The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 took place from 17 – 25 June for the first time in Germany under the motto ‘Unbeatable together’. Around 7,000 athletes from 190 countries were competing in 26 sports at the world’s largest inclusive sports event.
The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games, which takes place every four years, contributes significantly to the public perception of the event and its inclusive mission. Numerous broadcasters took part in the TV broadcast of the opening. Against the backdrop of the legendary Olympic Stadium, a 360° light show was required that would require numerous camera angles and the use of a Spidercam.
The phase7 performing.arts collective, under the artistic direction of Sven Soeren Beyer, was responsible for the creative concept of the opening ceremony, as well as planning and implementation, in cooperation with the mediapool event company on behalf of LOC.
The central stage consisted of two concentric circles separated by water and linked by a bridge. Two curved footbridges were situated left and right of the stage. The entire stage, including rondelles and bridges, was lined with impression X5 IP Bars which, thanks to their motorised tilt, were either beamed into the audience, illuminated the bridge itself or served as an uplight for actors on stage.
As lighting designer and light setting cameraman (on behalf of phase7 performing.arts), Flo Erdmann was responsible for stage lighting the opening ceremony in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. More than 300 GLP moving lights, including over 100 each of the impression X5 and impression X5 IP Bar – some supplied directly by GLP as part of a sponsorship – supported the event. The technical service provider was POOLgroup GmbH.
For the opening ceremony, Flo Erdmann specified a total of 120 GLP impression X5 washlights, 138 impression X5 IP Bars and 80 HIGHLANDER washes. Without a stage rig, only the fixtures in the stadium itself could be adjusted.
“The requirement at this point was clearly to use IP-certified LED bars,” states Flo Erdmann. It was his first use of the new weatherproof batten from GLP’s impression X5 series and one of the first large-scale uses in Germany.
The 120 impression X5 Washlights were installed at constant intervals around the railings behind the first upper tier, from where they served as spots and backlight for the audience.
“The output and colour mixing of both X5 models was simply excellent – both in the white light range and in the colours,” praises the designer. “Word has now got around. We were able to use two models from the X5 series for the first time at the Special Olympics World Games, which of course was extremely practical because no significant adjustments were required and, for example, presets are common to all GLP fixtures.”
Last but not least, the high availability on the market also played a role in his choice of lights, he adds: “Right from the start, the X5 series was very well received in the market, including dry hire – so I was confident that I would be able to procure a larger quantity.”
Erdmann generally favours GLP products in his designs: “There are many reasons to like GLP. On the one hand, they keep bringing really innovative devices with a long service life onto the market. From a sustainability point of view, this is important to me. In addition, all GLP fixtures are extremely reliable. With around 300 moving lights, we didn’t have a single failure or other problems. GLP produces real workhorses that you can rely on. Communication is also excellent. The team is always available when I need support. Thanks to GLP for partially sponsoring the lamps, which enabled us to give athletes a strong, glamorous performance at the Special Olympics World Games.”
Phase7 performing.arts was responsible for the planning, implementation and creative design of the opening ceremony in cooperation with mediapool Veranstaltungsgesellschaft on behalf of the LOC. Raphael Grebenstein acted as lighting director and show light operator, alongside Johannes Laugwitz as keylight operator, and Ole Güllich and Younes Rellmann as gaffers.
Concept, stage Design, direction: Sven Soeren Beyer
Video design: Studio Eigengrau | Frieder Weiss
Light design: Flo Erdmann
Musical direction: Das Dur
Production: mediapool Veranstaltungsgesellschaft & phase7 performing.arts
Photo credit: Manfred H. Vogel