wysiwyg at Swedish Melodifestivalen 2015
CAST Software May 12, 2015
IMG_0321 - version 2
Photo by Fredrik Jönsson

The award-winning wysiwyg previsualization suite from CAST Software of Toronto, Canada played a crucial role in the recent 6-week tour of Melodifestivalen 2015, the annual Swedish song contest to determine Sweden’s song that will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, this year marking the country’s 55th time to enter. Melodifestivalen visited 6 cities across Sweden with the Finals held at the massive Friends Arena in Stockholm. Viewed by approximately 4 million, it is Sweden’s most popular television program.

Lighting Designer Fredrik Jönsson of Eyebrow Designs in Stockholm used wysiwyg for the lighting of 28 songs in a total of 6 live broadcasts by SVT (Sveriges Television), the host broadcaster of Eurovision 2013. The tour employed over 400 moving lights, plus another 220 added for the final broadcast at Friends Arena.

Jönsson explains “As usual wysiwyg was an essential part of how the design evolved. Since the set concept this year was mostly about the 40 box structures housing light tubes hanging downstage and upstage, it was crucial to be able to visualize the actual positions of the lights in relation to the boxes in order to position the lights where they could give me most bang for the buck. The boxes were more than slightly in the way, so positioning the lights correctly was the most important decision of the design and with wysiwyg’s Shaded Feature this was done quickly and to the point. It was a real timesaver.”

Rendering by Fredrik Jönsson

He continues, “Another feature that was very useful this year was the camera path feature. We had a lot of complicated “extras”, like a flying UFO with an artist on top. To achieve this I designed a simple structure out of a 3 metre circular truss and then the SVT props department built a custom plexiglass floor and handlebars. Then we rigged this structure in a motor system that travelled not only up and down but also sideways to great effect. This was a bit hard to grasp for the artist with just drawings, so I simulated a crane camera to move around the UFO in wysiwyg with the camera path and it made the idea much easier to understand. I also used this function for a lot of other acts with extras to give them a quick understanding of what their act would look like. I really love this function and now I use it almost daily!

“Due to the set design it was a complicated year to get all the correct lighting angles needed for the stage since the air was occupied with tubes, so while my usual designs for Melodifestivalen take about 7-8 versions of wysiwyg work before the final, this year I think version 14 was the final one. Overall, it turned out to be a good year, the tubes and the black shiny floor created a fantastic depth for the cameras and together with my ”tower of power” and my ”wall of death” equipped with Sharpys, Mythos and strobes in the back of the stage, it turned out pretty good!”

Photo by Fredrik Jönsson

He adds, “The Finals pose a challenge being held at Friends Arena. When the stage and initial light plot are first designed, we have to design for the smallest venue on the tour, but that design clearly wouldn’t work for Friends, which is a 65,000 capacity arena. Wysiwyg makes the adjustment much easier.”

Throughout the tour, the lighting design kept pace with the wide variety of music thanks to Jönsson’s attention to detail.  “We try to appease the artists as much as we can,” says Jönsson, “Some bands want as much flash and pizzazz as we can throw at them. And then there are some more somber songs where excess lighting would detract from the performance. It’s usually a smooth consultation process because many of the artists know what works and what doesn’t. But wysiwyg is very beneficial in helping to reach a common goal.”

The final performances get a percentage of winning votes from an expert jury and the rest from call-in votes from the Swedish population. In the final tally, Måns Zelmerlöw won with the song ”Heroes” which can be seen in the video below.

Photo credit: Fredrik Jönsson

Lighting Crew FOH:

Fredrik Jönsson, Lighting Designer
Emma Landare, Assistant LD
Timo Kauristo, Operator
Danne Persson, Operator
Bullen Lagerbielke, d3 Operator
Peter ”Angry” Andersson, Lighting Crew Chief


LX Equipment:

wysiwyg Perform

ARRI 2kW Fresnel 4
ARRI 5kW Fresnel 2
Atomic w. scrollers 33
ColorForce 72 17
MAC Aura 177
Martin TW1 Narrow 14
Clay Paky Mythos 26
Clay Paky Sharpy 51
Clay Paky Sharpy Wash 330 24
Vari*Lite VL3000S 52
Vari*Lite VL3500QS 6
Vari*Lite VL3500W FX 20
SGM X-5 24
Robert Juliat Victor 2
Robert Juliat Super Korrigan 2
grandMA2 Light 4
grandMA NPU 8
Ringlite DMX 1
Lightpanel DMX WL 1
d3 Mediaserver 2
MDG Small 2

Add ons for the Final in Friends Arena:

Robert Juliat Lancelot 2
Robert Juliat Victor 1
Clay Paky Sharpy 69
Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1500 24
Martin MAC2000 Wash XB 12
Martin MAC2000 Wash 115
grandMA2 Light 2
MDG Large 2