Parasol Advanced Systems of Vancouver, BC, Canada, was literally the center of attention at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, held at the 23,000-seat Baku Crystal Hall in Azerbaijan. The show consisted of three live broadcasts - Semi-finals 1 and 2 on May 22nd and 24th and the Finals on May 26th.
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures in recent years between 100 million and 600 million internationally.
In addition to the show's diverse range of music and huge fan following, Eurovision has become the event to watch when it comes to stage technology. Each year the crew behind the lighting, staging, video and sound is known to push the envelope with their use of new products and unique ways of using them to create amazing effects.
Amongst a stage and ceiling filled with hundreds of lighting fixtures, the ParasolTM KLRTM (Kinetic Light Ring) system stood out as the centrepiece over the stage. The Parasol KLR system allows moving lights to move along a circular truss in any configuration at up to 60 inches per second. Stopping, starting, reversing, accelerating and moving to an operator-specified position are all controllable features, providing entirely new ways of creating art and spectacle with moving lights.
The system in Baku included three concentric rings - two of which were the KLR rings - all lit with Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500s. The inner KLR ring was 10 feet in diameter with 10 Alpha Beam 1500s and the second KLR ring was 16 feet diameter with 16 Alpha Beam 1500s. A third 30-foot diameter static ring comprised the outer circle. The rings were rigged with moving hoists allowing them to separate and lower. The KLR rings' independent and simultaneous motion over the stage added a new dimension, with a highly compelling, visual and dynamic effect.
Parasol Technician John Johnson was on hand in Baku to oversee the setup and operation of the Parasol system. The movement of the KLR rings was controlled via Ethernet by Johnson from Parasol laptop controllers, while the control of the actual fixtures was handled by the lighting team on grandMA2 via wireless DMX.
The KLR truss was custom built by Xtreme Structures in Sulphur Springs, Texas and shipped to Baku. "The setup was very straightforward," said Johnson, "The arc segments bolted together easily and the electrical connections had been pre-arranged to comply with European standards."
Lighting Designer Jerry Appelt said of the system, "The Parasol system was totally unique and very nice. It was used in the interval act and looked spectacular. We got a very positive reaction to the effect. It was very reliable and the Parasol support was great."
Parasol CEO Hermann Fruhm said, "It was incredible to be part of Eurovision. It has a long history and huge audience and people are constantly looking to it to see what new technological tricks are up the sleeves of the team behind it."
Parasol was recently awarded the Live Design 2011-2012 Product of the Year Award in the rigging category for the Parasol ACS™ system which is designed for moving lights individually along a straight, curved, or closed-loop path defined by the designer. The winning products are chosen by panels of prestigious designers and programmers in the disciplines of lighting, sound, and projection. The awards were presented during a special ceremony in New York as part of the Live Design Broadway Master Classes.
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Photos: Ralph Larmann, Ralph@larmann.com
Parasol Advanced Lighting Systems, Suite 106 - 552A Clarke Road, Coquitlam B.C., Canada, (604) 937-7657.