THE NETHERLANDS – Falk Rosenthal of Gravity content agency is an Emmy Award winner and BAFTA Award nominee for his video design work. He has worked on Eurovision Song Contests since 2011, and in 2017 won an Eyes & Ears of Europe Award for his content design for the mammoth music event.
In mid-March, about two months before the show, everyone presents their concept and present their songs on stage. Some of them have ideas for the screen content and how they want it to look and others say, “hey we trust you, make it look good.” Some ask to build their own stuff but others need help because most countries are not used to set up for such a large-scale video screen or this technical setup. Most of the designs are done by us from a core idea of what it should look like that they give us. They confirm how the overall feeling of the performance should be, and that’s where our work starts. The first half [of the time] is doing draft concepts, so in the first four or five weeks we try to get a video done for each country and that’s what we distribute to production and to the lighting design because they start programming the lighting and need an idea of which direction we are going. By the end of the process, each country gets [a full technical rehearsal] twice, 30 mins on stage for the first time and 20 minutes for the second time, so we can all see how it comes together and after that, we have notes to work on. By the final week, everyone was super happy.
The moving parts
You do everything you can do from a technical point of view, so each song is programmed on timecode and is full playback. We deliver videos at full length which means for the front of house guys it is just about pressing a button to start. It’s not like other shows where you have big video screens and high involvement of live video at the same time; here everything is programmed. The director is using Cue Pilot which means they have precise frame cuts and we are doing cuts for each shot that sync up. Malta is a good example, when you look carefully in different camera shots there are different videos running. In Ukraine the video is timecoded otherwise it wouldn’t be so precisely on the beat and you couldn’t get this kind of immersive experience.
FR: There is the [170′ x 40′] main screen, the floor is a video screen, and there is a transparent runway screen which comes down for some performances which are on the B stage, which is out in front of the main stage. The B stage has a video floor, too. So we are providing content for four big screens. The runway screen comes down from the ceiling and it is transparent, you don’t see it unless you need to. Some performances, like Croatia, used this for nearly a complete song as an alternative to the main stage and it made it more diverse in terms of looks. I think that’s the best thing about Eurovision this year because in past years it was just one stage, this year we have two places for performance.
Augmented Reality during Eurovision, The Power of Water was a combination of AR, lighting, and lasers that made the stadium appear to be underwater.
- Core program Unreal Engine for rendering/control/tracking
- Fully redundant OB truck setup (NEP UHD 1 & 2)
- NEP MusicOne truck for Dolby Atmos
NEP Datacenter container:
- TOC set up
- EBU Switch set up
- 24 cameras (5 RF cameras including 2 steady cams)
- 3 Augmented reality-enabled cameras:
- Technocrane 50 (mechanical tracking)
- Monorail in the ceiling (optical tracking)
- Speedcam (optical tracking)
- Fully redundant NEP Surreal AR Render Engine setup
- 130 video signals
- 140 intercom panels and 60 boleros
- 60 EVS channels
- Incoming connections out of 40 countries
- 27 TB storage and 1 edit station post-production setup, 1 media management set main show and 4 laptops and 64 TB storage for online
- For NPO Mediahub programs 3 x edit sets, 1 media management set and 38 TB storage
- CuePilot: 40 iPads and 10 iPods with CueApp
- 3 CuePilot servers (2x in main OB, 1x in backup OB)
- OB Truck for the press conferences with 4 cameras and over 30 mic input
- OB Truck for the public broadcaster media hub with the following tv shows: De Vooravond / Op1 / Goedemorgen Nederland / Eurovision de Voorbeschouwing
- 508 m2 LED-wall (ROE BQ4 on MVR processing platform) with 360 degrees spin possibility centre panels
- 127 m2 LED-floor and 27 m2 led floor (ROE BQ4)
- 110 m2 runaway transparent LED-screen (ROE Vanish8)
- Additional technique: HF network (5 simultaneous signals) with more than 100 LCD-screens
- 8 LED screens in the main hall
- Preparation time 12 months
- In-venue rehearsal time 4 weeks
- 6 x 3,5 hour rehearsal shows / 3 x 3,5 hour live shows
- 39 participating countries
- At the peak a 120 people NEP Crew, including crew (quarantine and operators) from Sweden
- 183m viewers linear and 50 m online