PRG were the official service suppliers for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The show, in its 62nd year, was held in Kiev’s International Exhibition Centre from May 9th-13th as Ukraine became host for the second time.
Salvador Sobral of Portugal won the annual event, which saw Florian Wieder, who has previously worked on projects including MTV Europe Music Awards, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent, designed this year's stage, with lighting design by Jerry Appelt, who also designed the lighting in 2011 and 2012. In cooperation with Litecom, PRG provided lighting, video, and rigging for the show.
Working in Kiev was Jerry’s third time working on a Eurovision event, having also designed the shows for Dusseldorf in 2011 and Baku in 2012, as well as other productions, such as the Commonwealth Games ceremonies for Delhi in 2010.
He lead a team in the front of house area and included individual operators for the main show lighting, audience lighting, key lights, spot calls and video content. The lighting and video control network is one of the largest ever uses of GrandMA consoles, with five active full size GrandMA2, three GrandMA Light, and a selection of additional faders and playback wings.
Speaking about the practicalities of the rigging design for the show, Head Rigger John Van Look said: “The Eurovision rig uses 735 rigging points, spread over the stage, green room and audience areas. This is a complex design and a very heavy rig, one of the heaviest I’ve ever worked on. Because we were dealing with incredibly high loads we were unable to use conventions steels, and bought in products normally used for shipping and heavy duty cranes. To maximise the load bearing capacity of our trusses, we used Prolyte D75T in places, this is capable of carrying exceptionally heavy loads and normally used for towers. The rigging load in took two weeks, with a team of 52 riggers working day and night shifts.”
Followspotting for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 was done exclusively with PRG GroundControl which made its European show debut, with four long throws accompanying 14 Bad Boy GroundControls. GLP's JDC1 LED hybrid stroboscopes were used on a production of this scale for the first time. Seventy-one million pixels, from a 680 m2 12mm pitch LED rear wall by ROE and 160 m2 LED floor, were covered by high-output Panasonic projectors.
In addition to the lighting technology supplied by PRG, a selection of LED screens and projectors were also used throughout the event. There were 56 high output projectors in use, which were used to map onto the stage surround, directly down onto the surface of the stage, onto two high transparency projection screens at the front of the stage, as well as various screens in and around the arena.
Pyrotechnics were also used in a number of performances; this includes 48 flame units, 50 firing positions and 6 Heavy Fog Outlets.
The show saw a huge amount of technical equipment used, including cables totalling 180 kilometers in length. 220 people were required to run the live broadcast, 1,816 lighting fixtures were used all in all consuming 854,000 watt. Alongside this there were 67,000 control channels, 5 main and 5 back up lighting desks used to run the show and 16 follow-spot operators.
Production manager Ola Melzig, became Head of Production for the Kiev show, which was his 13th Eurovision production. The video aspect of the Eurovision saw 1,000 sq.m of LED screens used, 12 media servers used to handle all video content, 56 high output Panasonic projectors and 2 high-end moving mirror systems.
This year’s event also involved 258 speakers with a total of 825 600watt output, 212 microphones so all singers could be heard across the auditorium, 152 In Ear Monitor systems and 13 sounds desks. Alongside this there was 735 rigging points, 3,262 meters of truss used, 212 tons of rigged gear in the roof and staging weighing 30 tons. There was a total of 8,000 work hours in pre-production and a total of 350 sq.m of performance area.
After the winner was announced the team of over 400, including around 100 technicians from PRG, commenced the load out. What took over a month to build was pulled out of the venue in seven days, and planning for Eurovision 2018 has already commenced.