Eurovision 2021 - Behind The Scenes

Updated: May 31

I will start this blog by saying I did not work on the show this year or any year. Just a fan. All the info below is available in various places in the public domain and all images have been credited where possible. @ThatPeterHayes on Twitter has also collated a lot of this and inspired me to compile it as a blog to make it easier for people to view.

He has done a cracking job.


UPDATED 24/5/21 With CuePilot info.

CAMERAS


NEP Netherlands are the supplier of cameras this year. They've brought 24 cameras; 20 for show, 4 for green room. Grass Valley LDX86n and C86n, all with Canon Lenses. Main 4 Cameras are using Canon DigiSuper UJ111's.


They all feed back into NEP UHD1 and NEP UHD2, the two broadcast trucks. UHD2 is the main truck, with UHD1 from NEP Sweden acting as the simultaneous backup. 130 signals going through the truck, which can stay live for 7 minutes on back up battery power (UPS).


4 x Pedestal centre cluster

2 x Pedestals camera left

1 x Pedestal on camera right

1 x Pedestal roaming round the stage front

1 x ceiling rail

2 x cranes

1 x double dolly

1 x single dolly

1 x 2D Cable

1 x 1D cable

2 x Steadicams

1 x fixed head

2 x shoulder


There were two Stedicam operators this year: Job Schotlze and Tom Antonsson. Job's is local to Rotterdam and Tom is from from Sweden. Both Steadicam's have Grass Valley LDX C86n's, Canon lenses, and LiveTools Fusion RX Wireless Video senders. The cameras use a BetzTools Wave 1 Horizon control system. The system is mounted on the head of the Steadicam and uses small motors to maintain the zero'd horizon line of the Camera, up to 25 degrees.

Tomas Antonsson - Steadicam Operator

Camera right's crane is a Moviebird 52, Opertec Active Head Milli, and Grass Valley LDX 86N. Camera left's crane is a Moviebird 52, provided by Oper-Tec with their Active Head Milli One 3-Axis Gyro head. Camera is a Grass Valley LDX 86n.


Elena Miloradova from Oper-Tec tells us about the Active Dolly in the Green Room, which is part of this year's AR Camera set.

Brand new this year is the Technocrane SuperTechno 50 plus, which came straight from Technocrane to Eurovision with Oper-Tec It's digitally controlled, and sends back its arm data: position, extension, head roll and yaw, to the AR system for tracking.


CuePilot is being used again at Eurovision. CuePilot automates camera switching, and sets the timecode output for lighting, pyro and automation. Here's what Finland's entry looks like.

Each Camera Operator has an iPad or an iPhone connected to the network and the Cuepilot Studio server, which automatically changes the acts and shows them the cues.

After publishing this blog CuePilot got in touch to provide some of their stats.


Almost three and a half hours worth of CuePilot programmed performances. Over 4000 vision cues executed in the CuePilot performances in the live shows Including all live shows and rehearsals an estimated 40,000 vision cues were executed!

Over 2000 media files, such as rehearsal clips and music tracks have been added to the CuePilot project and shared over the CuePilot Cloud Server. 60+ CueApp devices being cued live, keeping everyone from the camera operators to the stage hands in sync.


The performance with the most camera shots is Finland, with 100 vision cues being executed in 3 minutes, every shot averaging about 1.8 seconds!


LIGHTING


418 x Clay Paky Xytlos

180 x Ayrton Huracan-X

64 x Ayrton Kharif-LT

220 x Robe LEDBeam

150 x 396 Robe Spiider

40 x GLP JDC1

10 x Astera AX2 Bar


There are 16 GrandMA3 lighting desks being used for Eurovision, across 3 sessions: Session 1: Show Lights Session 2: LED (GreenHippo media servers), AR, CrowdLED, Delegation special lights Session 3: Key-Lights, Follow Spots, FollowMe, on-camera lights. It takes 32 GrandMA Processing Units to run the show, including the requirement for double redundancy.


Clay Paky Xytlos. First time a laser source light has been used for Eurovision, and there are 481 of them. A line across the back of stage, vertical line behind the LED wall, and 2 levels of rings around the arena.

Follow spots:

14 x RoboSpots in Multi Device mode: 12 control 1 WashBeam, 1 Follow-Spot LT and 1 Motioncam,2 control 1 FollowSpot and 1 Motion Cam


Robe's RoboSpot system means that no operators need to be up in the rigging.

64 of the fixtures are managed by the FollowMe system. 58 x Ayrton Huracan-X, mounted on drop arms above the stage, and 6 Robe BMFL WashBeam.


There are 1782 moving lights in Eurovision this year, lowest number in quite a while.


SOUND


4 x DiGiCo Quantum 7T desks manage all the audio this year, run from 4 x DiGiCo SD racks, 2 x DiGiCo SD Rack Mini, and 3 x Mac Minis for music playback.


40 x Shure ADx2FD handhelds

100 x DPA 4088 headsets

36 x d-Facto Heads

120 x DPA Grills (each artist gets their own)


20 x Shure Axient digital quad receivers manage all the audio going in and out of the DiGiCo Quantum7 desks for Microphones. Wireless frequencies are heavily controlled and policed within the venue. Anyone who isn't the host broadcaster can not run wireless Audio. Ampco, the audio supplier, monitor every frequency to find anyone using wireless RF that isn't approved.


Talent monitoring:

11 x Shure PSM1000 dual transmitters

70 x Shure P10R bodypack receivers

250 x SE425 IEM's.

To keep all the audio gear safe, each delegation had a Box. In that box was their IEM's, Headset, ear pieces and mic grills. These never leave the performer and are never shared. The mics and transceivers are managed by the audio team


STAGING


Here's how Greece's camera tricks work. Green screen, and lots of it, all brought on in seconds by the outstanding stage crew.

The rear LED wall is made up of ROE Black Quartz 4.6 panels. Canvas this year is split between the floor and the wall; 21,978,344px for the Wall and 15,391,000px for Floor, giving a total of 37,369,344px for LED content.


That central LED wall is a hefty array of ROE Vanish V8 panels. The matrix pattern allows for 60% transparency, but each panel outputs 2500 nits of brightness.

Augmented Reality is provided by NEP and Gravity; it took 18 months of work to put the content together and make it deployable for broadcast. Hundreds of tracking markers are around the arena; on the floor for the Green Room dolly, and in the truss for the Rail Cam.


The stage hands know where to put everything thanks to the LED floor, everything is marked out, from risers to mic positions to the exact spot where contestants need to stand.


Rigging - 2653m of truss, 514 x Lodestar chain hoists, 74 x Broadweight LoadCells for monitoring, all holding 220 tons of static load. Eurovision is the heaviest live show every put on in the Netherlands at an indoor event.


Including all the fiber for video, powerlock, DMX and every other cable you can find, there is 81.6KM of cable snaking its way round the Ahoy. Fiber alone takes up 8,250m. Network bandwidth across the entire venue is 160Gbit.




[Images via: Nathan Reinds, Ralph Larmann, Thomas Hanses, Andres Putting, Bas Thjissen, Bart ten Harkel, NOS/NPO/Avrotros, EBU, Oper-Tec, NEP Netherlands, Ampco Flashlight, FaberAV, Light h Art, CuePilot, Job Scholtze, Sander Mulkens]


#Eurovision #EurovisionBehindTheScenes #2021 #Ahoy #EBU #NEP #Broadcast #Technical #EurovisionSongContest