Optocore simplifies audio distribution at X Games Tignes
For the fourth year in a row, a portion of ESPN’s X Games took place place overseas, this time in Tignes, France. Situated at up to 12, 293 feet above sea level, the location of the games added a new level of complexity for Gilles Bouvard Events and Entertainment (GB4D), the France-based rental house that assisted ESPN with the audio signal distribution necessary for the event.
The event in France was co-produced by Canal+ Events on behalf of ESPN, with GB4D providing virtually all of the audio equipment for the competition zones to assist A+ Events, another co-producer. With more than 125 athletes participating in the games, the team at GB4D knew it needed gear capable of managing not only proper audio distribution, but also able to withstand the snowy weather concerns. A longtime fan of Optocore, Gilles Bouvard, owner of GB4D, suggested Optocore’s interfaces as a way to ensure a successful signal flow within a redundant system.
“The audio vendor for the X Games was my former associate, Julien Terrier, with his new company A+ Events,” says Bouchard. “I suggested he use Optocore to provide all the fiber network signal distribution.”
The audio transmission was based around two Optocore loops—one ring for the Super Pipe competition area, with five Optocore X6R-FX network converters for the main PA and one for the VIP area—and a second for the Slope Style competition area, with two X6R-FX interfaces. The master control room was equipped with two DD2FR-FX (offering MADI ports), two DD32R-FX (AES-EBU) and one X6R-FX systems. GB4D was able to control the entire Optocore system from a single desktop PC.
As the distances between nodes were long, GB4D used approximately 984 feet (300m) of Neutrik X-TREME fibers for signal transport between all links. The primary ring measured a distance of approximately 1.3 miles (2.1km) and the secondary approximate 1,968 feet (600m), which was constructed around 12 nodes, plus spares.
L’Acoustics LA8 and Lab Gruppen PLM10000Q amplifiers fed the main PA hangs, while the Optocore LAN controlled the Super Pipe’s deck fills. Inputs included background music, live DJ feeds, wireless announcer microphones, various media and advertisement sources and TV truck feeds.
“Thanks to the Optocore network, the wireless links for the announcers was greatly simplified. Also, feeding signals into the system was easy,” explains Bouvard. “As for the outputs, the Optocore fiber network allowed a simple routing of the various signals feeding the amplifiers all around the site. The possibilities offered by macros allowed a simplified routing and ease of modification for all the various live and recording feeds.”
GB4D designed a redundant FOH position, deploying two fully backed-up Midas digital desks.
Bouvard compared the challenge of working high in the Alps with the opposite climatic extreme GB4D faced when it recently deployed a vast Optocore and BroaMan network over a huge distance for Kuwait’s 50th Constitution Day celebration. “There was really little difference,” he says. “On the one hand we had the high temperatures and sand storms, on the other the very low temperatures and snow. We found ourselves in two similar extreme situations and we had to find reliable solutions.
“I think that working in those difficult environments helps us improve our technical expertise. We have learned to adapt technically to those constraints, for example with the PA and cabling, but more essentially for the monitoring of the systems, which is crucial in this type of event and in these conditions. The use of an Optocore network simplifies this enormously.”