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Euro-visualisation: Barco’s LED ‘cobra’ wows the crowds in Helsinki

This year’s contest was held in Helsinki, Finland, hosted by Finish broadcaster YLE. As viewers from around Europe tuned in to watch 42 countries compete in the semi-final and final on 10 and 12 May respectively, they were treated to one of the most spectacular stage designs ever. Show designer Mikki Kunttu’s breathtaking visual design featured more than 200 square meters of Barco’s brand new MiTRIX LED screen, 125sqm of ultra bright OLite 510 LED modules and three SLM R12+ digital projectors. Barco rental partner Massteknik (Sweden) is the general video supplier to the show.

Fully integrated into the stage set was a gigantic curved screen nicknamed “the cobra”. This not only towered 9.5 meters up and behind the stage but also stretched out in to the audience, creating an animated catwalk that made the stage itself come alive with vibrant video and lighting effects. In addition to that, extending around almost the entire stage was a massive 30 meter wide by 6.5 meter high LED backdrop made up of more than 200 square meters of MiTRIX, Barco’s new transparent LED screen.

The MiTRIX screen was chosen by the designers for its low weight and high transparency. This allowed the Syncrolite xenon beam lights rigged behind the screen to shine right through it, giving incredible depth to the scenery. At certain times when the content on the MITRIX is turned off, the screen appeared to be completely invisible, creating a completely different look for the set. The mix of high and low resolution screens also allowed individual ‘video backdrops’ to be used for each song, giving each country and its performers a unique visual identity at the press of a button.

As further testament to Barco’s wide range of solutions, there were three SLM R12+ digital projectors on the show. One was used as part of the integrated set design while the other two gave the audience close-ups of the stage action.

Nico Vernieuwe, Vice President of Barco’s Media and Entertainment division states: “Each year, the set designers of the Eurovision Song Contest raise the bar of visual creativity, and this year is no exception. The trend in the convergence of lighting video, lighting and stage design continues and we are delighted to be part of this exciting time in the evolution of visualisation.”