The recent Paralympics closing ceremony marked the climax of Merging Technologies’ involvement in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, with Pyramix, the company’s flagship DAW, playing back the pre-recorded audio for the opening and closing ceremonies of both sporting spectacles, with the timecode output driving the broadcast and event timing.
Due to the particularly complex set-up of Danny Boyle’s opening show, the Pyramix was expanded and upgraded prior to the event to allow 128 channels of audio to be played back. The task of specifying what was needed fell to Auditoria’s Scott Willsallen, who had responsibility for the total audio installation in the stadium, while Bobby Aitken took care of sound design for the event.
Australian events specialist Norwest Productions provided the technical core of the installation, with additional equipment and expertise provided by local companies Delta Sound, Britannia Row and Autograph. The output from the Pyramix was fed via two MADI streams into a Digico SD7 console, and the timecode channel was fed to the lighting, video playback, broadcast and pyrotechnics, as well as being used by the stage managers and directors, to cue talent and live events. The man with his finger on the button was Trevor Beck, who undertaken similar duties several times before. He said: “Pyramix has repeatedly proven to be rock-solid. I have to have confidence that everything will work every single time I hit the play button. Pyramix has some very unique features over other programs that enable me to be incredibly flexible with shows live, and with billions watching these events, you have to get it right no matter what happens on the field, you can’t be limited by the software.”
Adrian Riddell, Norwest’s general manager and project leader at many major events at which the company’s services have been in demand, explained that the original choice of Pyramix was made before the Athens Olympics in 2004, when it seemed that it was the right time to make the transition from less reliable dedicated audio machines. “One feature that is tremendously useful for these shows is the ability with Pyramix to drop seamlessly in and out of loops,” he explained. “If something takes a little longer than expected, we can programme in holding loops for the scene, which can be activated at will. When it is time to move on, we can drop out of the loop and the time code continues. It is hard to imagine life without this now.”
Merging Technologies’ president, Claude Cellier, also addedL “We are tremendously honoured that Pyramix is such an integral part of these enormous events. This relationship with Norwest is highly valued and our Australian partner, ATT Audio Controls has been critical to this success throughout the years. It is humbling to think that the enjoyment of billions of people depends on one of our products.”
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