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A sound plan for Glasgow 2014 – part 2: Broadcasting to the Commonwealth

Philip Stevens reports on the operation to bring specialist audio coverage to the Commonwealth Games.

Continued from part one, in which Glasgow 2014 audiovisual contractor Venue Technology Services (VTS) walked Philip Stevens through the initial bidding process; its overarching strategy for the games; technical guidelines for sound reinforcement and Speech Transmission Index intelligibility; and its use of 3D modelling and the EASE simulator suite.

Equipment choice
Based on its past experience, Sports Technology is utilising equipment from d&b audiotechnik, supplied by Dimension Audio.

Amplifiers will be a mix of D6, D12 and D80, with Yamaha LS9-16 and LS9-32s serving as mixers. In all, a total of 280 amplifiers and 920 speakers are to be deployed. “We will be bringing along backup spares,” emphasises Chesterton. “If there are any difficulties, we will be able to resolve matters very quickly.”

Installation began during the first week of July with systems for the athletes’ village and press conferences. Everything will be in place in time for rehearsals, which begin three days ahead of the opening ceremony.

Sports Technology will be providing around 80 technicians for the games, while Dimension Audio will bring another 15.

Broadcasting to the Commonwealth
In December 2011, the host broadcaster (HB) contract for Glasgow 2014 was awarded to a joint bid from independent British sports production company Sunset+Vine (S+V) and Australian outsourced TV production services specialist Global Television.

“For major broadcasting events such as the Commonwealth Games there are many challenges when it comes to audio,” says Sunset+Vine’s Mark Dennis (pictured right), host broadcast senior coordinating venue technical manager. “The biggest is satisfying the rights-holding broadcasters (RHBs) and [accommodating] the many varied ways they wish for their signals to be delivered. In this digital age, it is interesting that the vision has migrated easily and without any rebuke ¬– however, some are still caught up in their analogue ways and reluctant to make a complete switchover to digital.”

He explains that this is partly because of the equipment already owned by broadcasters, but also due to the fact that analogue can be easily tested and distributed. “The 2014 Commonwealth Games are the digital games, and all services from the host broadcaster will be delivered as digital,” Dennis adds.

Alongside broadcast audio for the television coverage, SVGTV will offer radio sound as standard, although specific radio services are requested on a case-by-case basis. “There is limited equipment provided by the host broadcaster to radio rights-holders,” states Dennis. “This is not because the HB doesn’t provide this service, but rather that radio RHBs have their own kit with which they and their presenters are familiar. Although the radio RHBs for the Commonwealth Games receive the best seats in the house and a similar position to the television rights-holders, I believe they are familiar with being self-sufficient.”

Looking at the figures
At Glasgow 2014, SVGTV are using…
• 41 Glensound GDC 6432 digital commentary units
• 157 Audio-Technica BPHS1 headsets
• 28 Riedel Artist 64 frames
• 119 Riedel Artist AES-108 cards
• 23 Riedel Artist CAT-108 cards
• Eight Riedel Artist coax cards
• 51 Riedel C3 beltpacks
• 144 Riedel FBI units
• Over 100 Riedel Artist intercom and expansion panels
• 50 Riedel Artist headsets
• Three NTP Penta 725 digital routers
• Four NTP Penta 720 HD-SDI embedder/de-embedder frames
• One NTP 625 1024 x 1024 digital router