SGM’S Blinding Success at Eurovision

SGM equipped Malmö Arena’s main stage with 52 X-5 white LED strobes and 82 SixPack LED blinders for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC 2013), further consolidating the company’s status as a preferred industry technology supplier, with its innovative LED solutions.

Although SGM fixtures were also used throughout the EuroVillage, it was in the main action of the contest itself that these unique FX really worked their magic, adding genuine dynamic for lighting designer, Fredrik Jönsson. Along with ESC’s experienced technical director, Ola Melzig (working on his 11th Eurovision), he had first seen the impact of these ground-breaking LED solutions on the SGM stand at the PLASA Show in London and later at LDI 2012 in Las Vegas, and sensed immediately how they might be incorporated.

According to Melzig, “We fell head over heels in love with them and knew this was something we had to have.”


Jönsson first evaluated the X-5 strobes during an X-Factor broadcast he had been involved with back in November 2012. “We rigged a few of them next to other strobes I had in the rig — and almost blew people off the stage!
Another interesting feature we discovered at the test, was the fact that you can actually tweak the strobe frequency to 25 frames — and that makes the actual strobe invisible to the camera, but you still see the ‘glow’ of it on screen … a very unexpected feature which we played around with.”

The SixPacks had gone into Malmö untested, he confirmed. “But seeing them on the SGM booth and at SGM’s studio in Denmark convinced me that I had to use them. The ability to emulate different dimmer curves to the LED’s makes them a very versatile tool, providing a lot of features in one unit.”

When it came to the event, the SixPacks were used mainly as eye candy and blinders. “They are very good at both those things since they can emulate the feel of an ordinary 8-light blinder — with a lot of chase effects — and as high color strobe and stab effects,” he appraised.

The SixPacks were positioned in three ‘ribs’ of trussing, folding the set from the back and out to the sides. The X-5’s were positioned in trusses overhead and behind a projection screen that could open up in four ‘slots’, concealing a battery of strobe effects.


He admits the power of the X-5’s had surprised him. “We had put in so many strobe cues during programming that when we arrived on site we had to remove some — since they turned out to be so powerful that we lost contrast on stage when we went ‘all in’ with them!”

The SixPacks had also played a valuable role, in particular helping Fredrik Jönsson create individual scenography for each of the contestants — including eventual winner, Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest.

Each individual set had been created by the LD after consulting with the delegations, and then providing his own interpretations of the songs. Measured in lighting cues (and taking into account the two semi-finals), there was something like 1700 cues stored on the GrandMA2 lighting desk.

In addition to providing stage lighting for the Malmö Arena, the company also equipped ESC’s EuroVillage with a vast selection of mission critical LED solutions including 40 x Giotto 400 and 40 P-5 RGB (with 43 lens for environmental lighting in the Trispan tent), along with 6 x 15-metre sets of LB-100 LED Balls (including drivers). They provided 18 further Giotto 400’s, 12 x P-5 TW (with tunable white) and 36 x SP-6 (Six Packs) for the Trispan tent’s stage — and yet more P5’s providing peripheral lighting in the restaurant tent and externally overlooking the city of Malmö — where they were reinforced by some of the Giottos.

Overall, the event provided a further ringing endorsement of SGM’s advanced technology during a month that also saw them heavily represented on the world stage with three of the year’s biggest tours — Pink, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.

[Photos: SixPacks in action in Malmö. Pic credit: Louise Stickland]


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