Fans of the Eurovision diary will be happy to know that the famed chronicle has begun its latest journey describing the daily activities of the technical crew for Eurovision 2007, and is now live. The site was originally launched by Stockholm-based Spectra Stage and Event Technologies during the production of Eurovision 2002 in Estonia, as a way for families to keep up with the daily life of loved ones involved with the event. It soon became popular with industry professionals worldwide who enjoyed the entertaining musings of production manager Ola Melzig as he described the trials and tribulations of his team. During Eurovision 2005 in Kiev, the diary surpassed 60,000 hits in just four weeks.
The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is a musical phenomenon, now entering its 52nd year. It is an annual competition in the performance of music for countries that are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with the winner chosen through votes cast by participating countries’ viewers via phone and internet. The live television audience is in excess of 200 million viewers, second only to the opening of the Olympics in terms of ratings. As such, the production of the show is a massive undertaking requiring months of preparation.
In 2006, a rock band from Finland called Lordi won ESC, and Finland is still celebrating. Because the country that wins the contest gets to host the event the following year, ESC 2007 will take place at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, with the semi-finals held on May 10 and the finals on May 12. Finnish television, YLE will host broadcast the event. This year will hold the record for the most participating countries in the history of the show, 42. This means that 42 acts will require unique lighting and video to give each a distinct look.
Spectra Stage and Event Technologies, in conjunction with Eastway Sound and Lighting from Helsinki will supply crew, lighting and video equipment. Finnish lighting designer Mikki Kunttu will deliver his creative vision for the show, working closely with Production Manager Ola Melzig, who has managed Eurovision five times in the past with Spectra. One of the things Melzig couldn’t wait to get his hands on again was the online diary.
“We have a few things planned for the diary this year that I always wanted to do, but never had time for in the past,” explains Melzig, “I would get emails with technical questions or see things posted on Light Network, so we decided it would be nice to add links to technical info from diary entries, so people can easily get product details if they want them.”
Another new feature will be guest blogs from technical partners, the companies that supply the tools that give the show its unique stamp. Kunttu and Melzig work tightly with representatives from each of these companies to ensure that technical support exists and that the products are used in the most creative way possible. Spectra has always used Eurovision as a key instrument to introduce new technologies and new products, test beta versions, use the biggest or the most of something and other technological “firsts” (one of the reasons the diary became so popular with the industry). The companies that typically partner with Spectra are the ones who have witnessed magic with previous products used and the event often puts these products on the map. Hearing their point of view is sure to please.