Robe lights Melodifestivalen 2020
Friday, 29 May 2020
robe-melodifestivalen-2020-mel2020-3The finale was staged at the 65,000-capacity Friends Arena in Stockholm (photo: Sofia Drevemo, Creative Technology)
Sweden - Since 1959, the Swedish Eurovision entry each year has been chosen via an annual televised talent competition, known since 1967 as the Melodifestivalen, organised by public broadcasters Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Radio (SR).
In 2002, the Melodifestivalen upped the ante further in terms of a selection event and started touring to six key cities around Sweden with a final in Stockholm, this year at the 65,000-capacity Friends Arena. The finale broadcast is among the most popular programmes on Swedish television.
Top Swedish LD Fredrik Jonsson of Eyebrow Designs has lit Melodifestivalen since 2002, capturing all the glamour, glitz and drama.
This year, he enlisted the help of 168 x Robe moving lights (upped to over 300 for the final show) including MegaPointes, Spiiders, LEDBeam 150s and six BMFL WashBeam follow spots running on four RoboSpot remote BaseStations.
Each year he imagines a new and original lighting design. Keeping the show looking fresh and relevant is one of the main challenges and a task he enjoys.
This year, the producers wanted a large open stage look to set the scene, so they could use more and bigger props for the songs to give each an individual look.
Set designer Viktor Brattström opted for a huge projection surface as the backdrop, which was divided into three sections – in a geometric horseshoe shape, with content fed by eight laser projectors.
So, the first starting point for lighting was to take this into consideration as the main visual element onstage in addition to lighting.
“The backdrop was grey / white with a strong linear texture, and rather moody and dark without projection, so I had to be careful with levels so not to kill or over-shine the projections,” he commented.
With the backdrop being so prominent, it could also become flat in close-ups shots with less depth-of-field for the cameras, so early on, he knew he needed lights in front that could move in and out providing more punch from the back when required, effectively adding a natural depth via lighting.
Hence several moving ladders rigged with MegaPointes. Out of a total of 10 ladders, four could move sideways on a Gerriets Cargo Track system, supplied by Creative Technology Northern Europe together with the lighting.
This trick enabled the ladders to slide in and appear in front of the SR / SL backdrop upstage. Each ladder was rigged with two Heavy Duty Runner blocks (rollers) as rigging points on the top pipe. These Runner Blocks were then attached to the Cargo Track beam, a set up that facilitated moving the ladders into view and choosing the best configuration for any song.
Surrounding each section of backdrop was a tower / ladder filled with MegaPointes (64 in the touring system) plus a bunch of strobes.
Approximately 5m downstage was another arch in the same horseshoe shape, also with towers and lights arranged similarly to create a mid-stage performance area.
Robe’s Spiider LED wash beams in the roof were the main wash fixtures, the first time Fredrik has used them in this way, which was a great success. “It’s a great fixture - love the zoom range, and the LED ‘flower’ effect is a nice bonus,” he stated.
For Melodifestivalen 2020, the 42 x LEDBeam 150s on the touring system were rigged in the roof in groups of four to simulate ACLs. “Yes - I am that old, and I still love those looks,” quips Fredrik, with the rest built into the set stairs to provide eye-candy, side light and more effects.
The BMFL WashBeams were they key lights, back lights and follow spots with a few extras rolled in when Fredrik needed to boost the sidelight. The intensity of two BMFL WashBeams was mapped in the disguise media server to sync perfectly with the video content during one song!
An additional 59 x BMFL WashBeams and 74 x BMFL Wash XFs joined the rig for the final broadcast, just to cover the audience and floor areas around the arena.
The lamp count was ramped up dramatically for the final, mainly due to the vastness of the Friends Arena (capped at 30,000 for this show), a soccer venue with a dizzily high trim height where fixtures at 28 m had to be able to cover the audience with some serious punch in all colours.
The show lighting was programmed and run on four grandMA consoles.
Joining Fredrik on the 2020 tour were a team including technical director Tobias Åberg, lighting operators Timo Kauristo and Robert Kelber, video operator Fredrik Stormby, lighting crew chief Peter “Angry” Andersson, additional lighting operator for the Friends Arena Grand Final Calle Brattberg. Melodifestivalen 2020 was won by The Mamas with Move.
(Jim Evans)

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