This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
April 2012

TVBEurope 55 The Workflow

Ric Birch:“Ceremonies begin as dreams and adapt to the reality of physics and finances”

Scott Willsallen: “The broadcast chain has to be protected”

Patrice Bouqueniaux: You have to balance “what will be seen by the live audience and what will be seen on TV”

Creating an Opening for the Olympics

COVERING AN Olympics opening ceremony, or similar one-off event, is a “three hour block of time where nothing can go wrong,” Audio Designer Scott Willsallen, of Auditoria, told the recent Dynamic Events conference at the 2012 Integrated Systems Europe exhibition in Amsterdam. The team responsible for the

ceremonies has to deliver a memorable display that will surprise and delight the audience in the stadium, but also has to work closely with broadcasters to ensure it looks at least as good for viewers at home. Willsallen has worked on the

Olympics since the Sydney Games in 2000, as well as on Rugby World Cups and many other events, and will be involved in the opening and closing ceremonies at the London Games this summer, where redundancy will be his priority. “You cannot have a single point of failure,” he said. “The broadcast chain has to be protected.” “I’m constantly trying to design redundancy into

everything,” added Gary Hardesty, co-founder Sound Media Fusion and chief audio designer for the Beijing opening and closing ceremonies — but it’s difficult to do in budget, especially as technology gets more complicated and “there’s plenty to go wrong.” In Beijing, Hardesty had eight hard drives running, seven of which were redundant.

everything. He likes to have a primary digital system (including distribution) and a secondary analogue system. For the London design, he plans to have 73 switching devices, all on uninterruptible power supplies monitored from a central control room. The only backup that can’t really be done are the people who do the rehearsal. “‘People’ is the bit

“You have to really make every single thing you are doing redundant, including consoles, but at some point you may run out of money.” The only things Willsallen

doesn’t make redundant are the speakers and amplifiers inside the stadium, which may occasionally mean that sections of the crowd don’t hear

you really have to focus your energy on in terms of redundancy.” Two people do the mix, but it takes two.

Radio Frequency RF is another problem, not just getting enough allotted bandwidth to cover the event, but also dealing with a new and growing cause of RF

Huge entertainment productions bookend events like the Olympics, requiring creative teams that are separate from the broadcast production needed for the rest of the Games. David Fox investigates

interference: LED displays. In Doha, for the 2011 Arab Games, there was a big issue with RF interference from all the LED displays. Although LEDs will generally be CE marked and meet all the relevant specifications, when there are more than 50,000 of them linked with 25-30km of copper cable (as there were in Doha) it creates a far bigger problem.

“You have to really make every single thing you are doing redundant, including consoles — but at some point you may run out of money”

So long as the RF interference

remains consistent it can be planned around, but “it’s really a huge problem for anything that is RF-based,” warned Hardesty. “The only way around that is to get everything going through fibre as much as you can.” Chris Kennedy, founder,

Gary Hardesty, Sound Media Fusion

“The geometry [of the Doha stadium] was the same as for 2006, but the RF landscape had changed. We had to provide far more receivers, as the distance to a receiver had to be shorter so it didn’t drop into the noise floor,” explained Willsallen. At one point, every line of dialogue or song was going to a different receiver as performers moved around so much.

Norwest Productions, is already using increasing amounts of fibre, and his team is working on fibre links to remote antennae for London. Another answer to the problem would be to pre-record the audio to eliminate the risk instead of doing live audio, said Willsallen, “but if the LED displays are in place long enough beforehand you can work around it.” “We need to do a lot more RF modelling to address these sorts of problems,” added Kennedy, who has worked on the Olympics since 2000, as well as many other one-off events, and will be providing audio facilities for 2012.

Adding broadcast to the mix A problem Willsallen sees regularly is that the mix engineer for broadcast is great for athletics

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84