Back

Live on TV: The Flying Dutchman takes off with ETC

Date Posted: 9/8/2021

After 25 sold-out performances, the 109th Bayreuth Festival in Germany came to a successful close on August 25. More than 22,000 spectators attended the 2021 event. The highlight of this year’s season was a new production of the German-language opera “Der fliegende Holländer” (The Flying Dutchman), under the musical direction of Oksana Lyniv. The opening night was broadcast live on television which, inevitably, influenced the lighting requirements. The production featured an array of lighting equipment from ETC, including 26 SolaFrame 3000 fixtures,16 fos/4 Panels and an Eos Ti console.

The fos/4 Panels were purchased especially for this prestigious event. "What was required was a fixture for uniform and punchy illumination of a cyclorama with a width of 37 meters and a height of 15 meters," says Nicol Hungsberg, deputy lighting director of the Festival. The fos/4 Panels were chosen after extensive comparisons. “They offered the most powerful and even illumination of all the fixtures we tested; not only with very bold colors like blue and red, but also across the pastel range," says Hungsberg. “The drop in brightness from the floor upwards was minimal, and a desired effect anyway.”

Other systems would not have been able to meet these demands. "In order to maintain the uniformity of the fos/4s, we would have needed two rows of fixtures – along both the top and bottom of the cyc – meaning additional work,” explains Hungsberg. “However, it was enough to position the 16 fos/4 Panels evenly – around two meters behind the cyc – over the entire width of the stage.”

Hungsberg was also impressed by the versatility of the new fixture. "It can be used in a variety of ways,” he says. “It’s very well-suited as a cyc light, whether positioned at the front or at the back, and also as a fill light. It ticks all the boxes."

Volker Striemer, director of photography, was responsible for capturing the spectacle for several TV networks and for live cinema broadcasts. The Berliner, who has been working in the film and TV business for almost 30 years, was full of praise for the fos/4 Panels. “The color tone perceived by the eye is perfectly reproduced by the camera – what you see is what you get!” says Striemer. “The addition of an eighth color in the X8 array – Deep Red emitters with a wavelength of 660nm – was recognized as a unique feature. "The long-wavelength and associated spectrum of the fos/4 gives it a very clear advantage over other products."

The 26 SolaFrame 3000s also made a positive impression on Hungsberg. “No disrespect intended – the SolaFrame 3000 is a real 'workhorse' fixture,” he says. “An industry standard; it consistently offers very good performance, which is why it’s specified on every production."

For lighting control, an ETC Eos Ti was selected. "We’ve always worked with ETC systems,” says Hungsberg. “If only because of their reliability.” There were no technical lighting issues with “Der fliegende Holländer,” but Hungsberg felt safe in the knowledge that ETC would be on hand to help if necessary. "ETC’s 24/7 service promise gives you the assurance that someone is always available,” he concludes. “If you do have a problem, a solution is always found as quickly as possible."