LASERs, Video and Lights
Creative Content & Design
By Jake Giles-Phillips
LASERs, Video and Lights

This year for WPC 2024 - the shows 20th Anniversary of their awards, and PYTCH's 6th consecutive year of running production for it - we wanted to go bigger and better than ever before with our visual content.

You can read more about the event here.

With such a big milestone at its heart, this show was destined for grandiose design, and everything from the stage to the table centres was integrated with the clients brand - and brought to life in the opening video sequence.

Four big rings were the prominent ident piece for WPC this year, and this theme was woven into every element of the show.

Stage & Set Lighting

The stage was designed with three large, circular steps leading up the centre - culminating at the top with a giant steel concentric ring set piece fabricated in-house here at PYTCH by our set department.

Both of these elements were wrapped in PixNet LED strip, meaning that every single pixel could be individually addressed and programmed - and as a result integrated into the opening video sequence.

- Custom fabricated concentric steel rings, fronted with frosted acrylic and backed with PixNet programmable LED tape.

This is not only a relatively simple technique to implement (Read more about PixNet here) but it immediately adds a new level of depth to your performance.

Opening video stings are notoriously a two-dimensional display, but with this technique you can extend lights and patterns from your video out towards the crowd.

- Wide stage shot showing the circular stage design, front-view of the custom rings and PixNet LED tape around the stage edge.

Table Centres

We love using our lighting fixtures from Astera, they make some really unique products that open so many doors for creative uses - one of those particular products is their AX3 Lightdrop range.

Designed in puck shape - not much bigger than a coffee mug - they are a wireless DMX controlled RGB lighting fixture with endless possibilities. We've used them before to light corridors, surround rooms for light-shows and this instance, as table centres.

We designed a shell to fit around the light fixture, and 3D-printed them in our studio - then we cut and carved the ring ident into sheets of acrylic using our CNC machine, to act as a diffusive centrepiece.

- Close up view of the custom 3D-Printed & CNC fabricated acrylic table-centres, illuminated by an Astera AX3 Lightdrop.


In order to timecode this PixNet lighting, we used a piece of software called MapMapper, allowing us to map out each section of LED strip onto a grid, and playback video over this mapping, illuminating the LED pixels with the same colour as the video pixel overlapping it.

This allowed us to design video pieces alongside our main video sting, and map them to the stage lighting seamlessly. Creating really impressive synchronised (or timecoded) light patterns.


We love using lasers, we think they're an incredibly powerful piece of kit. They have a reputation for being a "club" fixture, the sort of thing you'd see at techno rave - but we love using them for a variety of purposes as they can deliver such a wow moment for crowds at more corporate events that might not have ever seen something like this.

For this event, we used a really unique technique to integrate the laser with the video content.
By using the Pangolin Beyond software, we were able to custom program laser patterns, arrange them on a timeline, and timecode that to our video playback.

With the laser then pointed onto the screen, and mapped to its bounds, we are then able to create synchronous elements of laser and video playback you can create a stunning effect that almost looks as if the laser is coming from within the video itself.

- Video of the tech demo for the opening sting, showcasing the laser and LED screen interaction.


Main room lighting was the last step to bring this altogether - once the opening sting video was produced, it was handed to our Senior Lighting Designer - Dan for him to program the lights.

He does this by bringing the video into the timelining software on his Avolites Tiger Touch II desk, and programs different colours, patterns & motions for each lighting fixture on the show.

With this, he is able to to send the DMX data out of the desk and into an external laptop where we have the entire show pre-designed and mocked up in Capture, an events mockup and visualisation software. Allowing us to see a realtime example of how the lighting will look on the day.

- In-software screen recording (Capture) of the sequenced light-show test for the opening sting.

The Result

So now we have all these individual elements, and we're set for an opening that is completely immersive, showcasing some really good visual effects, and utilising many different bits of technology.

But how do we get it all to play together.

This is where we have to use various techniques in order to transmit all the information from one source to many outputs, and we build the opening sequence into QLab (a software specifically for structuring and playing back various media for events and shows) specifically for this purpose.

The videos for the various LED walls are easy, we just set our output device for these as the Barco E2 that's running the screen outputs.

The video files that play the sequences for the PixNet lighting are a little harder, we want to play back the video on MadMapper, but this is running on another laptop.
Fortunately for us, QLab allows us to send a video output over our network to this laptop where we can use it as a video input.

The lighting is running it's own timeline on the desk, so we set a timecode cue in QLab and send it to the lighting desk through midi.

We do the same for the laser software, sending this same timecode to another laptop through a midi interface.

Now all we need to do is hit play and watch the magic.

- Recording from the back of the room of the opening sting performance during the show.