REVIEW: The Eurovision Song Contest 2013

Emmelie de Forest from Denmark scored 281 points for 'Only Teardrops'

With a 57-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s most-watched non-sporting event and this year was broadcast live into 44 countries – as far as Eurovision-mad Australia! 11,000 spectators had secured themselves tickets to the final, enjoying the exuberant party atmosphere and the powerful live sound in the Malmö Arena. The audience helped make the show – becoming an integral part of it when their LED bracelets turned the auditorium into a sea of little lights or lit up to create the national colours of the next artist to enter the stage.

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This year’s host city Malmö gave a warm and sunny welcome to Eurovision: ESC posters, banners, and T-shirts emblazoned with the butterfly logo and the “We are one” slogan were everywhere. Those not lucky enough to get a ticket for the shows or the rehearsals could visit an open-air stage in Malmö’s city centre, where the ESC artists fitted in live performances of their songs into their tight rehearsal schedule.

Exclusive Preview of the Technology Lined up for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with Clay Paky

The figures involved in the "final" of the international European contest are awesome, as always: 24 km of signal cable, 1283 lighting fixtures, 600 rigging points, 3500 metres of truss, 14 hippotizers, 40 km of power cable, 4 graphic designers, 2 lighting designers, 800 moving lights, 14 followspots, 12 GrandMa Light consoles, 24.500 control channels, 23 cameras, 2 video operators, 4 lighting operators, 200 tons rigged into the roof, 28 Barco HDQ40s, a 6 megawatt generator farm, 30 transport trucks, 210 speakers, 8 sound consoles, 4 weeks of virtual programming, 4 weeks of live programming and 6.878 hotel nights. The official list includes all kinds of lighting fixtures: 50 Alpha Beam 1500s, 50 Alpha Profile 1500s, 129 Alpha Spot HPE 1500s, 40 Alpha Spot QWO 800s, 58 Aleda K10 LED washlights, 49 Aleda K5s, 50 battery-powered Glow Up Strip 100 LED bars, 200 Sharpy "beams" and 75 brand new Sharpy Washes.

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Sennheiser Digital 9000 to Be Used at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö

To provide the specified 96-channel wireless microphone system, Sennheiser has worked closely together with the Berlin-based rental company MM Communications, which is experienced in the ESC and which owns a large contingent of Digital 9000 systems. The wireless monitoring systems from the 2000 series – a total of 40 transmitters and around 160 receivers – also come from Berlin, as well as another eight wireless systems that will be used for broadcasting from the press centre. Commenting on the Digital 9000 system, owner Markus Müller said: “The quality of the new Sennheiser systems is just incredible! Digital 9000 is linear in operation – the transmission quality is as good as in a wired system. As far as I know, the system is currently the only digital wireless solution worldwide that transmits audio signals without any sound losses.”

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Europe Has Voted: Emmelie de Forest from Denmark is the Winner of the 2013 ESC

The 20 year old scored 281 points for 'Only Teardrops', which was performed before exuberant fans who packed the Malmö Arena. She was closely followed by Azerbaijan with 234 points and Ukraine with 214 points. This year, viewers were able to vote via a dedicated app, made available for iOS and Android users. A further highlight is the app's second-screen functionality, which offered viewers live updates during the shows about the contestants, their songs, opening and interval acts, as well as the results. In addition, professional juries from each of those countries also have a 50 per cent state in the outcome. The professional juries each comprise six representatives.

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BlackTrax Makes Big Show Debut at ESC 2013

Working in conjunction with Martin Kuhn of Switzerland's Moodbox, CAST deployed BlackTrax for two major performances at the event – the opening act of the semi- final, 'Urban Orchestra', and the return to the Eurovision stage of 2012's winner, Loreen. Technical director Ola Melzig was unremitting in his praise of the system's performance, commenting: “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.”

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ESC 2013: MA Lighting Wins Top Points in Malmö

A total of 11 x grandMA2 light consoles were used for running lighting and video at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, staged at the Malmö Arena, Sweden. Four grandMA2 light consoles, plus four as backup, were controlling around 1,400 fixtures. The three video grandMA2 light, one as backup, were playing back content stored on 22 media servers via MA-Net2 feeding 28 x Barco HDQ-2K40 projectors. They had 94 million video pixels in the show and were running up to 16 video layers on the media servers. 4 x MA onPC command wing were used as well for technical support purposes. The 2013 event took production, presentation and visual imagination to new heights of style, ambition and excellence under the technical direction of Ola Melzig. This stunning visuality was created by a carefully crafted blend of Fredrik Jönsson’s lighting, Mikki Kunttu’s video and the set designed by Viktor Brattstrom and Frieda Arvidsson.

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ESC 2013 Unites Viewers Worldwide

More than 170 million viewers in 36 countries* tuned into the 58th Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden (14,16 & 18 May), which was won by Danish 20 year old Emmelie de Forest, with the song ‘Only Teardrops’.  In 24 of the 36 countries, more than a third of the population viewed the two Semi-Finals and the Final of the Contest; in eight of those countries, more than half the population tuned in, with interest peaking for Saturday night's Final. An average audience of 54.6 million watched the Final. The biggest increase was registered in the Netherlands, which reached the Final for the first time since 2004. More than 4.8 million viewers in the Netherlands saw singer-songwriter Anouk, who finished ninth – 3.7 million more than in 2012.

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ESC 2013 - What a Show! Artists Relied on Sennheiser Mics and In-Ears

Capturing the sounds and atmosphere of the Eurovision Song Contest on-stage and off is an impressive operation. The 58th edition used 96 microphone channels of Sennheiser’s top-of-the-range 9000 Series, plus 28 wireless monitoring channels of the 2000 IEM Series with a total of 160 bodypack receivers. 150 frequencies were coordinated for the microphone and monitoring requirements in Malmö Arena and the ESC press centre. Wired Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun microphones were used to capture the atmosphere in the auditorium and the Green Room, where artists and delegation members waited for the voting results. Oskar Johansson, Head of Sound, commented on the sound quality of the Digital 9000 microphone systems: “The RF quality is astonishing, not a glitch! The almost zero intermodulation makes it really easy to set up channel plans, just find a free frequency and use it! We had the best support from Jonas and his team and felt really safe with the whole set-up.”

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W-DMX™ Adds Glowing Effects to ESC 2013

A sea of kinetic sculptures were hung throughout the entire arena roof, resembling interior design lamps which would raise, lower and change color for the different performances. The sculptures were hung from custom winches designed by Tait Technologies with the majority hung over the audience and 14 placed directly over the main stage. 2 W-DMX BlackBox F-1 MKII units controlled 70 W-DMX Micro OEM Transceivers (with support of RDM), utilizing three channels for an RGB LED located inside the fixtures and two channels for their speed and position. Although independently controllable, the sculptures as a whole were designed in unity, creating wave effects or lowering at the same time to give an intimate feel to the arena. Control came via grandMA Light consoles. The W-DMX units come with the latest G4S software with Advance Adaptive Technology, making it ideal for a crowded wireless traffic spectrum. Lighting Designer Fredrik Jönsson, said: “W-DMX was really the only way to pull off this effect. The signal was solid and reliable and set up was clean and fast - something very important on a show this size.”

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Clay Paky Conquers the 2013 Eurovision Stage

For this year’s event, lighting designer Fredrik Jönsson wanted a powerful stage rig to surround the 220 square meter stage surface with which he could create a sufficient variety of visual moods and textures to underpin the tones of the musical performances. With the theme for this year’s show being “We Are One”, a key element was the ability to include the audience with whatever happened onstage, as part of the televised experience. To this end, Fredrik’s approach to the design was utilizing a ‘state of the art’ approach to the use of lighting technology, while abandoning LED walls and flooring elements used in past years. Instead, a massive video projection wall was created and the lighting rig, placed on fixed and movable trusses, took the main attention. Clay Paky fixtures made up the majority of the stage lighting and making a few “firsts” for some of the products. It is now the production using the most number of Sharpys in any show, using 200 and making the backbone of the rig.

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RTS at the ESC 2013 and Emmelie de Forest's Road to Victory

Due to the limited space under the rooftop of the Malmö Arena, the RTS RopeClimber was chosen as the ideal application for impressive camera tracking shots from above. Running on 80 meters of tracks mounted in a hanging position, the RopeClimber slided smoothly through the Arena with an amazing speed of 8 mtrs/s while also moving vertically 2 mtrs/s. RopeClimber was equipped with the Nettmann STAB-C Compact fully stabilized remote head including Broadcast camera. The specialized RopeClimber camera tracking system was developed by RTS Rail&Tracking Systems Winnweiler, Germany.

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