wysiwyg at the Nobel Prize Banquet

nobel3sm.jpgOn December 10, 2009, CAST Software's wysiwyg and Vivien – Virtual Event Designer played a major role in one of the highest profile events in the world – The Nobel Prize Banquet. Held annually in the Blue Hall of Stockholm City Hall since 1934, the banquet immediately follows the esteemed Nobel Prize Awards. The event is attended by the King and Queen of Sweden and the other members of the Royal Family, plus approximately 1300 guests, including Nobel Laureates, politicians, dignitaries and other VIPs, as well as seen by the viewing audience of a High Definition television broadcast by Swedish Television (SVT).

Lighting Designer Per Sundin and Production Manager Ola Melzig collaborated in advance for the Banquet in 2008 using wysiwyg and Vivien. The two have worked together on the event several times in the past, but last year was the first time Vivien was integrated. The results were magnificent and there was no hesitation to use the software combination for the 2009 Banquet. Melzig had recreated the banquet setup inside the Blue Hall in Vivien in 2008, down to every last royal fork. The set up of the tables, chairs and place settings is exactly the same every year, so the team took Melzig's file from 2008 and immediately had an exact template. Sundin combined it with the lighting design he created in wysiwyg, providing an accurate picture of how the combinations would look – before even one light was rigged or one table was set up.

“wysiwyg and Vivien are incredibly useful concept tools,” said Melzig, “This banquet has been taking place in this same location for 75 years and the drawings have always been on paper. Now that we have a 3D model, everyone in the planning process can visualize their ideas accurately in a much faster and efficient way. The only things that change year to year are the flowers, entertainment and lighting, so imagine how helpful it is to share this file.”

nobelbanquet2009.jpgThe lighting was designed to be elegant and somber this year to compliment the entertainment, which incorporated choir music and a storytelling theme. Sundin claimed, “It was an enormous benefit having the sophistication of wysiwyg and Vivien in hand again this year. It saved us many hours and headaches having the perfect look ready, before we ever set foot in the building. With this software combination, everyone can put their thoughts into shared files, from the florist to the entertainment, allowing everyone to actually see the ideas, rather than relying on descriptions and imagination.”

The main lighting consisted of 14 MAC 2000 Profiles hung from truss sections in two corners of the ceiling, with an additional 4 Mac 700 Wash fixtures positioned on the upper balcony. Another 14 MAC 250 Entour Standard fixtures were positioned on the third floor behind the 14 ornately sculptured windows. General atmosphere lighting around the Blue Hall was provided by Source Fours and Pars with 22 SGM Riabaltas mounted on pillar brackets around the perimeter of the room. Fourteen Wybron Nexera fixtures were used as uplights to frame the massive etched glass doors leading to the Golden Hall on the second floor balcony. Lighting was controlled with an ETC Congo and a High End Systems Full Boar, with one ETC Congo Jr as backup. All of these pieces integrated seamlessly into Sundin's wysiwyg rendering.

One of the biggest changes to the lighting design this year was seen on an unexpected surface – the massive ceiling of the Blue Hall. In the past, video content has been projected onto the 131'×105' (40×32m) space, but this year, four High End Cyberlight 2.0 fixtures took the place of the projectors, sending gobo projections overhead. When the building was being constructed between 1911 and 1923, architect Ragnar Östberg liked the way the water outside the building reflected up onto the ceiling through the high windows and decided to leave it plain white to capture that look. During the banquet, however, it is too dark outside to reflect anything, so the design has incorporated other means to retain that feel while also taking advantage of the largest blank canvas in the room. This was the first European show using the new Cyberlight 2.0 fixtures and the look was stunning. “We had decided to use the Cyberlights a few months before the show,” said Melzig, “so we called CAST to make sure the fixtures would be in the wysiwyg Library. Peter Debreceni, Library Manager at CAST called High End right away and got a preliminary profile into the Library. Then he went in person to a dealer warehouse in Orlando during LDI to verify that the profile was correct. So the Library profile was ready within weeks. We were extremely impressed with the efficiency.”

Sundin claimed, “wysiwyg and Vivien prove to be quite valuable for this event. Production time is short, with fewer than four days for load in, rigging, programming and rehearsals. Load in alone takes longer than most venues, as the 85-year old building was not built with modern technology in mind. So any measure that saves time is considered invaluable. Also, the Nobel Banquet is broadcast in HD 1080i, so the colors must be perfect, and I need to know that in advance. The colors in wysiwyg are spot on. I've done this event for thirteen years now and we're able to create a completely new atmosphere each year through lighting. wysiwyg helps perfect the process. Alfred Nobel would be proud.”

Read more about CAST Software products at http://theplan.wysiwygsuite.com/issue28/index.html or visit www.cast-soft.com. For additional details of this release, send an email to Joan Lyman: joan@cast-soft.com.

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