FIX8Group’s Neil Trenell (R) and Fraser Walker operated the video content for all 43 of this year’s competing acts. [Image © The Fifth Estate Ltd]
Visual production expert FIX8Group was part of the team operating the stunning video content for all 43 competing acts as well as pop megastar Justin Timberlake’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 (ESC 2016).The 61st edition themed ‘Come Together’ was held at Stockholm’s Globe arena and hosted by last year’s Swedish champion Måns Zelmerlöf alongside returning host Petra Mede.
It’s reported more than 200 million viewers around the world tuned in to watch the grand final. This total included the USA, where the show was broadcast for the first time in history.
Managing director Neil Trenell led the FIX8Group team, working with Eurovision 2016 content designer Mikki Kunttu and lighting designer Fredrik Jönsson to create a cohesive, broadcast-ready visual picture.
“This was an incredibly large-scale project,” explains Trenell. “We had around nine terabytes of content, and seven and a half thousand files. Each output required seven different media maps to get a single image on the screens.”
The carefully crafted video content was displayed across the stage’s 900 metres of LED screen, which included the super high resolution floor of 71 million pixels.
The FIX8Group team also worked closely with the show’s camera operators to ensure that the visuals looked perfect in every scripted shot.
“We were constantly looking at the footage, even before it went to the viewing rooms for feedback,” continues Trenell. “This allowed us to make sure there were no camera shots with dark holes in the background.”
The creative process saw several versions of video content for each delegation, with Cyprus having as many as ten. Trenell and his team also had to accommodate a constant stream of revisions, up until the day of the grand final.
The timecoded visuals were powered to the screens using Green Hippo Hippotizer-V4 servers controlled by MA Lighting GrandMA2 consoles. The kit was supplied by ESC 2016 official technical supplier [LITE]COM.
“The Hippotizer-V4 worked really well – the engine is very stable,” continues Trenell. “The ‘Zookeeper’ feature proved incredibly useful and Green Hippo also added coloured boxes to it at our request. This allowed us to keep track of the adjustments and manage our media a lot more effectively.”
Ola Melzig, technical director of Eurovision 2016, comments, “The FIX8Group team are incredibly good at what they do and know how to get the maximum effect out of the Hippotizer. If you give Neil the simplest video clip he will turn it into million-dollar content, just with his MA2. He does a lot of effects on the fly and brought the whole thing to life.”
The Eurovision 2016 grand final took place on Saturday 14th of May. The Ukraine came out on top, with their entry from singer Jamala.