As official audio supplier for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Norwest Productions again relied on a large Optocore optical fibre network for site-wide signal distribution — as it has globally on many occasions in the past. In fact it was the opening and closing ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in its native country that first propelled the company onto the world stage.
After again successfully winning a competitive bid, the production company worked alongside the event organiser, Jack Morton Worldwide, to overcome the challenges of the 25,000-capacity stadium. Norwest project manager, Andrew Marsh, again gave his reasons for adopting an Optocore solution. “The ability of Optocore to operate interchangeably on both multimode and single mode fibre allowed us to effectively utilise our inventory and operate over long distances,” he said.
Norwest bolstered its inventory of Optocore converters for the occasion, adding quantities of X6R-FX-8AE/8MI, X6R-TP-16MI, DD32R-FX and DD4MR-FX interfaces — both for this and other projects. “Since we have taken to using Optocore as both our main and backup network on large special events we recently decided to proceed with another sizeable purchase from the ‘R’ FX range,” Marsh said.
In addition to offering pristine, dual redundant signal distribution over huge distances, the deployment of Optocore offered DiGiCo desk integration with current firmware and access to increased monitoring capabilities in the recent Optocore software releases.
The design itself comprised an Optocore dual redundant ring network of decentralised devices in the form of a 17-node network, all duplicated in a main/backup system, at points including the Speaker Positions, Show Control, Stage, Patch, RF/IEM, Broadcast, other integration locations. The fibre lengths ranged from 75m to 900m.
The drive racks comprised more than 50 Optocore devices, including 17 DD32R-FX, eight DD4MR-FX, one DD2FR-FX, 12 X6R-FX-8AE/8MI, six X6R-TP-8MI/8LO, four X6R-TP-16MI, six X6P 16 In, four X6P 8AE/8MI, and two X6 16 Out. These fed a large L-Acoustics K2/KS28 sound reinforcement system from DiGiCo SD5 and SD9 digital consoles. Additional MADI signal transport was carried out via RME and DirectOut M.1k2 MADI routing matrices.
Patch/systems engineer John Watterson said: “The load in had to be implemented to a tight schedule, and the ability to configure and line-check in the warehouse and simply plug the fibres in on site was key to fulfilling this.”
The Gold Coast Games came to an emotional conclusion as the flag was passed to Birmingham, host of the 2022 edition. For Norwest, this year’s event follows the opening and closing ceremonies of the South East Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur last year, in which the production company also placed the audio on an Optocore fibre ring.