The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest will soon be upon us and one of the questions still being asked is how the stage and arena will look. At the weekend, Head of Show, Jan Lagermand Lundme revealed the first pictures of the stage design to budding fans and journalists at the Eurovision In Concert event in Amsterdam.
In addition to this, news about the acoustics and lighting has also been released, giving a much bigger picture of how things will look when the first artist rehearsals start on the 28th of April in Copenhagen.
The Eurovision stage to be diamond shaped!
”Diamond-shaped? No surprise, but it looks bloody exciting!”
That was the first reaction on Facebook after DR’s Head of Show, Jan Lagermand Lundme, revealed the first sneak peek of this year’s stage on Saturday.
This happened in Amsterdam, where 25 of this year’s participants came together for concert for Eurovision Song Contest fans. Here, mobile phone pictures of the stage were instantly spread on social media.
”We have tried to make it all work: the stage, the graphical expression and our slogan #JoinUs. If the first thing people say is that it resembles a diamond, then we have succeeded”, says a satisfied Head of Show.
The diamond shape is quite obviously in one of the pictures Jan Lagermand Lundme showed, depicting an open, angular stage bathed in blue and white lights – in spirit of the #JoinUs logo, which DR presented in the autumn. In the next picture the stage looks completely different and more closed.
”It is a good picture, showing that the stage can be both very open and more closed”, says the Head of Show.
How the stage may look during an artist performance. Photo: Twitter
”It is going to be able to do something, it will be quite magical. I can’t really say more”.
It isn’t just a coincidence that at a party for Eurovision fans, DR decided to show off the first pictures of the stage.
”The fans are a big part of this. Without them there would not be a Eurovision Song Contest. Unless we give them something, we cannot expect people to ’join’ us”, says Jan Lagermand Lundme, making reference to this year’s slogan.
And the reaction from the fans was exciting
”What we really want is to create a curiosity around the show in May. And they said, “wow” and applauded the stage, even though we only showed two quick pictures.
Stage rehearsals start on Thursday
At the B&W-Hallerne, the stage is nearing completion, says Lundme, who has already moved from his large office at DR Byen to a mobile hut on Refshaleøen.
”We have come very far. The Diamond is there, and now we are just missing some details”, he says.
”It will be finished on Thursday, when we will have the first technical rehearsals”.
Denmark’s biggest ever light show
In front of a small meeting room at DR’s headquarters, boxes of technical equipment are piled up. Inside strobe lighting is flashing almost hypnotically. Then, a red beam shoots round and soon the room is bathing in a blue glow.
Light designer Kasper Lange and his team are in process of programming the lighting show for next month’s Eurovision Song Contest.
”It is like a flight simulator, where we can program all the lighting in a virtual world”, he explains and points at the flat screen on the wall.
”We have drawn the decoration, hall and lighting up in 3D and we also have special visualisation program where we can turn on all the screens and lights in the hall”.
The bigger, the simpler it is
With 3,000 lights, and over 1,200 square metres of LED screens, DR’s lighting team are in the process of creating a production of enormous dimensions.
”This is by far the biggest lighting production ever in Denmark – and one of the biggest in the world. The thing that makes it so big is all the viewers. It is really a huge window. I get Goosebumps when I think about it, which I am trying not to do too often”, smiles Kasper Lange.
Precisely because everything is so big in the B&W-Hallerne, Lange looks upon his task as creating something of an individual expression.
”My theory is that the bigger the show is, the simpler this expression should be in order to make it work. There is so much information, so much going on, such varied artists on stage and it is easy to go over the top. So the trick here is to take it easy”, he believes.
Kasper Lange has been responsible for the lighting design at TV shows such as X Factor, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and many others. Since June, he has been on the team preparing for the Eurovision Song Contest, in close cooperation with stage designer Claus Zier and the rest of DR’s creative team.
Right now, Lange’s team are in full swing programming the lights for the 37 different songs.
”Some countries have s very specific idea for their show with the colours, pictures and graphics they want. Others just say: “It has to be blue” – and then they need to receive guidance from us”, he says.
The biggest challenge for Kasper Lange and his team is to create variety in the performances.
”The viewers should be able to tell the difference between the 37 songs. When you see the recap at the end of each show, you need to able to differentiate clearly between them all”, he explains.
”If we manage to make the shows exciting and fun as well as tasteful, then we have delivered it. Denmark is just the host this year, so it maybe another 10-15 years before we hold Eurovision again. So this is a unique opportunity to place our mark on it”.
FACTS – Denmark’s biggest lighting production
3000 lights – of which 730 are LED-lights
Over 2000 light-cues
Over 1200 m2 of LED screens
46 people are working in the lighting production
14 spotlights, manually operated from a height of 24 metres
A new Danish invention to sort out the acoustics in the B&W-Hallerne
A huge concrete hall and good sound rarely go hand in hand. Anyone who has been at a concert in a huge sports stadium knows that.
That is why Host City Copenhagen, the company responsible for Copenhagen’s hosting of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, has hired one of Denmark’s leading sound experts and is trying out new technology to ensure that the audience and TV-viewers get the best possible sound experience in the B&W-Hallerne in May.
”The challenge is that the hall is so big, and the bigger the space, the more the sound reverberates – i.e. the amount of time it takes for the sound to die out”, explains Eddy Bøgh Brixen who is a qualified sound technician at DR and has released several teaching books about acoustics, also having worked with the sound design at many Danish venues and concert halls.
A picture depicting how the acoustics will work. Photo: Niels Werner Adelman-Larsen (Flex Acoustics)
15,000 square metres to be covered with material
When the B&W-Hallerne on Refshaleøen stand empty, it takes 13.2 second for the sound die away. This needs to be brought down to around 3 seconds, explains Eddy Bøgh Brixen.
”There is a requirement to dampen the sound reverberation at all ends of the spectrum so we are bringing several different tools into use”, he says and continues:
”We are for example working with Molton (sound absorbing black material). One single layer will not help here as it is too thin. We are going to use three to four layers, and we need to cover 15,000 square metres. As such, 60,000 square metres of Molton is required!”
Plastic balloons to prevent bass “rattle”
A completely new Danish invention will also be used – the so-called AqFlex. It is a type of balloon made of plastic that can absorb the bass sound.
”My invention is directed towards the deep sounds and medium frequencies”, explains Niels Werner Adelman-Larsen, who has developed the “balloons”, which are being especially manufactured in Germany for the Eurovision Song Contest.
”The base increases to very high levels for pop music. If we do not overcome the tendency for the hall to trap the bass sound, then a single note can reverberate for a long time. Then the general sound will become muddied and boom”.
The last time Copenhagen hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2001, a large number of the audience at the Parken stadium experienced a low sound quality. This year, DR and the host city are taking a very different approach.
”It will be better than Parken, I can guarantee! This, despite B&W-Hallerne having worse acoustics”, says Eddy Bøgh Brixen.
”Unless the 10,000 members of the audience are having a party, then there is nothing to transmit on TV, and the artists performances are dependent on the audience. It is all connected, and it should all work. So, for the sake of everyone, it is important that the acoustics are good”.
The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 6th, 8th and 10th of May in Copenhagen, Denmark.