Demonthy, who was entrusted with the conception and realization of the lighting design for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2022, is otherwise active in the fields of TV, automotive, special events, live and musical design. This time he relied on Syncronorm's show design and visualization software Depence to express his creative ideas and visual output. His connection to the ESC reaches way back to 2017 and 2018, when he had the opportunity to work as Lighting Director for the big brother of this event, held in Portugal at the time. In addition, Demonthy has provided lighting design support to several delegations at the ESC.
The Junior ESC is basically a smaller version of the worldwide known and popular music format, in which various artists compete against each other, and at the end of which the audience of the participating countries votes to determine the winner. However, in terms of effort and staging, the JESC does not have to hide from its larger variant. Broadcasters such as the BBC also broadcast the show to the 16 participating countries, while the show reached over 33 million viewers.
For the 2022 edition of the show, Demonthy can call on a great creative team that brought a lot of experience to the production. Chris Moylan, light designer and light operator took over the complete show light programming for this job. Matthias Schöffmann programmed the media servers. Matthias Hagel programmed the key light and follow spots, he was also at the ESC 2011 in Düsseldorf. Tobias Heydthausen was there as lighting design assistant and during the rehearsals as contact person for the delegations. Nick Charalampidis, also a veteran in the ESC business, was server engineer. Christian Glatthor and Matthias Held were responsible for the Follow-Me System.
To make his workflow for the production of the JESC as optimal as possible, Demonthy turned to Syncronorm’s Depence visualizer for preproduction. First, he drew his designs in Vectorworks to take the venue's technical specifications into account. This drawing was then imported into Depence using MVR export, and it was already here that the first benefits of pre-production visualization became clear to him, as he was able to check whether all the angles and positions created were suitable for the lighting.
“In the next step, I immediately use this file to create renderings. And there I have to say for me that Depence is in my opinion, for fast realistic renderings exactly the right tool, where I can create live quickly and effectively my light images and it is not far from the real world, but I have often had that customers have asked me whether it is now real or yet rendered.” - Raphaël Demonthy, 2022
The set design of the JESC was mostly shaped by the video-ready LED tubes, which frame the stage above and below. Demonthy tried to enhance the stage itself by using the lighting design to let it appear much bigger than it was. For this effect he tried to fill the gaps of the stage with lighting. This means that the traverses in the stage area, which are arranged in a circular manner to follow the shape of the stage, can offer the possibility for individual looks for every participating country. In this way, totally different looks for each show could be achieved, while the stage is staying the same. 8 of the traverses can also be brought into different positions and angles due to C1 motors to achieve different looks. To that the team also relied on additional C1 light pods, which were equipped with ClayPaky Axcor 600 profiles.
The main LED wall is framed by Tambora Battens, because Demonthy was meaning to give this part of the wall special attention in terms of visually strengthen the outer lines of the video content design. Left and right to the stage, spot and wash lines were placed to achieve the desired effect of widening the stage to give it more presence and radiance. Both catwalks which are leading from the stage to the green room, where each candidate is resting in between shows, are framed by Mythos 2 as well as Mini-Bs.
“Since I had already created the file for the renderings, it was obvious that we also do the complete pre-programming with Depence. But with the size of the system, we are talking about a lighting system of over 1,200 fixtures + C1 + LED tubes etc., we were not quite sure if the performance is sufficient and we have to say we would not have expected it, but the performance in terms of fluidity, which affects extreme timings as well as the much better real representation of light properties of the fixtures and the effect on objects is a lot better in Depence than with another popular visualizer from Canada.” – Demonthy
Full Equipment List of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2022:
78x CP Scenius Spot
70x CP Scenius Unico
60x CP Axcor Profile 600
36x CP Shotlight wash
72x CP Arolla MP
22x CP Arolla HP
92x Lightsky F230
80x CP Mythos 2
85x CP Beye K25
80x CP Beye K20
22x FineArt 1537 Led Wash
42x CP K10 Wash
60x FineArt 1519 Pixie
94x CP Tambora Batten
94x CP Tambora Linear
40x PR lighting Bar
30x M1500 Led Par
As programming days on location are becoming more and more short, Demonthy praises the possibilities of Depence in terms of preprogramming at the Prefocus studio in Berlin beforehand. He also states that the real-life parameters of fixtures are a huge help while doing so, as much more knowledge about every lighting fixture out there is needed while using visualizers from other companies. With Depence, he is able to work as close to reality as possible due to the real-time lighting behavior of the fixtures. For Demonthy, the combination of different components such as NDI or C1 and the nonetheless stable and high frame rate is also a big win.
“The bottom line is that it was really fun to design the lighting with Depence and we are very confident that it will bring us even further forward for future projects.”
(c) pictures on location by Optikalusion