The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is considered to be one of the most spectacular and fascinating television events in the world, capable of evoking an endless spectrum of emotions against a scenographic background composed of the best technologies on the market.
These technologies are managed by professionals of the highest level, from every discipline. Production Manager for the contest was Ola Melzig, who selected only the best technology for the performances with support from Danish rental company, LiteCom.
Lighting for the 2019 edition was entrusted to Ronen Najar and Dakar Azulay; two Israeli lighting designers who were able to combine their respective skills in the live, musical and television fields to ensure that high level of quality expected from the contest. The decision was made, for yet another year, to choose the reliability and performance of Claypaky products.
The show’s lighting design was based upon a concept created by Florian Wieder, who wanted to create a scene recalling the Star of David – the symbol of the state of Israel.
Ronen Najar began: “There are a total of around 1600 fixtures for the main stage, alongside a further 200 for the green room. These fixtures are largely LED, a decision which prompted an in-depth study in order to provide balance with a choice of color temperature from 5000K to 5600K. This provides an output that is not too warm, tending slightly towards pink.”
Inside Expo Tel Aviv, the venue chosen for this year’s performances, a dedicated room was created for the pre- programming of the event. Here, lighting, video and broadcast crews spent a month simulating lighting and video, alongside camera movements to further optimise timing once inside the venue itself.
The 406 Claypaky fixtures (66 x Axcor 600, 152 x Sharpy Wash, 116 x Sharpy Plus and 72 x Unico) performed the lion’s share of the show’s lighting.
In particular, Sharpy Plus gave life to extraordinary spot-beam effects, working in combination with luminous triangles that covered the entire roof of the venue. “As far as the choice of fixtures is concerned, the main objective was to make the most of the triangular shapes on the roof” said Ronen Najar.
“We worked closely with the Claypaky staff to find the best solution and, many months before the event, went to the company’s Seriate headquarters in Italy to see the various projectors up close. Scenius Unico (watch), mainly used for the high and low backlight sections between screen and stage, was the product that impressed us the most.”
“Its complete feature set leads to extreme flexibility, making it the obvious choice to use within our design.”
“Among the most recent Claypaky innovations, we have chosen to use the Axcor Profile 600 (watch) and the Sharpy Plus (watch). These were both positioned inside and around the luminous triangles on the roof. Axcor 600s were also dedicated to lighting the sets of the various artists and, if necessary, for lighting the walkway that ran around the stage. Finally, Sharpy Washes were entirely dedicated to lighting the audience” concluded Ronen.
An extremely important aspect for any television production is maintaining a level of balanced light intensity across the whole location. “We were easily able to maintain the same level of intensity throughout the show, whilst maintaining a balance between keylight, backlight and the rest of the rig lights. This was, of course, achieved in unison with the video, effectively facilitating the work of the camera operators,” added Ronen Najar.
There was also great satisfaction from OSRAM, the Official Lighting Partner of the event, as well as amongst Claypaky staff, who once again wanted to support the show closely to welcome all the reflections and inputs of the professionals employed for the majestic event.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a very important platform, offering the possibility of providing further visibility to our brand in a country such as Israel – one hugely active in the entertainment market. Claypaky has an excellent distribution capacity in the country, with many contacts with leading lighting designers and rental companies,” said Massimo Bolandrina, Claypaky’s Sales Manager.
“Being here and following this event with a different role and through different eyes is extremely interesting, as it allows us to even better understand what a fixture can do and how complex and fascinating its uses can be. The result is a perfect mix of technology and creativity” commented Marcus Graser, designated CEO of Claypaky.
Next year’s ESC will see The Netherlands play host, marking the 65th edition of the international contest.
Images by Ralph Larmann