The software behind Eurovision

Whether you like the Eurovision Song Contest or not, no one can claim they don’t put on an extravagant show. After watching the performance last night, the thing that stayed with me most wasn’t the music, but the stunning lighting effects, visual effects and camera work. The 1831 lights, 24 cameras, 380 speakers and hundreds of mics all need orchestration in a way that’s hard to comprehend. Software makes it all possible.

This year CuePilot was used to manage the entire production. CuePilot allows them to pre-programme all movement and to create a script for programming the lights, to pass to the camera operators and so on. It even allows them to create an entire pre-visualisation of the show — a 3D rendered simulation — before any footage has been shot.

It’s so nice that we work now in, actually it feels like a videogame. I cut my shots in CuePilot, I send it to [previsualisation], they put it in the [virtual] venue, and the venue is complete 3D of course now, with the light, with the movements, with the LED content and actually I see the song or the performance in actually real time and more-or-less real life.

The objective is not just to create an elaborate show, but also to manage the emotions of the audience watching it. Gil Laufer, an MSc student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Eurovision fanatic, has researched the effect it has.

Our hypothesis was that pre-programmed camera work will result in a more unified experience among the viewers. A unified experience means that in terms of emotions and their intensities, each individual among a group of viewers would feel the same as the other group members. This can be measured and later analyzed using statistical methods.


The conclusions drawn from the research is that pre-programmed camera work can result in a more unified experience compared to manual camera work. The ability to do that depends on the overall creativity value of the production, which in turn depends on various aspects such as the number of cameras and the available shooting angles, the production team’s proficiency in using tools as CuePilot, and in the time that the team got to spend on the production.

Musical productions may not be the usual fare for OSNews, but the fact is that the sophistication of orchestration, simulation of the final show, and bridging between the software and the hardware its controlling, just wouldn’t be possible without the developments made in operating system and software integration over the last two decades.


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