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Baku 2015 – The P.A. People and Clear Com

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Delivering the world’s largest Ceremonies Communication system for the Baku European Games this June, were Sydney’s The P.A. People. “…They have highly trained and knowledgeable personnel who know exactly how to get the most out of the systems” said Bob Boster, President of Clear-Com.

A brand new addition to the global sports landscape, the European Games (just concluded) ran from 12-28 June in Baku, Azerbaijan. Sydney, Australia-based firm The P.A. People is a stalwart specialist in stadium audio installations and event communications. Examples of large venue systems projects include Stadium Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground and Brisbane Cricket Ground, to name just a few” – said Sports Video Group Europe.

In the run-up to Baku, The P.A. People won the contract to provide ceremonies comms, providing two-way radio, intercom, CCTV and technical services. For the Ceremony proceedings, The P.A. People selected Clear-Com intercom systems to handle production communications during both rehearsal and both Ceremonies.

“The scale of the project was pretty remarkable,” says Chris Dodds, managing director of The P.A. People. “In many ways it was a bigger undertaking than Sochi. The other particularly notable aspect of the project was the use of the Clear-Com FreeSpeak II [DECT-based wireless communications] system to cater to the Moving Stage. The production crew did not include full duplex on the original specification, but as the artistic component of the event developed – and after we had been appointed as contractor – it was determined that a full duplex solution would constitute a significant advantage for the Ceremonies.”

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Ultimately, the call was for a capacity of 80-plus packs to be put in place. With 50 or so packs generally constituting the maximum for a single-location FreeSpeak II deployment, The P.A. People designed a configuration “…using two systems in two different frequency bands, and with the support of the Azerbaijani authorities we were able to operate one system in one local license band and the other outside of that. With the two systems co-located, we could achieve the desired 80 packs in one physical RF space to the satisfaction of all. It was a great achievement” said Chris.

Other elements of the Clear-Com Moving Stage comms specification included a single Eclipse HX Median Digital Matrix Platform, nine HelixNet Master Stations and 70 HelixNet Beltpacks.
Comms for general main stadium usage included two Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Omega digital matrix systems and more than 200 IP-enabled intercom panels. Clear-Com V-Series Intercom Panels were also to be found in the rehearsal tent and remote cauldron areas.

Chris Dodds reports a “highly positive” response to the performance of the comms systems on the night, whilst Bob Boster, President of Clear-Com – which provided two support engineers on the ground – reports “another in a long line of great collaborations with The P.A. People. We really have a great partnership with them. They have highly trained and knowledgeable personnel who know exactly how to get the most out of the systems – as the deployment at Baku demonstrates.”

More facts about the Baku 2015 Closing Ceremony –

  • 250 metres: length of aerial lines across the stadium, with a capacity to carry 7.5 tons
  • 450m2  of LED floor tiles used on the three stages
  • 500+ truckloads of freight and 100 tons of airfreight from 20 countries to create the Ceremony
  • 800 speakers and 25km of cabling for the sound system
  • 2,000+ lighting fixtures
  • 12,000+ ear pieces and 180,000+ recycled batteries used by the cast and crew
  • 20.5 million man hours spent building the new Olympic Stadium since work began in June 2011
  • 10,000 pyrotechnics
  • 5,000 hours of preparation on-site have gone into creating the evening’s spectacular pyrotechnics displays
  • 200 hours of programming to sychronise the fireworks with the music
  • 120 pyrotechnic launch pads on the stadium roof

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Jack McSweeney

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