Eurovision Song Contest 2018

We’ve done a lot of TV show installations like Got Talent or X-Factor in the past. But the Eurovision is probably the largest TV show installation in whole Europe.

The client decided to use almost 4km of our digital LED strips, 42 LEDs/m version. If you think about, it’s almost 170.000 individual LED diodes! That’s quite a lot for a software system to handle.

2 big parts have to be done

That’s why they had to use almost 50 of our LEC3 devices (both powered and standalone versions). There are two separate groups of the controllers. One of the used huge more than 100m long arcs around the stage. This one was controlled directly from GrandMA and ArtNet protocol. The LEC3 handles the “translation” from ArtNet to LED strip’s SPI protocol (SK6812 in this case).

The more interesting was the second group – ribs. The client has decided to use our LED Strip Studio software because of the easy mapping possibility. The idea was to use BlackMagic Intensity PRO grabber to capture HDMI stream from media server and draw directly to LED strips. The new version of our controller LEC3 is a lot faster and more fluent than older LEC2 board. But still – for the installation like Eurovision this was not good enough. The client required full 60fps stream, which is unfortunately not possible directly from the software.

We needed radical step

That’s why we’ve decided to do a radical step just a few days before the live event – we’ve implemented a new pure-grabber mode into LED Strip Studio (LSS) software. We call it LSS on Steroids. And it’s perfect. In this mode, the LSS software turns off all the unnecessary stuff like DMX input, video decoding, user input and switches to simple single window application.

This application takes the complete mapping from LSS workspace and sends all the data to LEC3 devices using simple unicast ArtNet. This saves a lot of time by not handling TCP communication, user input or other special Windows-application required threads. And yes – it’s able to draw live stream at a full 60fps speed at 1080p resolution! This is a great solution for TV installations because it provides amazing performance and fluency of the animation.

And although we’re sure, LSS software is pretty stable, cutting down all the “Windows” stuff the application works faster and more stable.

Generally, the Eurovision installation was a big success for us, since it’s a proof, LEC3 and LSS software can handle large installations like no other digital-LED controlling system available in the market.

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