Award-winning lighting designer Al Gurdon made use of a predominantly Clay Paky rig for one of the world’s largest TV entertainment events recently, The Eurovision Song Contest 2015.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary with the theme ‘Building Bridges, Eurovision was sponsored by OSRAM and hosted at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.
UK based Gurdon, whose previous lighting triumphs include the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympic Games and the American Super Bowl, has now lit Eurovision three times. This time he chose 172 of the new Clay Paky Mythos, 48 X Sharpy Wash 330, 83 X A.leda B-EYE K20 and 74 Stormy fixtures to deliver a party atmosphere bursting with vibrant colour, varying shape and dimension.
All equipment was supplied by Production Resource Group (PRG), supplemented by Clay Paky's UK distributor Ambersphere, and supported by a team of specialist technicians led by lighting crew chief, Richard Gorrod.
Working alongside Eurovision’s creative director, Kurt Pongratz, Gurdon and his programmer Mike Owen delivered a sharp, beat perfect lighting design that complemented each act’s video content, which was conveyed via the floor, the backdrop screen of the stage and across the end lit array of aluminium pipes, which made up the eye-shaped set.
With almost 40 different nations taking part, each demanding its own defining look, Gurdon explains: “The challenge for us was to guarantee each nation’s song felt unique. At the same time we had to deliver a cohesive feel to the overall look of the broadcast. Because of this I wanted to ensure the backbone of my lighting rig was consistent.”
He adds: “Ultimately I chose the Mythos because it offered everything I was looking for. It performs just as well as a beam light as it does as a spotlight. The color mixing facility was also a crucial decider because it allows me to fine tune and colour match to all the other mediums being used on stage.”
Bringing additional visual depth to the lively stage and some stunning beam effects, Gurdon designed a matrix of Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20s. These were rigged in such a way as to evoke one giant B-EYE and the whole matrix could migrate from behind the main video backdrop to above the screen, offering a number of different effects and looks.
Further supporting the Mythos, Gurdon rigged numerous Sharpy Wash 330s towards the back of the set, and peppered his rig with a number of Stormy CCs, which delivered intense strobing and super bright swathes of colour across the back of the stage.
Every year some 180 million viewers watch the Eurovision Song Contest. This year Sweden was victorious, with its entry ‘Heroes’ by Måns Zelmerlöw.