Aussie ex-pat lighting designer programming globally impressive EDM sets

    Daniel Richardson an Aussie ex-pat who now calls London home, has a pretty incredible job. He’s one of the guys behind the scenes that makes magic happen on-stage. As a lighting designer, programmer and operator, he leverages wysiwyg software from CAST Software to designing and program spectacular lighting for international EDM festivals.

    The latest version of wysiwg is R38 and step one is to digital recreate the physical stage, building the LED panels where they’ll be positioned on stage. The ‘what you see is what you get’ makes this a click and drag experience, then you apply the video sequences that will play across those displays.

    The process is made to look simple in the demonstration video, but in reality, building the ridiculously complex set configurations that are now common place for DJs at large events, is a seriously complex undertaking.

    Richardson says,

    “I have been lighting designer for Storm since it began in 2013. Each year there’s a new brief based on the alien sci-fi theme. This year we worked with Dutch set designers, 250K, working together from the start of the project. In the early design phase Ipresent a preliminary wysiwyg plot to show where the lights, trusses, bars and other technology will be and to give my input on how this works with their set.”

    “Outdoor EDM festivals often have extravagant beautiful sets. My guiding principal when designing an EDM rig is to accentuate the set as much as provide an exciting and flexible rig. For the set, several years ago I began adding simple LED strips to highlight the contours and features, then layer with front light and the effect has grown from there. This allows for some very big bright looks or swop chases with highly contrasted outlines.”


    When your tools of the trade are software, having the capacity to rapidly develop ideas on the fly is incredibly important. When time is money, having software that allows you to build prototypes and production experiences and the ability to leverage custom library request for an ever changing list of lighting fixtures is mandatory at this point.

    At an EDM festival like Storm in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing (featuring David Guetta) most of the headliners bring their own lighting designers and Richardson can provide a wysiwyg file to all artists with the actual fixtures inside and all patched correctly gives them a massive head start on the project.

    China is exploding with EDM festivals right now, with more than 20,000 a day.

    For his next challenge, Richardson is applying his wysiwyg programming skills to a musical on an Arcadia cruise ship as well as Now or Never which runs 3 cities in 3 days around New Year’s Eve.

    Basically Richardson is one of those Aussie success stories you’ll never see on the front page of the newspaper or magazine, but at techAU, we know programmers are the new rockstars and will continue to follow his success into the future.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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