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 they have globally on many occasions in the past. In fact it was the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in their native country that first propelled the company onto the world stage.

After again successfully winning a competitive bid, the production company worked alongside event organisers, 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.”

Norwest bolstered their existing 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 explained.

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GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES

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 decentralized 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 x DD32R-FX, 8 x DD4MR-FX, 1 x DD2FR-FX, 12 x X6R-FX-8AE/8MI, 6 x X6R-TP-8MI/8LO, 4 x X6R-TP-16MI, 6 x X6P 16 In, 4 x X6P 8AE/8MI, 2 x 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.

Added patch/systems engineer John Watterson, “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.”

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GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES - Preparations

Added patch/systems engineer John Watterson, “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.”

In addition to Andrew Marsh and John Watterson, Norwest’s team included Ian Shapcott (FOH mix engineer / PA designer); Chad Lynch (FOH Systems / FOH Eng 2); Ian Cooper (Patch/ Systems Engineer - Closing); Matt Whitehead (Patch/Systems).

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 closely behind the Opening & 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.

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