Eurovision Song Contest

Rotterdam Ahoy

Lighting Designer: Henk-Jan van Beek

Head of Production: Erwin Rintjema

System technician: Dennis Berkhout

Product used: Follow-Me 3D SIX system

Eurovision Song Festival (© Nathan Reinds)

© Nathan Reinds

Date: October 10, 2023

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been recognised as a pivotal moment in the return of large-scale entertainment events in a post-COVID world.  Performed in front of a live audience of 3,500 plus delegates in the Greenroom on the arena floor, ESC captivated both the live audience and the 183 million watching on television from 234 countries worldwide. The entire event was under the supervision of Eurovision’s Head of Production, Erwin Rintjema.

At the heart of lighting designer, Henk-Jan van Beek’s dynamic design were the tools to guarantee that the Multi-camera directors received all the key lighting required to bring the performers to the small screen exactly as they would wish.

The Netherlands-based Follow-Me 3D SIX remote tracking system (as part of the lighting specification delivered by the official technical supplier, Ampco Flashlight) was used to keep the Eurovision performers in the spotlight, wherever they went on stage. Designed to accommodate an unlimited number of fixtures per artist, the Follow-Me package is not limited to any type or brand of luminaire.  In the Ahoy, a total of 64 fixtures ran through Follow-Me 3D, whilst receiving fixture positional data from the motion control system over PosiStageNet (PSN). Follow-Me understands all fixture positions and orientations in 3D space and uses this information to keep any of those chosen fixtures on the performers. This unique tracking ability is achieved by a single Follow-Me system, following up to six performers, using one PoE-based Follow-Me Mouse Console per operator.

Photo by: Nathan Reinds
© Nathan Reinds

There were the fifty-eight Huracán-X fixtures calibrated to the tracking system and used as key lights and followspots on the artists. For the second semi-final interval act – The Power of Water by Davina Michele & Thekla Reuten. Here, the Huracáns were integrated in the Follow-Me system to follow the dancer in motion.

“This set-up allowed me to have a giant number of options per performance,” explains Henk-Jan Van Beek. “By connecting Follow-Me through PSN to the motion control system, we were able to ensure that the fixtures stayed on their targets perfectly while the trusses were in motion.  In total there were sixty-four fixtures running through a single Follow-Me system: 58 x Ayrton Huracán-X and six Robe BMFL LTs. I would like to thank our brilliant Senior Follow Spot Systems Tech, Dennis Berkhout for making sure everything stayed on track and for making such an important contribution to the whole look of the show.”

The Power of Water - ESC 2021 - Ralph Lahrman
© Ralph Larman

Product Manager for Follow-Me, Tim van Dijck comments, “We were really excited to be involved in this groundbreaking event.  The whole industry has clearly struggled over the last year or so; to be one of the companies involved in Eurovision’21, a COVID Safe pilot event for the Netherlands, is an honour.  This comes on top of Follow-Me’s expansion into new markets and gives us confidence that the industry is ready to bounce back with a bang.”