BUCHAREST, ROMANIA – Massive and majestic, the Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest structure in the world, outweighing even the Pyramids of Giza, and second in terms of area covered only to The Pentagon. The downtown Bucharest building’s impressive presence has provided a dramatic backdrop for a host of major films, including War Dogs. Recently, the 365,000 m2 (3,930,000 sq ft.) landmark served as the setting for an important international conference when it hosted the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference.
Although it may have lacked the drama of a Hollywood blockbuster, the three-week long conference had an impact on the way people around the world talk to one another. A specialized agency of the United Nations, the ITU is active in advancing global satellite communication. Underscoring its importance over 2,000 experts and dignitaries from around the world filed into 25 meeting spaces during the conference.
Preparing the Palace of the Parliament to host this conference was Backstage Production Group International. Working with its partners in the project 360 Revolution and Escape Group, the Backstage team, led by General Manager Andrei Popéa, handled building the technological support for the conference from scratch, supplying and installing staging, furniture, AV equipment and lighting. The company also provided 24/7, technical assistance throughout the entire three-week event.
Backstage Production relied on an extensive collection of CHAUVET Professional fixtures to provide broadcast, stage and background lighting. The gear used in the meeting space included 12 Rogue R1 BeamWashes for effect lighting; 54 EPIX Strip IP linear units for outlining the stage and scenic elements; 12 Ovation Cyc 1 FC fixtures, two Ovation E-910FC ellipsoidals, and 20 COLORado Panel Q40 washes for the stage; as well as 40 OnAir IP Panel 2 soft white panels for broadcast lighting.
Speaking of the latter fixture, Popéa said: “We had no option but to build our rig from the ground in the meeting room, so we installed a 7500 sqm tent covering the Plenary Room, offices, security rooms, toilets and all the rest of the facilities. It was very important that we control the white balance and temperature. To do this, we wanted fixtures that could cover the entire space evenly, with no noise and run 16 hours a day without overheating. We also used fixtures with a very smooth color temperature correction, and of course very low weight. All these considerations led us to the OnAir IP Panel 2.
Another big event for the Palace of the Parliament building was the NATO summit of foreign ministries chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. For that, the team relied on 24 COLORado Batten 72X, 30 OnAIR Panel 2 IP, 24 Ovation CYC 1 FC, and 20 COLORado Panel Q40 fixtures. “The organizers of the NATO Summit had a very specific request that we use only very low-profile fixtures while still covering the entire room,” said Popéa. “The output and zoom range of our fixtures allowed us to do this successfully, earning praise from the event organizers and NATO.”
As for the ITU conference, which takes place only once every four years, it was a “big thing for Bucharest,” noted Popéa. Thanks to the work of the Backstage Production team, the lighting lived up to the size of the event, and the building that hosted it.