TIGNES, FRANCE, MAY 2, 2013– For the fourth year in a row, a portion of ESPN’s X Games has taken place overseas, this time in Tignes, France, a hot spot for skiing and snowboarding in the French Alps. In addition to X Games Tignes being broadcast from France this year for the first time ever, the annual extreme sporting event is going global, with additional events taking place through early August in Aspen (U.S.), Barcelona (Spain), Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil), Los Angeles (U.S.) and Munich (Germany). 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 sophisticated audio signal distribution necessary for the event. To help manage the coordination and weather challenges, the company turned to Optocore’s optical fiber network solutions.
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.”
With the increasing popularity of the X Games across the world, there are more technical challenges, especially in the months leading up to the event. “Reliability is fundamental,” continues Bouvard. “All the vendors present were snow and mountain specialists, so we were ready for any technical challenges. Plus, the ease of the Optocore implementation was a major step forward for this project. The most notable aspects were the simplification of the routing system, the increased reliability of the wiring on site, the total redundancy and the real-time monitoring of all system components.”
He added that GB4D technicians François Lund, Patrice Giono and Piotr Skotnicki have worked at X Games Tignes since it was first staged there in 2010. All three are certified Optocore technicians, and were responsible for realizing the design, implementation and operation of this year’s event.
Based in Munich, Germany, Optocore is the world market leading provider of scalable, high-bandwidth, low–latency fiber-optic networks for the transmission of audio, video and data. For 20 years, Optocore has been continuously innovating and setting new standards with regards to digital network technology. Optocore builds and develops synchronous optical fiber and CAT5 based network solutions for broadcast professionals, fixed installations and live event applications. Utilizing leading-edge technology and high-quality components, Optocore guarantees durability and therefore long-term market and customer satisfaction. Due to its open system architecture, Optocore’s platform offers other manufacturers the option to transfer conventional standard audio, video and data formats used in the pro audio industry over a fiber and CAT5 network. Technical expertise, QoS and an extensive support structure are guaranteed to all customers, together with the highest level of quality controls. For more information, visit www.optocore.com.