Disguise Enables Faber AV to Host Technically Ambitious Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam


The 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena marked the first major live event to take place in the Netherlands since the pandemic. With incredible visual display, the event was fueled by disguise.

Faber Audiovisuals, the official technical supplier of the competition, relied on a complement of Disguise vx 4, gx 2c and 4x4pro media servers to power a total of 55 stages on a giant LED video wall and floors, used in the 39 performances. in competition, the opening ceremony, the parade of flags and all the acts in between. The six-week production run was overseen by the ESC production manager. Erwin Rintjema and video manager Hand Cromheecke.

This year’s competition, with semi-finals on May 18 and 20 and the grand finale on May 22, took place in front of a COVID-tested live audience of 3,500 per show – contributing to a total of 183 million people who watch the event in the world. Faber’s Eurovision team included a disguise workflow specialist Jo Pauly (from Visual Solutions) as media server operators for the show.

“We chose the disguise for reliability and stability. Because we had to operate in complete redundancy, the disguise gave us the right solution, ”explains Ben Augenbroe and Steve Ackein, ESC project managers for Faber. “We had no problem with this complex production and the 24/7 disguise watch team helped us very quickly if needed. This 2021 Eurovision Song Contest went well for Faber as everything went according to plan and our entire crew was exceptional. Our client, NPO / NOS / AVROTROS, said he was delighted to have chosen Faber as a technical partner because we delivered as promised. All three live broadcasts went on and looked fantastic!

Preparations for Eurovision began in March 2021, when a preview room was set up for the entire team of light and motion operators and two media server operator positions: one on-site in Amsterdam and one operator. remotely. Both worked on the programming of the live performance. A 4x4pro disguise was used to drive the NDI feeds into the capture visualization system.

During the show, the team used the disguise timeline to switch between preloaded Unreal and Notch content for these 55 separate scenes and scene markers very quickly, without compromising the look of the show or losing any on-screen content.

A lot of power was needed to drive the 52m x 12m LED video wall at the rear of the main stage with giant revolving doors and the LED floors of stages A and B. The system consisted of a set A and B fully redundant, each containing a dedicated gx 2c director server, two vx 4 actors and two gx 2c actors.

Additionally, another gx 2c ran Stage Precision software to capture motion data from moving light beams and all other moving parts in the room. A 4x4pro disguise was connected to the lighting team’s Capture software for lighting design and visualization, running in parallel with the video preview.

“The show was mainly timecode based and we automated the programming with external triggers from the OB van,” says Pauly. “For example, at the end of a song, we went to a country postcard [pre-recorded footage introducing each country], which triggered a track jump to the right song. We therefore programmed it quite intelligently, with the possibility of reacting manually very quickly if necessary. “

The Faber team worked around the clock before the event to make sure everything was going well – and they did. The coordinated workflows and professionalism among the lighting, movement, fireworks and production teams created a positive atmosphere that contributed to the end result.

“The high level of expertise on this show was just mind-blowing – that’s what made this project so successful,” says Pauly.

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