Lighting specialists Spectra Stage & Event Technologies AB supplied creative design and production management services, plus all lighting and AV equipment for visual requirements at the prestigious 2005 Nobel Prize Awards Banquet, held in the Blue Hall of Stockholm's City Hall. Spectra's Ola Melzig was production manager.
Sweden's highest profile event of the year was attended by approximately 1,400 guests, including the King, Queen, and other members of the Royal Family, a host of Nobel laureates, politicians, and dignitaries. The entire evening was also broadcast live on Swedish National television's SVT1 and included performances by the 40-piece Allmnna Sången Choir and an after-party dance.
Spectra produced several important technical firsts for the occasion, including roof projections created using High End Systems' Catalyst v4 digital media server. It was also the European debut for Wybron's Nexera tungsten color-changing wash fixtures. Spectra also used SGM's latest Giotto Synthesis 700 moving lights, Barco R18s for the projection, and a radio DMX system from Wireless Solutions.
Lighting designer Per Sundin wanted to create a warm and intimate ambience in the massive space, built between 1911 and 1923 by architect Ragnar Östberg. The design also needed to look good for television, and although it was a formal occasion, it was essential that the evening was a relaxed experience for all involved. Lighting had a vital role in this; Sundin's design needed subtlety and, both in terms of equipment and effect, had to be virtually invisible.
A major challenge of producing an event at the Blue Hall is the absence of rigging points. However, there is a half-meter-wide ledge around the top of the building, so Spectra's starting point was the installation of four “bumper” trusses in each corner, each secured across two sides of the ledge. This gave flying points for four pieces of mini beam. Rigged to these and also positioned strategically along the ledge were 13 SGM Giotto Synthesis 700s, four Giotto 400s, four SGM Palco LED floods for washing the roof, and 15 2kW profiles.
Twenty-five color-changing LED battens uplit the Hall's walls from below. These were attached to the pillars at approximately 9.84' (3m) high via custom brackets designed by Spectra. The arches around the Hall were illuminated with forty 500W floods, and 14 ornate second floor windows were individually lit with short-nosed PARs. The majestic staircase that sweeps down from the first floor balcony onto the Hall floor was backlit with two bars of six PARs, and the Golden Hall adjacent to the balcony and its ornate mosaic Byzantine-style interior was boosted with four 2kW softlights.
The staircase landing area doubled as the stage for post-dinner acceptance speeches from selected Nobel Laureates. For added pizzazz, Sundin positioned four Syncrolite 5kWs behind the first floor windows located behind the staircase. Sundin kept the colors warm, with one dramatic blue scene activated during the final choir performance. The 14 Nexeras washed the sculpted walls behind the balcony, and they blended in with the washes on the other three red brick walls of the Blue Hall, highlighting the textured surface as a dramatic backdrop to the choir.
The lighting was programmed and operated by Emma Landare using a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog® 2.
Peppe Tannemyr and Lennart Wahlin from Beacon created custom Catalyst artwork, using Adobe® After Effects® and Apple Motion. Tannemyr and Wahlin collaborated closely with Sundin to produce the content, which included different cloud formations, a star field, flowers, and fireworks. The fireworks were particularly spectacular, used as the Royal Family exited the room after dinner and guests followed up the stairs and into the Golden Room.
Two Barco R18s were managed by rental house Massteknik and positioned poking through opposite end windows on the first floor production area, forming a 131'×105' (40×32m) area on the ceiling. The angles required considerable keystone correction and soft-edging to create one large image. The Catalyst was triggered by another Wholehog 2 run by Mats Andreasson. It was the first time roof projections have been used like this in the Blue Hall, and it had enormous impact on the overall production and design.