Robert Juliat Lancelot And SpotMe Perform Swimmingly at FINA World Aquatic Championships

Four Robert Juliat’s 4000W HTI Lancelot fixtures were the followspots of choice for Frédéric ‘Aldo’ Fayard, the lighting designer behind the prestigious Opening Ceremony of the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships which took place in Budapest and Balatonfüred in July this year. The FINA World Championships is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and the largest sporting showcase Hungary has ever hosted. With over 2,500 athletes from 180 countries and 200 events over a period of 17 days, this was a massive undertaking.

Frederic Fayard, who is founder and designer with Concept K in Paris, created and programmed the lighting for the opening ceremony event which was conceived and produced by the French production ECA2 Group with MUPA from Hungary. The four 4kW Lancelot followspots were supplied by PRG France and were rigged on two technical towers front of stage. The Ceremony also provided the ideal opportunity for Aldo to test out Robert Juliat’s newest product, SpotMe, where he put it through its paces under live conditions for the first time ever.

SpotMe is a 3-D real-time tracking system that turns the followspots into an innovative solution to give the position of performers on stage without the need for emitters and/or cameras. The followspot is equipped with sensors which send signals to the server and communicates all the positions and beam size parameters to the lighting console through PSN and DMX protocols. The parameters can then be used by the console to control any automated or static lights. Any moving light can therefore also turn into a followspot at any time during a show which is precisely what Aldo was able to do.

The Opening Ceremony took place on an 80 x 10 metre floating stage, situated directly on the Danube river close to the main bridge with the iconic Buda Castle perched beautifully on the hill as a backdrop. Aldo chose to work with the Lancelot followspots for the prestigious event as he believes them to be “the most powerful and flexible followspots on the market.”

The Lancelots performed well in the rather humid conditions created by a combination of the weather and the spectacular dancing water fountains which were designed by ECA2 Group, also handling the demanding throw distances of between 50 to 90metres effortlessly. Aldo comments, ‘I have used Robert Juliat lights many times in my 30 years of international experience and I believe they produce the best profiles and followspots in the world. I know the Lancelot well, and for me, the most important features are the optics, their sheer power and the zoom range, all of which were invaluable for the distances involved and the televised event. I have worked with many manufacturers around the world, but wherever I am working, I always request Robert Juliat first.’

The wonderfully creative opening ceremony was attended by Hungary’s prime Minister Victor Orbán and other government ministers along with former Hungarian Olympic champions. Taking part were over 510 artists including some of Hungary’s biggest superstars Péter Eötvös, Ágnes Herczku and Gergely Bogányi and three-times Grammy Award winning artist, CeeLo Green. The Opening Ceremony ended with a rendition of the official song of the World Championships, performed by Gigi Radics and Nikolas Takács, followed by a concert by CeeLo Green.

Aldo was able to test Robert Juliat’s SpotMe in conjunction with the Lancelots on the singers during these key performances and also to follow one of history’s best-ever female swimmers and five-time Olympic gold medalist, Krisztina Egerszegi, during the launch of the water flame which initiated the amazing dancing water display. “We are happy to report SpotMe worked well in coordinating the moving lights with the movement initiated by the Lancelots,” says Aldo. “I can see this becoming a very sought after system.”

“The FINA Opening Ceremony was a good test for SpotMe both as a trial under live conditions and to ensure it meets the true requirements of lighting designers in all aspects prior to releasing it to market,” says Robert Juliat MD, François Juliat. “Live testing gives us the opportunity to fine tune the details and make sure it is a viable and valuable product in ‘real’ conditions.”