really like, and use a lot, the ‘apply decal’ feature along with being able to make one color on that graphic transparent for odd-shaped band logos, and using existing artwork makes renderings more realistic. The materials editor and creator is also very easy to use.
Band equipment can set the scale very well, drums keyboards, amps, etc., without having 3D mannequins. I got so many comments on 3D human figures I was using having the wrong hair length, “I wouldn’t ever wear that jacket” etc., that it was taking the focus away from what I was trying to get across.
Do you receive any feedback from your clients on your renderings?
One of the sad things about renderings for shows is that not many people actually see them, the designers, band/artist, their management and the potential lighting and scenic vendors, but yes, I do get good feedback from bands and their management. I like getting positive praise obviously, but the biggest kick I get is that the system in real life looks like it does on my screen. Mechanical accuracy is much more important for us at the stage we’re at in the system build process.
…and tell us anything else you think might be of interest.
Now that I’m getting closer to end of my time in lighting, not retiring, but I have more years behind me than in front of me, I’m spending my spare time drawing some of the shows I toured with in the 80’s that had no 3D drawings or renderings done at all, just a single paper plan view plot. I wanted to celebrate some of the enormous rigs for posterity. The Iron Maiden rigs got cracking reviews. Steve Harris, the original member and driving force behind Maiden, called me and said “bloody ‘ell Diz, they’re fantastic mate, do more”, so I did! I’ll be working more on the 1983 Piece of Mind rig on my evenings and weekends.
Awesome, Dizzy! We're grateful for your willingness to share your career story and impressive renderings with the Render Plus community.
Would you like us to profile one of your projects?
Whether you’re a rendering novice or a master, it’s always interesting to see what you’re rendering with any of our renderers (IRender nXt, IRender SU, ArielVision, nXtRender, AccuRender)! Email Render Plus Support Email and we’ll contact you.