Richard Gorrod is the “lighting gaffer” at the Eurovision Song Contest, which is the chief lighting technician. He is in charge of making design ideas of Al Gurdon technologically feasible. He talks about modern lighting technology, the characteristics of Clay Paky products and the performances you must not miss.
40 acts will be performing at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. How long does it take to prepare the lighting for such an event?
“The preparation of the lighting takes eight weeks in total. To put that in context, the Brit Awards take ten days. The reason is the large number of music acts. The challenge is to illuminate 40 different shows with one general lighting design. Another challenge are the rehearsals for the 40 acts, which take a lot of time. Therefore, the light shows are tested with software prior to the on-site rehearsals.”
Take us through the lighting design process.
“First Al Gurdon creates a general lighting design for the stage. This design has to be very versatile. When the design is ready, the concepts for the acts are run through with the lighting operators for each song. The final concepts are done 50/50 by the artists and/or Al Gurdon.”
To what extent is OSRAM’s subsidiary Clay Paky and its products involved in such global events?
“Clay Paky has become a standard in stage lighting within the last few years. A huge number of Clay Paky products are being used for the Eurovision Song Contest.”
What role does the “Sharpy” moving head from Clay Paky play here?
“The Sharpy changed everything. It produces the massive light beams that are all around in TV stage lighting these days.”
What are the main considerations in selecting the lighting products?
“The main challenge for stage lighting are budget restrictions. So the question is: what is the best you can get for the money? Fixtures have to be versatile and reliable. The Mythos from Clay Paky fits these requirements very well. It is the one of the first moving heads to combine beam light and spotlight in one fixture.”
Most of the lighting this year comes from Clay Paky. What is your opinion of Clay Paky products?
“They are just super reliable: You hang them up, they work. And they are not heavy and use little power.”
Have you noticed a significant drop in power consumption over the last years?
“Compared to previous events, power consumption has gone down tremendously. Thanks to highly efficient products like the ones from Clay Paky, for example the LED spotlights Bee-eye.”
So what should we look out for at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015?
“From what I saw at rehearsals, you can expect a lot of great light shows. My tip? Keep your eye on the acts from the Netherlands and Serbia.”