Super Bowl LV show pre-visualized with Depence

In Conversation w/ Earlybird | Hello 2021: Americas

Depence² | Sensation ‘Monument of Light‘ | Teaser

US based design support firm Earlybird again relied on Depence, this time for the programming and pre-visualization of the 2021 Super Bowl LV halftime show back in February.

Earlybird kicked off their year by supporting a fully virtual performance (read about it here

). Their next kick off, so to speak, was for the 2021 Super Bowl LV halftime show. The US based design support firm was brought onboard by lighting designer Al Gurdon, and were responsible for the programming and visualization of the widely televised broadcast production. Again, Earlybird relied on the performance and design capabilities of our multimedia show design and visualization system Depence, which led to a stunning halftime show, featuring the musical talents of ‘The Weeknd’:

“Depence was necessary for this show due to the scope and scale of the project. There were many moving pieces, custom scenery, areas of high detail, and a visual fidelity that was required in order to present previz to other parties in the production. Depence let us work remotely, and informed important design changes and choices prior to arrival onsite.” – Earlybird, 2021

Earlybird was responsible for managing the coordination of control and circuiting of hundreds of scenic electrics. The set was fabricated by 3 separate vendors: TAIT Towers, Atomic Design and All Access, which created different parts of the stage scenery as well as custom built scenic elements. To bring their ideas to life, the teams have made extensive use of the Depence Asset builder, which was used to design over 50 custom fixtures such as LED neon tape, custom tungsten bulb arrays, light boxes, buildings, and more. All of these elements together helped to comprise a most professional and detailed working model, and subsequent pre-visualization of the final show.

“The ability to capture DMX, and export the programming before arriving onsite was a huge tool in helping the design team communicate their intentions visually. In addition to Depence’s ability to have a project of this size and still perform as well as it does, the most invaluable part of the program for this particular project was the Asset Builder.” – Earlybird, 2021

At first, the fixtures were prepared in Vectorworks, while models and texturing were prepared in Cinema4D. The easy-to-use import functions of Depence alongside the Asset Builder feature allowed the team to ultimately implement their files into the Depence 3D world. The lighting system as well as the RGB controllable stadium lighting system – which is already built in in house – were also added to the Depence project file. The previz programming was done at the Earlybird office in Burbank and onsite in Tampa using GrandMA2 consoles and 9 NPUs. With the help of Depence, preprogramming was comfortable, as changes could be made in real time according to decision making for the ongoing production phase. The team was able to test the impact and placement of additional fixtures even before dispatching changes to the onsite team, which was a huge help. The Depence project file was kept up to date throughout the preproduction phase as physical and patch changes came in through load in, and leading up to the first rehearsal.

Following the previz period in LA, presentation material in video form was rendered via Depence to send it to producers and the director to give them an idea of how the lighting programming would look at scale. This video then was incorporated into a larger creative previz video and was used to show the artist team the visual story of the show even before first rehearsals. Earlybird also imported the video content from screens producers Drew Findley and Dan Efros of DFP into the Depence model to play along on the timeline with the lighting programming. This was a huge help in understanding the relationship between lighting and video elements, which totaled 28 screens from 6 separate video sources (in Depence) in total.


Lighting Personnel

Designer: Al Gurdon

Lighting Directors: Jeff Nellis, Ben Green

Lighting Directors/Programmers: Eric Marchwinski, Mark Humphrey

Gaffer: Alen Sisul

Best Boys: John Cox, Dennis Sisul, Alejandro Flores

Best Boys: John Cox, Dennis Sisul, Alejandro Flores Best Boys / Lead Followspots: Jason Uchita, Adam Hagin, Mikey Smallman, Daisy Toledo

Chief Tech: Robb Minnotte

PRG Lead Techs: Meg Flanagan, Chris Nye

Previz Tech: Nick Coauette

Stadium Lighting Tech: Michael Dodge

The Weeknd Lighting Designer: Jason Baeri


Lighting Equipment

4x grandMA2 Fullsize

118x Robe Robin 1200 Wash

1x grandMA2 Light

50x GLP X4

9x grandMA2 NPU

18x Clay Paky Xytlos

8x PRG Bad Boy GC LT

112x Elation Proteus Maximus

2x PRG Best Boy HP GC

210x Martin RushPar2

64x PRG Best Boy HP

180x Martin Dotron

22x PRG Bad Boy HP Framing

200x Solaris Flare

152x PRG Icon Edge

704x ChromaBeams 900

55x Chauvet Nexus AW 7x7

420x Scenic RGB

6x VL600 Beam

369x Scenic Dimmers

64x Robe Spikie

In a massive team effort, US design support specialists Earlybird helped to realize the J Balvin New Year’s Eve Performance at the Hello 2021: Americas show on YouTube. They not only provided rendering support using Syncronorm’s show design & visualization software Depence, but also were responsible for the lighting programming of this stunning segment.

We are happy to have had the opportunity to speak to Nick Coauette and Mark Humphrey from the Earlybird team, who have directly worked on the pre-visualization of the project. The two of them not only have an immense amount of experience in the Depence software, but always aim to push boundaries of what is possible in live and virtual production:


Which benefits does Depence² offer for virtual events?

Nick: Depence² offers a unique solution to virtual events because it is the only previz program right now that offers such high graphic fidelity. When rendered out at the highest quality, it is difficult to discern virtual from true reality. This project was an excellent example on how the line between what is real and what is not can very easily be blurred in a positive way.

What does Depence², as a multimedia show design software, mean for the future of our industry?

Mark: Depence², as a whole, brings a new look and feel to the pre-viz process on a show. It's not just a tool to program and see what the lighting is going to look like before getting onsite. Now with Depence², you can envision the entire show from top to bottom before even seeing it in person and really get a sense for what the show will be. There are so many features that Depence² has like the volumetric editor, animation importer, video content mapping, and more that open up so many possibilities for the software that make it much more than just a previz tool.

Which features benefit your personal workflow most?

Nick: Even though it is not directly supported by, the Asset builder is one of the most versatile and useful tools within Depence². Oftentimes we have to visualize fixtures that cannot be found within the library or that are completely custom and having the ability to create them within a program made to do so is game changing. Creating fixtures to use was typically a cumbersome or impossible process but now with the Asset builder it is made both easy and intuitive.

Mark: The DMX Stream tool as a whole is a revolutionary function. Being able to record DMX and render out that DMX data is such an invaluable tool to have. Where Depence² shines as a product is with the water texture and reflections with that texture. The water texture brought so much more realism into the show. One final feature that is innovative is the chroma key feature. Having this feature allows for so much more possibilities with the software itself.

Was there automation? What was automated?

Nick: There were 4 uses of automation: the center stairs that raised up and down bringing in the artist, both rings were able to move up and down and rotate in all directions, and the plane with the green screen footage on it was made to rotate and always be facing the camera when it moved.

How was the project programmed?

Mark: The project was produced by the team at Blink Inc. with creative direction by The Squared Division, and production design by Chase Hall. Programming was done from the Earlybird previz studios in Burbank, CA using a GrandMA2 Full-Size console with 4 NPUs to unlock the extra parameters we were using. I programmed from our studio while communicating with Andre Petrus, who lives in Nashville, over video conference while we were also streaming the Depence² real time render window to a server so Andre and the rest of the creative team could watch and give notes.

How was the project output/rendered and delivered?

Mark: After we finalized all lighting/automation programming, video content, and camera placement we then recorded all DMX data using the DMX Stream function, lined up audio and content with lighting, and we were ready to go. We rendered each camera out on 3 of our in house previz computers, each fitted with a Titan 2080Ti graphics card. We had 6 full length cameras that we rendered out and then 7 pickup shots mixed in throughout the performance. In the end we delivered the frame sequences to Blink, who completed the final edit, and delivered the full length product to the end client.

How many fixtures were in the show? What types?


300 Mythos

550 JDC1

200 Flare

4 motors

What does the name Syncronorm mean to you?

Mark: The Syncronorm name, to me, means knowing that I am working in a stable piece of software that looks beautiful with great customer support behind it. The Syncronorm folks are open to new ideas that better the software and pushes it further than any previz software on the market now, as well as working with you to explain processes of how to achieve the show you are trying to build.

Nick: Syncronorm to me means innovation and a new future for previz. Never before have we seen the graphic fidelity that is displayed in Depence² in any other software and it truly opens up the door for many more possibilities in the previz process. Not only does the name Syncronorm mean a new future for previz, it also means community to me. The user-base for this program is so active and helpful and everyone is pushing the program to the limits to try and find new ways to achieve their goals. Syncronorm communicates and reaches out to their community often and makes me and other feel welcome and supported.


People involved in the project:

Creative Direction: The Squared Division
Producers: Blink
Production Design: Chase Hall
Lighting Direction: Andre Petrus
Lighting Programming: Mark Humphrey
Production Facilities in Medellín: 36Grados
Editing & Post Production: Blink
Visualization & Render Support: Earlybird

Drafting/Initial Depence modeling & build: Morgan Evans

Dutch event professionals T-Minus design are a widely oriented team of creative and technical specialists with over 15 years of experience, who have helped to bring back the legendary ‘Sensation’ alongside various partners in 2020. Sensation - ‘Monument of Light’ is a huge multimedia show & an epic comeback for this cult event, which was installed within the famous Johan Cruijff Arena, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The all-new Sensation ’Monument of Light’ is aimed to be a flag of hope and faith since the original plans for the show had to be canceled due to the ongoing virus situation. The show was realized without any kind of live crowd and created by the original Sensation team around creative director Sander Vermeulen of ID&T. The music was composed by Joshua Dutrieux & the show was created in a collaboration with T-Minus design, who were responsible for the lighting design and programming .It was broadcasted on the 4th of July (the original date for the event in Amsterdam) and can be re-watched here:

We at Syncronorm are very happy that we had the chance to contribute to this amazing project, as the show was pre-programmed & visualized with Depence². For this a 3D model of the arena itself was imported into Depence², after that 484 fixtures as well as the aesthetics shaping mannequins were placed virtually. The show in combination with the custom-made audio track was then programmed via ArtNET on a MA3 and NPU, all independent from location within the studio. The virtual camera of Depence² thereby allowed to simulate the drone shots, which were taken in the arena. In this way it was possible to take dramatic shots & to stage the mannequins in a perfect light.

“All was programmed in the studio. The set was built and recorded on one day, so accuracy was key. […] The visualisation gets really close to reality, what helps if there is limited load in time.” – Sander den Otter, T-Minus design

T-Minus design have used the Depence² Stage & Animate modules for the pre-programming process as well as the animation. Here, Depence² helped to create previews with perfectly synced audio.

For more information about T-Minus design, please visit:

Depence 2 | Rock in Rio demo by "von | Berg"

Depence² | A Conceptional Show Project

From Sketch to Visualization | TSE using Depence²

Under the name of “von | BERG“ a new promising joint venture, founded by German multimedia show designers Flo Erdmann & Dominik Doehler, is using Depence² to set new standards in pre-programming & visualization.

To make a statement within the scene, the two well experienced show designers took Syncronorm’s powerful & innovative show design software Depence² and created the “Rock in Rio Demo Project” showcase. “von | BERG“ are trying to deliver the most realistic images of what is technically possible. Specialized on multimedia show visualization, all customers are free to concentrate on their visions & ideas as ultimately can they rely on “von | BERG“’s know-how to create virtual worlds.

“Taking Depence² to its limits is hard work” – Flo Erdmann

Flo & Dominik decided to build an extraordinary showcase project, which is based on a virtual version of the famous Rock in Rio stage, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil.

"Rock in Rio" is a festival series which has enjoyed great popularity for years and is a constant in the worldwide festival scene. We used the unique stage as a test object to try out the limits of Depence2. One thing in advance: We did not reach them. The goal was to visualize a surrounding scenery and not just a stage show, as is so often the case. – von | Berg, 2020

This large-scale project is a demonstration of what can be achieved by using Depence². The project is versatile and of a most realistic character and was created without any compromises in thought. Flo & Dominik decided to focus on this particularly distinctive stage, because its look has a unique value of recognition. Furthermore, the two driven designers not only wanted to show the stage itself, but the whole festival area and to bring in as much detail to the design as possible.

These small details create a very close connection to the real thing. For example, characteristics such as the rotating Ferris wheel, illuminated stands, a moving/animated crowd and a dynamic camera cut are bringing in a huge level of realism. As for the DMX camera: “von | BERG“ are proud to have such a special feature now added to their portfolio of services. The light- and pyro-show were recorded at first simultaneously to the DMX camera, all via DMX stream. The 4K imagery was rendered afterwards. The show itself was created with the Stage, Animate & Special FX modules of Depence² & programmed on a GrandMA3.

“The type of texturing possibilities and the associated realistic display as well as the import of bone-animated characters raises preprogramming to a new level.”


For more information on “von | Berg” visit:


We at Syncronorm are pleased to present a multimedia show project, designed & programmed by young up and coming show designer Morgan Evans. His most recent conceptual show project has been visualized with the latest version of Depence².

Morgan studies Creative Lighting Control at Rose Bruford College in London and has been working with current developments in technology including working as an associate on projects with established lighting designers such as Tim Routledge in the UK. He also has worked as a lighting technician on a variety of live events such as the BRIT Awards, Capital Summertime Ball and the National Television Awards. We took the chance to speak with Morgan in detail on his work with Depence² and his brand-new fictional personal project, a conceptual show based on music act Dua Lipa, which inspired him:


Syncronorm: Morgan, what is your new show about?

In my latest design concept I wanted to push the advances in technology and my own design experience to see what results were possible. Therefore I decided to set this personal project in London’s Brixton Academy as a special one-off fan concert programmed to the music of Dua Lipa. The lighting and video design had to be realistic to both physical and financial constraints. I worked independently on this project over several months, starting with initial design ideas, then programming, creating content design and pre-vis rendering.

Syncronorm: What were your ideas & motives behind the show?

ME: My lighting and video designs were primarily influenced by the mood of the songs and their lyrics. I was keen to use moving truss, which formed the central core of my lighting design. The stage automation allowed for a huge variation of configurations, a greater amount of looks and provided more versatility out of the fixtures. It also gives much more depth to something that otherwise would be just static and the movement is used to create feeling in addition to the lighting. My goal was to use video content sparingly to create a bigger impact in the select songs that were video focused. I used a variety of lighting techniques such as video bitmaps and in-sync bumps to tie the design together.

Syncronorm: How did you handle the workflow?

ME: For me the workflow felt very natural coming from a background working with programs such as Adobe After Effects and Unreal Engine. I was able to get my project modelled and visualised in Depence2 very quickly. Importing VectorWorks files is seamless with MVR imports, fixtures are intelligently replaced and models are easily transferred and textured.

Syncronorm: What features of Depence² were especially helpful while programming your show?

ME: After seeing the functionality and quality of the renders produced by Depence², I knew it was the best tool for this project – reliable software capable of producing extremely high quality multimedia renders. With game engines and 3D video render engines becoming more and more powerful, software for the live events industry is an ideal application for this new technology. Depence² offers a high level of visualisation that capitalises on these exciting new advances. It has realistic fixtures and 4k photo-realistic video renders that make it far easier for a designer to demonstrate a concept to an artist or band. There is no need to compromise on quality for speed – textures, atmosphere and reflections can be rendered in real time. Camera animation helped add feeling and a variety of audience viewpoints. The realistic renders makes it much easier to watch and visualise how a design project might look in real life. Animated custom characters add another layer of realism to projects, along with a huge library of vehicles, special FX and textures.

Syncronorm: What differences have you noticed, working with Depence² in contrast to working with other show-design software?

ME: The timeline nature of Depence² is one of the main reasons it’s so powerful, allowing for a variety of media cues – whether these are produced internally or recorded from external sources – to be collated. The Art-Net stream recording is a great feature, allowing you to record in all your preprogramming and then scrub through your timeline after disconnecting your hardware.

If you’re interested in his work, feel free to visit: or contact:

International event producers TSE (Technical Solutions for Events) were using Depence², Syncronorm’s latest multimedia show design & visualization software tool to create a stunning pitch for a fresh & groundbreaking Thai EDM festival, which will happen under the motto “Shapes of Thailand”.

In cooperation with their partner company TSE Poland, TSE Qatar was founded in 2019 as an independent venture under the creative lead of Peter Heybutzki, who is deeply rooted within the show production & lighting industry for over 30 years. Heybutzki started to work on his vision of a vast and innovative EDM festival concept way back in 2018 & now relies on Depence² to let his ideas become reality.

As former user of Realizzer 3D, successful software-predecessor to Depence², Heybutzki was already used to the creation of 3D worlds, but now profits from Depence²’s new software rendering engine, which allows a drastically more realistic approach to the display of multimedia show elements such as lighting, laser, fire and even water. TSE also was in need of such variety as the EDM music genre itself offers intense live experiences with breathtaking shows all around the globe. To capture the energy & feeling of this music, all visuals were needed to fit on point. For this reason, all kinds of bright & colorful strobes as well as beams were used, also in combination with the excessive use of video wall content. While designing, the structure of Asian architecture was a main focus point for inspiration and can be found in many aspects of the final production design. With Asian temples & buildings as ideational concept, the center of the stage means to symbolize a crown, a ceremonial Thai headdress. C1 motors & fixtures are capable of moving this center piece of the stage in various ways, while the beams in between produce a kind of sun-like look, also displaying Asian imagery. On the center stage, beams, Atomics and 5x5 WW LED panels are circularly positioned around the DJ. To reduce potential build-up time the installation of décor was reduced to a minimum, furthermore two large screens are being one of the highlights of the project. Here two 12x20m screens are in use via rear projection. An octagon like structure is placed above the FOH, which is mounted with various lighting fixtures, while it is carrying different panels as well as Atomics. The suspension elements are hanging freely within the room and are separated in five main lines, which are equipped with beams, spots, washs as well as blinders. These elements are capable of being moved via C1 motors, too.

“The combination of different lights and video walls are a guarantee for sheer endless combinations and when I say endless, I mean it. […] Thanks to Syncronorm for this mighty software tool… […]” – Peter Heybutzki, TSE (2020)

The shapes & rigging plans of the project were created in VectorWorks prior to the initial arrangement of design elements. Via Depence²’s .MVR interface, importing the project file was quick and smooth. The project has a total of over 1000 fixtures & was connected to a secondary machine running Resolume (via NDI).

For more information on TSE visit:

Depence² | Andrea Berg MOSAIK-Live Arena Tour

With the famous German pop hit act Andrea Berg’s most recent MOSAIK-Live Arena Tour, evento PSC from Germany have realized a great set of multimedia live shows concerning show production & service.

The most recent MOSAIK-Live Arena Tour of the famous German hit-act Andrea Berg is a huge spectacle and fuses a massive set of multimedia shows including great deals of organization & logistics. With equally great performances and breathtaking show elements, a more than enthusiastic audience repeatedly is taken away by a most detailed & well-planned production, which was started way back in 2019. The show production thereby is realized by evento PSC from Germany, which already have been working on various indoor arena shows & events in the past, delivering a great result based on their vast experience within the multimedia show business. Syncronorm is happy to have had contributed to this enormous live event series by providing the newest version of our Depence² multimedia show design & real-time visualization software system. The show was designed & planned with Depence², while the sophisticated visualization was used to beforehand preview all the elements & different phases in the most realistic way, helping operators, designers & artists alike.

Syncronorm had the opportunity to speak with Gustavo Buss Cárdenas, who is responsible for the studio department at evento PSC. Together with his team, he helped to realize the different show segments of the tour by programming & visualizing them in Depence². The renderings not only helped to realize the artists vision, but also to monitor the production on location.

“Here, Depence² reaches a very high level of performance, stability & realism. […] The pre-programming and the resulting presentation for our customers are particularly to be pointed out.” – Gustavo Buss Cárdenas

evento is using Syncronorm’s Depence² visualization system alongside powerful hardware, e.g. light desks, and in combination with other 3D rendering software as Depence² supports a flawless integration into most workflows & systems. Set up in a specifically arranged studio environment, evento are producing most complex multimedia shows always being able to consider looks & presentation during every step of the production process. Depence² has become an integral component of the studio’s workflow.

“Pre-viz products seriously are forming a great proportion of the show production process, with a rising trend. They give us the opportunity to try out different styles & designs beforehand and to cost-effectively present these to our customers. […] Because of the neat workflow, long technical rehearsals and over-night programming on location are history.”