Ola Melzig, Head of Production for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019: “For the second year in a row, we’ve had a close cooperation with Ayrton (for Eurovision). Their fixtures are extremely reliable and innovative, and add fantastic – and very important – layers to the production.”
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019, globally one of the most widely-viewed entertainment extravaganzas, was hosted by Israel at the Expo Tel Aviv and boasted over 700 Ayrton fixtures in its massive lighting rig. The audience of nearly 8,000 was just a small reflection of the many millions around the world who tuned in, in a spirit of global unity, to watch and listen to 41 countries Dare to Dream they would be the winner.
Each entry had just three minutes to impress the international juries and audience, during which time each of the contestants needed to be presented with a totally different, yet spectacular look, all of which were created by set designer, Florian Wieder, and Tel Aviv-based lighting designers, Ronen Najar and Dakar Azulay.
Wieder, who has designed for Eurovision many times before, devised an iconic stage design based on triangles and the number 12 – important symbols for Israel – and incorporated many LED screens, triangle motifs on the floor and in the ceiling, moving lights, pyrotechnics and automation.
Najar and Azulay matched this with a large number and variety of lighting fixtures which allowed them to create enough unique looks to handle a show of this size and diversity. Key to their enormous and extremely adaptable design were over 700 fixtures from official Eurovision partner, Ayrton.
“Our main idea was to maintain the special stage design developed by Florian,” explains Najar. “We therefore chose to use a significant amount of Ayrton MagicBlades to create new geometric lines as a backdrop that enforced the triangular motif and allowed us to be innovative and create multi-dimensional art.”
330 MagicBlade-R and 206 MagicBlade-FX were rigged on ladders at regular intervals across the massive back wall and side walls, and interspersed with 100 Khamsin-TC profile fixtures. These were used to create a multitude of looks from subtle backdrops, to strong colourful visuals, and brilliant aerial effects. “There were more lights on the back wall than you would have on your average tour,” says Melzig, “and the power of the MagicBlades was truly a sight for sore eyes!”
“The MagicBlades took a major role in our lighting set,” continues Najar. “We used them for the dominant moments, as well as a background to support the LED screen. When you have 500 pretty identical fixtures on the back wall, you definitely can create exciting looks and mixtures! We had many big moments with the MagicBlades: one of the most significant being the opening number for the very first broadcast – the host nation’s song Toy by last year’s winner, Netta.”
Najar and Azulay also chose 46 Ayrton Ghibli profile fixtures to outline the downstage edges of both the main stage and the catwalk which looped out into the arena, from where they were used to create stunning, striking aerial effects.
44 Ayrton Bora-TC wash fixtures were chosen for the Green Room where they were used as the main key light fixtures for the delegations from each country. “The Bora units definitely met the expectations we had for them, providing us with great colour and brightness for our purposes,” says Najar. “All of the Ayrton fixtures provided an impressive range of colours and intensities that were perfect for broadcasting conditions.”
48 MagicDot-R units completed the inventory from Ayrton and were used for the Israeli entry, Home by Kobi Marimi, to give it a unique look.
In addition to the performance values of the Ayrton fixtures, the LED aspect also played an important factor in Najar and Azulay’s choice, both in terms of size and cost savings. “We took into consideration the venue’s weight limits, which were much smaller than that of Eurovision 2018, and preferred to use the smaller LED fixtures,” explains Ronen. “The fact that all the Ayrton fixtures are LED driven generated savings of over 100,000€ in diesel for the generators,” adds Melzig.
Ayrton fixtures have become a major part of the Eurovision experience over the last two years and proved themselves the ultimate in versatility, creativity and cost-effectiveness.
“I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to team up with this great company,” concludes Melzig, “and yet again pull something amazing out of the hat on the absolute highest level of performance within music entertainment.”
Lighting fun facts
2,500 lighting fixtures including those in the Green Room.
€100,000 saved in diesel by using LED powered lights.
11 lighting desks to run lighting.
120,000 control parameters.
250 active DMX universes.
24 days of pre-programming for the lighting designers and their four operators.
30 people to run lighting operations in show mode.
2,991 main power circuit breakers for lights.
80,024 meters of cable for lighting alone.
Lighting design by Ronen Najar and Dakar Azulay
Photo by © Ralph Larmann