In 2023, the city of Veszprém in Western Hungary and the Bakony-Balaton region is holding a year-long program of events and celebrations as the European Capital of Culture. The Grand Opening of the festivities took place on 21-22 January under the title “Come shine with us!,” a spectacular event with lighting design by Balázs Varga. The LD brilliantly illuminated the occasion using 120 IP-rated lighting products from Elation Professional.
January weather in Hungary can be frigid – it is the coldest and snowiest month of the year in the country – with temperatures often between 0° and -10° Celsius. “The rehearsal days and programming days were freezing and there was snow on show day,” stated Balázs, co-founder and managing director of Hybrid Production of Budapest. “It was extremely hard on the fixtures because the equipment was outside for seven straight days,” he said, expressing a bit of surprise that the Elation products worked so well throughout the entire event. Despite the harsh weather conditions and constant exposure, their durability and performance exceeded his expectations. “In fact, we changed out just one spare, which is a great ratio.”
Some 120 Elation Proteus Excalibur™, Proteus Maximus™ and SixBar 1000 IP™ were used for the event. The lighting gear, all IP65 rated, was supplied by Motion GmbH of Germany while Elation’s Hungarian distributor Luminis Ltd. provided lighting support.
Balázs says that he was excited when invited to create the lighting for the event, as a show of this type had never been done before in Hungary. With three different stages at three different locations to coordinate, all about one kilometer from each other and all running parallel shows, there were challenges to overcome.
“When I created the stage and lighting design I had to take into account the performances and the opportunities that each venue presented,” he commented. “There were a lot of great surfaces around the stages as well – building walls, trees, rooftops, social places – and I already knew then that the only limit to my imagination would be the budget. I managed three lighting operators and programmers who in parallel created the lighting content for the shows. We had to work closely because sometimes the scenes changed day by day. I can’t imagine the production without preprogramming in 3D software.”
Veszprém is one of the oldest and most charming cities in Hungary. In its large Old Town Square stood a large multi-level stage and LED wall, backed by a shopping mall wall. The impressive setup created a captivating focal point for events and performances, drawing the attention of all who gathered in the square. With a directive to immerse the entire square in lighting and effect, Balázs’ design encompassed the surrounding area with lighting positions strategically placed not only on the stage and LED wall but also on adjacent building rooftops. This comprehensive approach ensured a magical ambiance that extended beyond the square itself.
A second stage and LED wall was located in the middle of another square that is surrounded by historic buildings and trees, which the designer integrated into the show. The third stage, located in a square in the castle district and built around a statue, was the designer’s favourite.
Here, employing video mapping onto a church and various other buildings, Balázs emphasized that his lighting design needed to take special consideration of illuminance reflection, making fixture positioning especially important.
In search of a dependable key and fill light capable of functioning effectively in challenging outdoor environments, the designer opted for the Proteus Maximus, which he notes wasavailable in large quantities from Motion. “Both the IP rating and the framing system were important and the LED engine was preferred for television. The Maximus fully met all our expectations,” he affirmed. The fixtures were positioned as front lights on towers and ladders and served as backlight and side light sources.
Seeking a powerful IP-rated beam light, Motion had in stock the powerful Proteus Excalibur sky beam, which the designer used for aerial effects and striking midair beams, working from carefully chosen positions surrounding buildings, on rooftops and from ground-level locations. “It was important to have a high-impact beam light for the wow effects for the crowd and the cameras. The brightness of the Excaliburs was convincing even without a projection canopy of smoke,” Balázs stated. The SixBar 1000 IP battens worked as footlights around the stages and fulfilled the need for a large quantity of IP-rated LED bars with a color index that, according toBalázs, is preferred for television.
European Capital of Culture is one of the most important projects of the EU’s cultural policy and was founded in order to highlight the cultural richness of its member states and deepen the sense of a common culture among European citizens. Celebrations in Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region will continue throughout the year.
Balázs Varga: Lighting Designer
Bence Nagy: Lighting Operator/Programmer
Gábor Bálint: Lighting Operator/Programmer
Bence Doma: Lighting Operator/Programmer
Lighting design company: Hybridproduction kft.
Lighting provider: Visual Europe, Soul Light event
Lighting fixtures supporter: Luminis kft
Rental Company: Motion GmbH
Visual and Art Director: Glowing Bulbs