Clay Paky at the Eurovision Song Contest

Thursday, 7 June 2012
Clay Paky at the Eurovision Song ContestLighting designer Jerry Appelt specified a spectacular arsenal of lighting for the new arena (photo courtesy M&M Production Mgmt)
Azerbaijan - The Eurovision Song Contest recently completed its 57th year, held at The Baku Crystal Hall in Azerbaijan, a new multi-purpose indoor arena with a capacity of 23.000 spectators. The Baku Crystal Hall was commissioned by the City of Baku specifically for this event and construction was completed in a mere eight months.

Baku hosted 42 participating countries spanning three live broadcasts - two Semi-finals on 22 and 24 May and the finals on 26 May. The 2012 Finals had a live viewing audience of 23,000 plus an estimated 125m television and internet viewers worldwide, making it one of the largest music television programmes in the world.

Lighting designer Jerry Appelt specified a spectacular arsenal of lighting for the new arena. More than 1,400 moving lights (2.891 fixtures total) allowed the 42 contestants, plus an elaborate interval act and opening performance, to have a special look during the seven-hour broadcasts.

The overall goal of the lighting design was to mimic and compliment the architectural design created by stage designer Florian Wieder. Of the 1,400-plus moving heads, 667 were Clay Paky. They were primarily used around and above the stage, outlining the stage elements and being the main focus in camera shots. "The stage design was much more angular than in the past and I wanted the lights to make these features stand out," said Appelt.

The angled truss positioned behind and above the stage, held 78 Clay Paky Alpha Wash 1500, 157 Alpha Beam 1500, 249 Alpha Spot HPE 1500, 47 Alpha Profile 1500, and 114 Sharpys. "The Sharpys were everywhere," said Appelt. In addition, 22 Shotlight Wash 1500 were in the ceiling "strictly used for effects". Lighting was overseen by Cape Cross technical manager Christian Hanno.

One lighting element new to the Eurovision stage this year was the Parasol KLR (Kinetic Light Ring) system, originally displayed on Clay Paky's stand during LDI 2011. The Parasol system, which hung directly over the stage, allows moving lights to move along a fixed path on a linear or curved truss. The system in Baku consisted of three concentric rings with circular motion, all lit with Alpha Beam 1500s, with their independent and simultaneous motion over the stage for a dynamic effect.

An interesting application of the Clay Paky fixtures came in the form of six Alpha Beam 1500s, which were used as follow spots for the back truss. The fixtures were modified to meet the requirements of follow spot operators, by adding a handle and removing the automated yoke. Appelt explained, "These were great for targeting and colour bumping. Maybe we created something new for Clay Paky."

Total control for all lighting and video came from eight grandMA2 full-size consoles, as well as five grandMA2 fader wings, triggered via timecode. 11 x MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) devices handled all traffic in one session on the MA-Net2. Lightpower, exclusive Clay Paky distributor in Germany, handled technical support for the MA system.

Cape Cross of Cologne, Germany provided all lighting and rigging for the show. Thomas Br├╝gge, managing director of Cape Cross said, "Clay Paky is a very popular brand for us. The fixtures are reliable and consistent."

(Jim Evans)

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