Optocore Networks GCC Games

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 04: Norwest at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on April 4, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

As an 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.

It was during 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.

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

“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,” added patch/systems engineer John Watterson.

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).