#1 – Act Lighting Design // Koert Vermeulen on Singapore Youth Olympics opening ceremony

about the Singapore Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony

In May 2009, ACT Lighting Design entered the selection procedure of the SYOGOC (Singapore Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Committee) in competition with four other companies and won the pitch. Since June that year Koert Vermeulen spent one week every six weeks in Singapore to attend several workshops and start working on the lighting design of the show. From March, the tender process was initiated – several suppliers had the opportunity to present their proposal. Mid June 2010 the construction and rehearsals began and resulted in the spectacular opening ceremony on the 14th of August at 8.10pm. Not only the live audience of 27.000 was amazed, there was also a worldwide live broadcast that reached an estimated 2 billion people.

Youth Olympic Games
Marina Bay, the heart of modern Singapore, became the captivating setting for this opening ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games. Definitely a shrill contrast to the usual stadium setting of most ceremonies.The scenography was based on several layers. The centre was a floating platform with a width of 120 metres and a depth op 67 metres. In front of it, the main stage (220m x 30m) was constructed. The set consisted of a ring of containers, a reference to Singapore being the biggest harbour in South East Asia. The containers, laid out like a pearl necklace on the floating platform, were used by artists to stand upon and inside, thus becoming a performance space. In front of it, a 5000 square metres lake was created. The reflections upon the 80 tons of mirror like water surface provided an extra visual effect.In the centre a 32 metres high ‘lighthouse’ was added which also became the cauldron for the Olympic flame. All this stood against the stunning Singapore skyline, which was implemented in the scenography by the addition of lighting effects, skytracers and fireworks on the buildings.

Youth Olympic Games
To achieve the technical perfection Jacques Rogge referred to, a wide range of materials and light sources were combined to gain the most effect. The backlight was designed by means of VARI-LITE VL3000’s and PRG BADBOY’s. With the use of the CLAY PAKY ALPHA HPE 1500, the world’s most powerful front lighting was inserted in the scene. The CLAY PAKY ALPHA BEAM 1500 was chosen for its power, huge variety of possible effects and great beam quality. These were the most striking appearance and therefore found many fans among the operators and production people, ensuring its place in the future of the entertaining industry. The opportunity also arose to be the first to work with the MAC 2000 XB BEAM luminaire, a redefinition and second life for a well-known and trusted workhorse in this industry. Over 400 units of DTS FOS LED were used for proximity lighting and about one kilometre of LED for outlining the set. Next, another 200 LED accent lights were used on and around the stage. All that, combined with the integrated lights on the more than15.000 costumes and props, created an impressive light show.

Youth Olympic Games

Finally we would like to thank all our partners who helped making this event as memorable as it is.

First of all , the ACT lighting design team : Koert Vermeulen : Principal Designer, Thomas Boets : Associate Lighting Designer, Guillaume Escallier : Visuals and Graphics, Carolina Marquezim : Assistant Lighting Designer.

The ACT Lighting Design team on location : Sophia Stezenko (light design assistant), Emelie Scaminaci (head CCU) and Paco Mispelters and Jimmy Stas (light programmers & operators).

The Artistic team : Ivan Heng (artistic director), Vernon Teo (show producer), Iskandar Ismail (Music Director), Aaron Khek (lead choreographer), Randy Chan (set designer), Raja Malek (Props designer), Brian Gothong Tan (Film Effects Designer), Scott Willsallen (Sound Designer), Frederick Lee (Costume Designer), Jean Kohler (Special Effects Designer), Michael Lakin (Pyrotechnic designer), Francois Montel (Flame FX), Frank Oosterwijck (Laser FX).

Our Production team : with OC Chairman Ishak Bin Ismail, Yu Han Wong (Show Chairman) Chod Kai Kiong (Show Secretary) Our Technical team under the superb direction of Nick Eltis (technical director), Ian Baldwin (assistant technical direction) and the whole team of army and volunteers under their supervision.

Our Lighting supplier : PRG where we want special commendation for Laurent De La Haye who was the project manager and Axel Van Bree (crewchief), Tom van Hemelrijck (Head of sales) Max Galot (logistic on-site manager) and the PRG team: Michael Galot, Mathieu Antoine, Loic Whoerel, Romuald Beaufour, Carlos Mendes, Martin Gusinde, Markus Laps, Eugène Both, Torben Glamm, Olivier Gravensteyn, Dominique Evrard, Thomasz Szymon, Patrick James Thomson, Michel Meskens, Phillip Boht, Rayk Laundan, Julydee Bin Omar, Shajali Bin Yatim and the people from Showtec William Lee, Toh Say Kiat Alwyn, Yeo Yeow Thong, Tan Heng Soon, Lin Shunfa, Mohamed Saiful Bin, Zhang Wei Jing, Liu Jia Jie, Bernard Lee Wei Ming, S.D.Christopher.

Our Followspot Crew : Toh Kia Hing (spot caller) and Iskandar Bin Habdi, David Lau Chit Song, Yip Wei Sheng, Darren Li mZong Xzan, Teo Loon Seng Eric, Zulkhairi Bin Rahman, Jason Chia, Chew Junwei, Haiqal Zulfaltah Bin Mokhtar, Suhaila Binte Sharip, Chow Jun hui, Arshad Bin Amari, Andel Christopher, Davin Goh, Abdul Rahman Bin Ahmad,  Muhammad Nahar Bin Juma’at, Wong Weng Khiong, Yoon Hui Yang.

Youth Olympic Games
Our other technical suppliers : Sound by Northwest, Led Screens by CT asia, Projection and Control systems by the Electric Canvas, big thanks to Phil Pieridis & Peter Milne, Set by Pico, Aquatique FX by Aquatique Show, Pyro by Starlight Design and Explomo, Flame FX by Groupe F, Laser FX by Focalise, Comms by The PA people, …

Video of the opening ceremony :

Original article source:

// Koert’s Post Event Thoughts and our exclusive interview with him! //

We contacted Koert and asked if he is interested to have an online interview on the Singapore YOG lighting design for the Opening Ceremony, and of course, for him to share which were his two favorite pictures that embodied the spirit and the intended design atmosphere of the YOG. So, here it is,

ALDN: Which is the picture that highlight your favorite moment of the show and why?

Koert: Definitely the picture with runner and the Olympic flame! This is my favorite moment in the show, not only for the symbolic meaning of the arrival of the flame and the actual crescendo of our show, but the technical difficulties that I will need to face when proposing to have this significant scene illuminated and to be scenographed as what I had proposed. Initially, we were brainstorming with the show director, who originally wanted to have the scene filled with crowds cheering as the runner proceed into the scene, yet I think the scene need to be solo, because in our story, we envisioned the struggle a young arthlete has to go through to be able to achieve something where he has to conquer his own monster and so on. Thus, this was definitely the moment for him to be alone and on a road to great personal achievement. Also, together with the idea we had of the story we wanted to tell, I had also tried to light in the way that we will have the perfect reflection of the runner in the water and the hint of bright light in the direction where he is running towards. The combined effect has translated the visualized story and mood perfectly and so this is the reason why I really, really like this picture.

ALDN thinks: I agree that this picture has definitely embodied the spirit of Olympics, which Coubertin’s ideals are further expressed in the Olympic creed: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” The picture had embodied the personal achievement and goals of the runner, and I do think that this is a very significant picture that had captured the ideas and concepts of what was proposed simply but successfully.

ALDN: Which is the picture that shows ACT’s mission in design and why?

Koert: The other picture shows a child in the audience, where he has a look of sheer wonder and excitement, of what he sees and at the same time almost forgets that he is holding that light prop in his hand and cheering with it. Because at the end of the day we just do what we do for that : the audience that hopefully enjoys what we bring to them.


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