Events directly or indirectly related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup are providing valuable showcases for pro-audio systems, reports David Davies. Allen & Heath, DTS, Electro-Voice, Peavey, Crest, Lawo, MAYAH, Riedel and Waves are among the companies to have made announcements connected to the World Cup in recent days and weeks.
The first Allen & Heath Xone:DX in South Africa has been purchased by DJ and producer Gavin 'Vin' Deysel, who used the controller during a World Cup celebratory event. An estimated 185,000 fans attended 'United We Shall Stand for Bafana Bafana', which took place in Johannesburg shortly before the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicked off.
The Bafana Bafana football team paraded the streets in a double-decker bus, while radio presenters from both stations interacted with the players and crowds along the route.
"I have used a variety of controllers and can honestly say that the DX is by far the most superior when it comes to versatility. With four decks, two FX units and Loop functions, being creative is easy with the Xone:DX!" said Deysel.
Meanwhile, Electro-Voice, Crest and Peavey systems have a showcase at host venues across South Africa thanks to installations by Prosound. A team led by technical director Mark Malherbe won (separate) contracts to install audio at nine of the ten FIFA World Cup stadia. Right from the off, it was clear that E-V was going to be a big part of the package: Prosound has been using the brand consistently since a mid '90s project.
"We've used E-V in all our subsequent stadiums - we'd done in excess of 30 before the nine now for the World Cup - and it's always done what we wanted it to do," said Malherbe.
Three of the stadia - Soccer City (Soweto), Loftus Verfeld (Pretoria) and Cape Town Stadium - were recently visited by a contingent from PSNE and sister publication Installation Europe. In each case, the core audio spec is based around Electro-Voice loudspeakers, Crest power amplifiers and Peavey MediaMatrix Nion units for control.
The Soccer City install had a particular resonance given that Prosound covered Nelson Mandela's celebrated 1990 homecoming speech at the venue. For the new audio fit-out at the recently upgraded venue, Prosound sited 20 clusters of E-V speakers in the roof, distributed around the field, with RCF PL60 speakers in the concourse areas. Loftus Verfeld, meanwhile, is distinguished by a CobraNet-based fully-redundant fibre optic loop approach to audio distribution, with the Crest-Peavey packaging employing a custom-manufactured box to drive relays to switch in changeover amplifiers.
For more on Cape Town Stadium and Prosound's general involvement in the World Cup project, read the extensive report by IE editor Paddy Baker.
Turning to the broadcast side of the operation, ESPN is among the broadcasters employing DTS Neural Surround technology throughout the World Cup. Hardware integrated on-site includes the DTS Neural Surround Sound Encoders and Decoders, as well as the Mono2Stereo 4-channel stereo synthesizer built by hardware partner and licensee DaySequerra. Both solutions allow mixers to create a dynamic surround sound mix while maintaining strong voice clarity from the announcers.
“DTS surround sound technology will be an integral part of the broadcast productions at the 2010 World Cup,” said Geir Skaaden, v-p of North American Licensing Operations, DTS, Inc. “When it comes to the surround sound experience, DTS is committed to working with broadcasters to efficiently deliver High Definition Audio to viewers worldwide. As the consumer demand for high quality entertainment in the home continues to grow, DTS will continue to do our part and deliver the highest quality audio experience possible.”
Meanwhile, more than 50 Lawo systems are being used by international broadcasters during the World Cup. Audio Broadcast Services (ABS), a rental company and subsidiary of Lawo, was responsible for the installation of container-housed mobile control rooms at each of the ten host venues. Equipped with a Lawo mc256 and an Innovason Eclipse, multiple feeds are created at each stadium: the main stereo audio feed, merged with the respective commentators' audio by the national broadcasters, several interview feeds and, for the first time in history, a programme feed specifically designed for cell phones. Pre-mixing for the surround feed is also handled at the stadium. The complete surround feed is created at the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) using two Lawo mc266 systems.
In addition, several other Lawo customers - ARD/ZDF, Alfacam, Outside Broadcast, Sky TV, BBC, ITV and CCTV - are using Lawo systems. SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) is also employing Lawo systems in four new HD OB vans, all of which are also equipped with Riedel digital Artist matrix intercom technology. All trucks feature one Artist 32 and one Artist 128 mainframe to provide the needed amount of intercom ports. If required, Riedel Artist can be expanded to up to 1,024x1,024 ports in a non-blocking matrix. Both mainframes are equipped with redundant Power supplies and CPU cards to provide maximum reliability.
In another strand, Belgium-based and international TV broadcast and OB truck provider Alfacam recently equipped five HD OB trucks in use at the World Cup with a comprehensive Riedel Mediornet installation. The MediorNet mainframes link Alfacam’s trucks with the technical operation centres (TOC) in the stadia, delivering 16 HD-SDI signals including the world feed to the trucks and four back from the OB van to the TOC. Among other system features, integrated Embedding/De-Embedding de-embeds the audio and delivers the signals via MADI to the trucks’ Lawo audio consoles.
“With our task – to process the stadium’s cameras, the world feed of the games and to provide the feed for the German broadcast of the event – it is important that we can absolutely rely on the technology we use. MediorNet gives us all we need for this exciting broadcast operation while saving a lot of equipment such as de-embedders, framestores and such, which we would have needed with other solution,” commented Rene Alles, project manager at Alfacam Deutschland.
MAYAH reports that about 30 of its C11 codecs are in use for traditional ISDN communication between the various footballing locations in the South Africa and broadcasters' HQs. For example, Alfacam Deutschland is supplying five HD OB bans, equipped with C11s for technical and editorial communication, to German public broadcasters ARD/ZDF. Also, RTL Germany has a MAYAH Sporty Reporter Codec in its inventory for use as a standalone commentary position back-up solution.
Finally, as reported on the PSNE website last week, Waves has devised a new solution designed to tackle the impact on broadcasts of those ubiquitous Vuvuzela horns. The real-time processing chain comprises two plug-ins: the WNS Waves Noise Suppressor and the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer.