Eurovision Song Contest 2021: audio – lights – rigging

1782 automated fixtures: Ayrton, Robe, Clay Paky, GLP

Control: 16 grandMA3 light, 30 Processing Units

Follow-Me 3D: 64 follow spot fixtures, PSN-motion integration

Robe RoboSpot follow spot system + Motion Cam

6 Capture stations: pre-prog lighting, content, broadcast

2653 Metres of trussing

506 electric chainhoists

220 tons of static load

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298 Speaker cabinets: L'Acoustics, Synco

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4 DiGiCo Quantum7T Consoles

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20 Shure Axient digital quad receivers

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4200M of speaker cables

May 25, 2021

Open up!

Duncan Laurence’s win in 2019 brought a lot of wheels in motion, which came to a sudden stop due to COVID. We will always remember how much our industry had to endure, and will always be proud of the way our industry dealt with the immense challenges. Eurovision was one of the events that marked a new beginning, some light at the end of the tunnel and was an honour to work on. Let’s hope that all our event colleagues all over the world can work on their passions as soon as possible. Keep safe!

May 24, 2021

A tribute to the graveyard shift

Daytime in Ahoy set the stage for delegations, directors, rehearsals, make-up and audience. When the night falls, our graveyard shift wakes up: during loadin, during rehearsal- and showdays and during loadout AHOY is their territory: Maintenance, repairs, checking network and hardware statuses, keeping all components in perfect condition and if needed working in the grid with cherrypickers. Our valuable vampires were also on the spot right after the award ceremony, clearing the stage and floor to make way for the grid to be lowered. As we speak AHOY will be almost empty, and our crew can almost relax and spend some time off..

Looks familiar? Yes, just like in early april, only now in reverse order..
Techdecks dismantled, our vampires are picking up speed!
Gear packed and ready to be picked up. Next stop: de-prepping in our warehouse.
May 23, 2021

What a journey..basta!

Congratulations to Italy, and a big thank you to all involved in this wonderful journey.

Our job is not done on saturday. The same amount of skill and dedication that went into the build will be shown during load-out.

 

Focused up to the last notes: audiocrew fixing the microphones for the winners.

That is not what we expected from our tape-artists, but still it looks colourful
Quick Load out tip: just cut all the safeties instead of unscrewing them. Time is money!
May 22, 2021

The amazing world of TV

The Eurovision Song Contest is primarily a TV show and the amount of technology used to get the show on your screen is amazing, a technology that we are also a part of. One of them is the way that cameras, lighting, video and motion are controlled by one system, resulting in spot-on timing and control. Photos: Nathan Reinds / Ralph Larmann

A little while ago we showed you the previsualisation and preprogramming room in Amsterdam. LD’s and Multicam Director used Capture 3D rendering making it possible to determine camerashots and visuals in advance.

All cues are fed into CuePilot, controlling all camerashots and content for each contestant resulting in almost 2 hours of programmed performances, 2280 vision cues executed, over 2000 media files shared.
With 50 contributors and 50 app-users monitoring the cues, The system can -besides camerashots- also control video, lighting and motion for complete control of the show. And it worked…

More TV-info via our colleagues at NEP-The Netherlands

May 21, 2021

Nerd alert part III: Audio specs

Besides the usual challenges in a competition with many different kinds of artists and 200 million viewers on TV, this year COVID forced the audioteam into extra measures that worked out flawlessly.

For all you audiogeeks and gearheads:  read the full audio gearlist here

 

The wireless distribution center where delegations receive and test their equipment
FOH and MON position under the balcony. Also hosting system drive and wireless receivers/transmitters.
Amps and power supplies on dedicated decks in various locations, hoisted up into the roof. Read the full audiospecs here!
May 20, 2021

Semifinal 2: in the pocket

Semifinal 2 was one to remember. Now let’s get some sleep and prepare for the finals on saturday…

 

May 19, 2021

Nerd alert part II: Lighting specs

Yesterday’s semifinal 1 finally showed the result of all the lighting we installed in Ahoy. Curious about the types and numbers?

Download the speclist here!

 

Lighting Designer Henk-Jan van Beek and his team at Light-H-Art specified a wide range of equipment.
Lights are placed in the grid, but also on the floor.

But it doesn’t stop there: the whole venue is turned into a stage! Read the full lighting speclist here 

May 18, 2021

Semifinal 1: check!

This is what we have been working on, and what we have been looking forward to. Semifinal 1 is done and dusted. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

May 18, 2021

Nerd alert: Rigging

For all you gearheads we counted all the rigging equipment we are using in AHOY during ESC. First in, last out; the rigging has the longest residency.

What hangs where? read all about it here! 

 

514 hoists and 74 Loadcell are in use. A few hours after load-in the floor was already filled with rigging cases.
The hoists are supporting 2653 M of trussing adding up to 220 tons of static load..
Consisting of audio, lights, video, augmented reality and lots of cabling..see the full list here!
May 17, 2021

Matchweek!

We have trained, practiced, prepared and cooperated. let the games begin.

 

Even under pressure you stick to the procedures. In this case: too late means buy cake. Thanks Joey!
Just a light training before the big matchweek keeps us sharp, but not overtrained.
Time to work on the details, like aiming. We think this one was out, but he might call in the video-ref.
May 17, 2021

 Calm before the storm

Final rehearsals for all artists and crew. We are ready for Matchweek.

There’s always a number one. Clear labeling helps in many ways!
The combination of video, lights and special fx creates a different feel for every performance.
Open up also counts for the faders! All delegations are seated right in front of the stage.
May 15, 2021

Interview with Head of Production

Erwin Rintjema, head of production, makes time for an interview for Dutch TV. Very nice of them to make time for the technical side of this production! (Interview is in Dutch, so grab your dictionaries)

May 13, 2021

A deskjob Jim, but not as we know it

Desks all around, and the specialists to operate them.

 

From behind the DiGiCo Quantum7 the overview on the venue is clear.
We always suspected that some engineers are also working as backing vocals, but we can’t prove it..
Ladies and gentlemen, from the lightdeck: we wish you a pleasant rehearsal!
May 12, 2021

People let your light shine!

To make sure that it will not be Waterloo, preparations have been meticulous. What’s another year when you don’t shine?

 

Fun fact: There is a special team that pushes an artist off stage when the performance takes too long.
24 cameras are in use, 20 in the main venue and 4 backstage. We won’t have to miss a thing!
All videocontent, motion, lighting and camera positions have been preprogrammed and previsualised. For more info:  Scroll down for the interview with LD and Cam director.
May 11, 2021

Testing 1, 2…

Did you know why soundguys only count to 2 ? At 3 they have to lift something.

Everybody entering the venue needs to be tested every 48 hrs, and especially for that we have these dedicated testing centers.
When you have big responsibilities, visiting people ‘on the floor’ is always a good idea. A heavy job, we wouldnt want to be in his shoes..
Delegation and crew entrances are separated, from here the artists enter the ‘delegation bubble’ .
May 10, 2021

Full Focus..again

Meanwhile in the followspot-room, our crew is concentrated on the rehearsals as well. The mix of Robe RoboSpot and follow-me systems gives the Lighting operators total flexibility in the keylight department.

Battlestations are occupied, the Robocops are on the job. After Lissabon in 2018 this is the second time we supply these systems to the Eurovison Song Contest.
Somewhere between a flight simulator and a racegame, and even room for your drinks and snacks. We like our classics but this looks far more comfortable than being tucked away somewhere in the roof with a 300 pound oven that we know as super-trouper.
Wim is one of our regulars on the job. Although he probably wouldnt mind handling a huge followspot, this also has its advantages. They even decorated his workspace!
May 10, 2021

Full Focus

Rehearsals are well on the way and showcrew is fully focused towards the semifinals and the finals. Let’s go!

Although we still enjoy our tape and sharpies, this looks very sophisticated!
Every changeover is planned and rehearsed in all details, from wireless to lights, from costumes to backline and props.
The audiodeck has everything under control: Redundant systems and very experienced crew make sure that we get the most out of the performances.
The showcrew is going through the show with a huge eye for detail. All performances have already been previsualized, now it’s time for the actual artists on the actual stage.
May 10, 2021

Load-in timelapse

Jorrit lousberg made this fabulous timelapse: from first chalk on the floor to a complete stage!

May 7, 2021

Ready for action

The stunning stage is set for continuous rehearsals. On our way to the liveshows!

This is the view as seen from the stage. Looks like the land of Shangri-La, beware of stage fright!
It won’t hurt to look up now and then, and see the amount of technology and equipment..
The stage seems to float in the arena. Just like hundreds of millions of viewers we can’t wait to see the end result on TV.
May 7, 2021

Follow them!

In the past heavy followspots had to be manually operated from somewhere back in the venue or hoisted up in the grid. During this production we make use of the newest followspot technology!

One of the systems we use is “Follow-Me” where operators can follow a performer on an overview camera shot. Like a fighterpilot locking on the target, in a peaceful way..
When pinpointed by the follow-me crosshair, the Lighting Designers can decide how many of the 64 fixtures connected to the Follow Me system will be used for which performer. They can do that in their own programming files.
Follow-Me can also communicate with the motion control system using ‘posi stage net’, allowing it to stay pinpointed on the performer while the fixture is moving (like this one, mounted on a droparm).
May 4, 2021

Ready for rehearsals

Each delegation gets the opportunity for rehearsals, to create a fair competition. This is also the time for detailing and finetuning camerashots, lighting, audio and video. Here are some stunning views of the stage, shot by Nathan Reinds.

An overview of the venue as seen from the FOH position. All delegations will be seated in the venue.
A close-up from the stage, designed by Florian Wieder. Part of the stunning LED – screen is transparent, so keep an eye during the show on the lighting coming from the back of the screen!
A view from the audience stands with lighting all around, on top and below of the audience. The whole venue will be ‘part of the show’.
May 3, 2021

It’s the people that do the job

Cooperation is key in a production like ESC. Working together with other suppliers gives the best result!

Thumbs up for Jerold, Dirk, Jasper & Joey: members of our riggingcrew consisting of Ampco Flashlight and Frontline professionals.
Take some time to have a look at your own work: Rob (Ampco Flashlight) and Ben (Faber Audiovisuals) can be proud of the work so far.
All technical suppliers also share part of the adjacent hall for storage and service.
May 2, 2021

Clay Paky Xtylos all around

One of the main moving lights specified by the Lighting Designers is the Clay paky Xtylos with its laser-like beam and precision. Not just for lighting the stage, but also as a very impressive audience and arena effect.

Around 480 pieces are in use (coming from our own stock and that of our partners), all around the venue, installed by our lighting techs.
When not in use the view is already impressive. We cannot wait to see the full effect!
Here is a sneak preview of what Xtylos can do, seen from the floor where the delegations will be seated.
Mounted all around the venue and stands the Xtylos plays a prominent part in the lighting design.
Inspected by HRH King Willem – Alexander these beams across the venue.

Xtylos being programmed for simultaneous action!

May 1, 2021

Preprogramming

While AHOY was being transformed into the ESC Arena, Lighting Designer Henk-Jan van Beek and First Multicam Director Marnix Kaart were preprogramming lighting, cameras, motion and video in Amsterdam. We interviewed them about the ins and outs.

april 30, 2021

Pass the mic!

There is more to wireless this year than distribution to the artist and frequency management: health and safety are top-priority in these COVID times. When entering Ampco Flashlight’s ‘wireless plaza’ a strict and very practical protocol is in place.

Every delegation has their own container in which all personal wireless systems are prepared:  headsets, earpieces and grilles for handhelds. These stay with the artists.
Inside the country-container every member of the group has their own small container. The russian doll – system! Every delegation is assisted by their own ’tour guide’ when entering the wireless zone.
With a maximum of 6 performers per country,  distribution positions are marked on the floor in order to receive the handset-base or beltpack. These are cleaned thoroughly inbetween performances.
Handheld bases, beltpacks and IEM receivers are categorised and prepared. Color coding is used for easy overview and distribution.
With the audioconsole we can do testing and soundchecks. The screen shows status information of all wireless systems, when there is a problem it will be recognised here in an early stage (instead of on the big stage..).
The same status info is also visible on a big screen in the audio controlroom where transmitters and receivers are placed. Antennae are positioned facing the stage.
april 29, 2021

The smallest fixture

 

Sometimes small is better!

As you can see we also supply small lights: LitraTorch for mounting on mobile cameras.
When Litra grows up it wants to be an audience blinder, but already it offers a big punch!
Including lightbox. Build-up was quick and so is the loadout..
april 28, 2021

Audio: everything under (redundant) control

Ready for rehearsals. On top of  the experience and knowledge of the crew all audiosystems have a high level of redundancy and safety.

photos: Nathan Reinds

The audio controlroom fatures 4 DiGiCo Quantum7T’s. Here you see the FOH main and backup consoles. If needed one push of a button switches the system seamlessly from main to backup.
The same goes for the monitorconsoles. Being this far from stage is not typical for a music show. By the way: you might recognize someone in this picture from the DiGiCo supportrooms on Lowlands or North Sea Jazz festival!
All wireless receivers are positioned here, including monitors and PFL for control. The same screen with all statuses is copied on the ground floor where wireless systems will be handed out to the artists.
april 28, 2021

A lot of lights

The lighting systems are split into multiple main departments. Among them are programming, controls, networking, power and followspots (more about those later!)

photos: Nathan Reinds

Overlooking the arena from the 2nd floor is the main control center, housing Networking and PU’s. All commands coming from the GrandMA consoles are processed here.
Literally behind the scenes: this is the backside of the main screen on stage. On the backside we mounted the Ayrton minipanels. We are sure you will see the effect!
One balcony below our network control center the Lighting Designers and operators have entered, having programmed in Amsterdam for over 2 weeks they can now see the results live in the venue.
april 26, 2021

Frequency watching

Now that all wireless racks are installed we can start finetuning on all accessories and frequencies. Also measured is any interference from outside the venue.

In our dedicated ‘soundcheckroom’ all artists can check their wireless systems before going on stage.