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Eurovision 2013 with CAST BlackTrax Wins Excellence in Live Design Award

Eurovision 2013 with CAST BlackTrax Wins Excellence in Live Design Award
Eurovision 2013 with CAST BlackTrax Wins Excellence in Live Design Award

Canada - BlackTrax, has announced that the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 has won an Excellence in Live Design Award in the category of Live for Broadcast, based on CAST’s nomination. Eurovision used the BlackTrax Solution to achieve stunning special effects during the live-to-air broadcasts. This is the seventh edition of the annual award, recognizing outstanding achievement in design for projects completed between January and December 2013. Categories include Architainment, Concerts, Corporate Events, Live For Broadcast, Theatre Production, Venues (Club or Lounge), and Venues (Theatre or Performance).

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. The show is the most-watched non-sporting event in the world, with television and internet viewing audience figures in recent years between 200 and 600 million internationally. In May of 2013, the contest was held at Malmö Arena in Malmö, Sweden.

In spite of being broadcast primarily in Europe, the show has gained popularity in the lighting, multimedia, and sound community worldwide, thanks to its boundary-pushing production values and the spread of social media, including technical director Ola Melzig’s own blog, The Eurovision Diary, which was attracting approximately 5 million hits per day during the 2013 production. Readers kept up with the daily progress of the build up and the details of the cutting edge technology being used for the show.

BlackTrax was specified to provide tracking for two major performances at the event. The first was the opening act of the semi final, 'Urban Orchestra'. During the performance, BlackTrax was used to track BMX riders and rollerbladers onstage, enabling multimedia effects to be projected on the floor/platform at their exact position, without any lag or drift of the effect from the performer. Dancers, meanwhile, performed in line with pre-programmed effects and therefore were required to be in exactly the right position at the right time in order for effects to coincide accurately. At times, not unexpectedly, this proved tricky to pull off, but once the BlackTrax Beacons were attached to the performers, they became trackable. The BTBeacons are small and unobtrusive so the performers had the freedom to move about without having to worry about cues and positioning.

BlackTrax was also used for the Interval act of the Finals, starring the winner of Eurovision 2012, Loreen. BlackTrax was used to track Loreen while 'flying' above the stage along with several other aerialist performers. To do this without BlackTrax would have required either 12 followspot operators or pre-cueing of automated lights.

Lighting designer Fredrik Jönsson said: “The only way of doing the flying effect with Loreen without BlackTrax would have been with extra followspots, which we could not have in that position since they would have been seen by the cameras. In addition, BlackTrax works seamlessly with WYSIWYG, which was our tool for previsualization. The combination was very powerful.”

The overall performance of BlackTrax in the demanding environment of the Eurovision arena was deemed to have been exceptional. Despite more than 70 Wi-Fi devices in the venue with an enormous level of RF noise, none of this interfered with BlackTrax.

Melzig praised the BlackTrax solution saying, “Thanks to BlackTrax, we were able to do things that no one has ever done before – it took the show to a new level. With over 1200 lighting fixtures and almost 30 of the largest, brightest video projectors in the world, we clearly don’t make equipment decisions casually. Given the size and complexity of Eurovision you can’t have any mistakes. The precise target information that BlackTrax provided was perfect for the acts it was used on.”

Bruce Freeman, chairman of CAST Group said: “We were thrilled to be part of such an exciting production and that BlackTrax was able to replace the risk of nonrepeatability with spontaneity, thus unleashing performers as well as creative design. And, as with Loreen flying sequence, BlackTrax makes it even more practical to save production costs by repurposing an automated light already in the rig into a followspot. We are equally as excited that the show is getting well-earned recognition in the form of this award. The competition for this award included a very talented pool of productions.”

Winners of the Excellence in Live Design Awards will be honoured during the Broadway Master Classes on held Saturday, May 31 at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre in New York.

photo: M & M Production Mgmt

19th May 2014

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