Eurovision Song Contest 2008

Two mc²66 consoles from Lawo set the tone worldwide in Belgrade.

The biggest music show in the world just keeps getting bigger. The Eurovision Song Contest, which began in the 50s as a small competition with only seven countries participating, has swollen now to the point where, with no fewer than 43 countries participating in the 2008 edition in Belgrade, it has become necessary to introduce an elimination stage, comprising two semi-finals, prior to the main event. The competition is organized annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with the final now seen not only throughout Europe but also in Asia and South America.

The Swedish production firm HD Resources was responsible for the transmission worldwide of both the images and the sound from Belgrade and deployed the large HDTV OB truck HDR-1 alongside a new audio truck it rented from Prisma Outside Broadcast to provide a fallback system for the sound. Both OB trucks are equipped with mc²66 consoles from Lawo. Indeed it was precisely for this reason that HD Resources chose them, knowing that the freelance sound engineers they had engaged would be thoroughly familiar with their operation, as mc²66 consoles nowadays are installed in many European outside broadcast vehicles.

The mc²66 in the HDR-1 boasts 48 faders, 144 DSP channels and a maximum routing capacity of 8,192 x 8,192 inputs and outputs, whilst that in the Prisma audio truck has 56 faders, 144 DSP channels and a routing capacity of 3,072 x 3,072 inputs and outputs. The HDR-1 provided two stage boxes with 88 microphone inputs in all, whilst that of Prisma used two stage boxes with a total of 88 microphone inputs. Both OB vans enjoyed joint access to all signals.

The Lawo systems were controlled by a Virtual Studio Manager (VSM). For the audio signals, the two OB trucks were connected by a pair of MADI leads, so that the command system in the HDR truck, the recording systems and the loudspeakers could all be supplied from the Prisma truck in the event of a dropout. The VSM was programmed in such a way that all the settings and assignments could be transferred instantly from the main console to the backup desk at the push of two buttons.

Per Jönsson, the Technical Director of HD Resources, is impressed with the performance and ease-of-use of the mc²66: "When you are responsible for such an important production, it’s an enormous relief to have a console like the mc²66 to work with, because it solves all your problems virtually by itself, leaving hardly any issues for the sound engineers to address. The Lawo desk is exceptionally user-friendly, and thanks to its powerful but easily mastered function set, not even the largest productions present any problems."