Ola, as Eurovision Song Contest's production manager for lighting, video, and rigging (or “production damager,” according to Mikki), and Mikki, as lighting and screens director (or “lighting and screens disaster,” according to Ola), how did you guys get together on this project?
Mikki Kunttu: I was commissioned sometime last September or October. My first priority was to sign the suppliers and production management, and I, of course, knew about Ola's and Spectra's history with Eurovision. We met, and it felt like a good match.
Ola Melzig: I saw a contact ad in Live Design under the headline “Lost and Found.” So I went to Copenhagen for a quick meeting with Mikki, and as he says, it felt like a good match, and it has been hilarious ever since — well, besides the hockey.
What's the biggest challenge in planning an event of this scope?
MK: Schedule — basically production management is the biggest challenge, I would say.
OM: To find everything that Mikki wants, try to fit it up in the really crowded roof, try even harder to fit it in the even more crowded budget, and have it all up and running 16 to 18 hours a day for three weeks. That, in connection with that we only have one week of build up and 36 hours of load out, makes it tighter than ever, and all planning needs to be extremely precise and detailed. No time for hiccups or sleep.
How did you decide on the technology you wanted to use?
MK: Some of it is actually decided on a “best deal” basis, but mostly I just try to pick the right tool for the job.
OM: As Mikki says, most of the stuff we use is hand-picked since we believe that they are the best tools for their specific use. The key elements would not be in here without the fantastic support from all of our technical partners that really have supported us in this journey toward the best show ever done. Oh, did I say that?
How much programming is already done going into rehearsals?
MK: My aim is to have all the songs in the can and just to do updates at the arena. Everything runs on timecode.
OM: And you are telling me about timecode now? Is there something else you would like to share, Mikki?
What's your favorite new toy discovered on this project?
MK: Two things: Hippotizer version 3 software and ESP Vision visualization software.
OM: Two other things: The new red espresso machine from Ascaso and PlayStation 3, of course!