Clair Brothers opens and closes PON
INDONESIA: Clair Brothers Indonesia (CBI) supplied the audio solution for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Pekan Olahraga Nasional (PON) at the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api Stadium. CBI in turn called on the expertise and guidance of Wayne Grosser, director of Clair Brothers Australia, to assist with the design.
‘The client wanted a 5.1 system, which is pretty hard to do in a 75,000-seat stadium on three sides, and we had less than three weeks to get the project prepared,’ Mr Grosser explained. ‘So we did a left and right, centre and surround and a centre main. The centres served as two systems: as central effect and central for the presidential speech.’
The solution comprised a main L/R PA of four Clair Brothers i218-LT three-way active long throw cabinets and 28 i218-M elements. An additional 16 i218-Ms were deployed for out-fills and another 36 ground stacked across 12 positions around the stadium. Delivering surround sound were eight R2D-M and eight kiT12 two-way elements. Low-end was handled by 32 iS218-M subwoofers while 20 12AM units served as stage monitors. PLM 10K and PLM 20K touring racks amplified the setup, which was controlled via a pair of DiGiCo SD7 consoles at FOH while two SD10 consoles handled the broadcast feed.
‘One of my top engineers, Cameron Elias, was up on the SD7s, which were located up with the show director high in the bleachers due to the politics of the event and security protocol,’ stated Mr Grosser. ‘The two SD7s were in mirrored mode for redundancy, which worked well, but they were up at the 148m mark. That’s what the engineer had to mix with. I managed to balance the system, making it as true as possible and consistent from that position down to the VIP seating, but because you’re close to the ceiling you’re dealing with additional ambient acoustic reflections.’
The design of the stadium itself provided the main audio challenge. ‘The acoustics at this stadium were very difficult and it was critical that we controlled the vertical dispersion of the arrays because the roof was on a 25-30-degree slant, acting like a big metal sail. It looked stunning, but sound-wise it was very challenging,’ reflected Mr Grosser.
To control the vertical dispersions, the i218-LT cabinets were installed at the top of the left, right and out-fill arrays. ‘The dispersion on these is 2.5-degrees and the throw was approximately 148m,’ Mr Grosser furthered. ‘We had 12 stacks of three i218s as centre effects and also for the main monofill around the stadium covering the three sides. Those centres reached the last bleacher of the seating! We didn't need to apply subwoofers around the perimeter because the four i218s in each of the 12 positions had dual 18s in them, so there was plenty of low extension.’
The surround element was a significant part of the setup. ‘We used Avid Pro Tools for the playback and we had rainforest effects, among others, coming in through those surrounds which would merge forward into the lefts and rights,’ recalled Mr Grosser. ‘I think there was a total of 355 Pro Tools tracks that got mastered down to 16. CBI’s Pro Tools expert, Asmoro Jati, worked each night until 6am.’
A further challenge came from the location selected for Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, to give his address. The speech was given from the VIP area located directly opposite the main stage. This would result in a 226ms delay in the president’s audio coming back to him.
‘When the announcements were made from the podium we didn’t use the left and right clusters as they would have fired right back at it,’ noted Mr Grosser. ‘That’s where we used the 12 stacks of i218s which provided coverage up and around all three sides with good intelligibility. Also, because the field was used for the entertainment aspects of the ceremony, we didn’t have any sound from the main arrays covering the centre field.’
The ceremony was deemed a success and the setup remained in place during the course of the games prior to its use for the closing ceremony. ‘The closing was pretty much all done in Pro Tools,’ concluded Mr Grosser. ‘It was interesting as we had limited information and a tight time frame. CBI’s managing director, Ellyas Benyamin, and his team did a great job considering the challenges that were presented throughout this event.’