Fibre spreads the Pope’s message at World Youth Day

Fibre spreads the Pope’s message at World Youth Day

Published: WORSHIP

POLAND: Saint Pope John Paul II conceived the concept of World Youth Day (WYD) in 1985, with the inaugural international version of the event held in Buenos Aires in 1987. Since then, the Catholic Church has staged a WYD every two or three years, emphasising the theme of unity for its young worshippers, millions of which make the pilgrimage to the site of each edition.

It is estimated that two and a half million flocked to the 2016 WYD, which was hosted by Poland, split between Kraków and nearby village Brzegi. The young pilgrims in attendance witnessed Pope Francis deliver an address and with it being such a large gathering, a PA system was required to match the sheer scale of the event. To put it in context, the furthest of the sound towers and receivers deployed was located 2km away from FOH.

‘The distances we needed to cover between the towers on both fields took about an hour and we had several off-road Suzuki and quad bikes,’ recalls Pawel Fila, who supervised the installation. ‘It was an amazing feat.’

Tasked with supplying the equipment to cater for this enormous event were sound rental companies GigantSound-Letus and GMB Pro Sound. With Blonia Park in Kraków being big enough to accommodate 600,000 people and Campus Misericordiae in Brzegi capable of holding up to 3 million, togther with the vast distance between the audio towers, fibre was the obvious option. Marek Kotomski, a coordinator from the WYD’s organising committee, specified a solution comprising Optocore products, as well as those of its BroaMan brand, to spread Pope Francis’ message with coverage throughout. Mr Kotomski also served as the co-designer for the fibre infrastructure in Kraków.

Approximately 166 devices from Optocore and BroaMan were deployed, with local company 4Vision contracted install the systems with onsite support provided by the German manufacturer. The team from 4Vision were given training from Optocore technicians before taking delivery of the systems. Meanwhile, French partners Lumière & Son and GB4D provided the interfaces required for the setup.

The skyline in Brzegi dominated by 67 audio towers, 13 of which were equipped with intercom systems. Also used were 28 video walls with four rings of fibre deployed. The set was designed by Lumière & Son and setup by Gigant Sound at its Paris headquarters, before technicians from 4Vision arrived to collect the systems and receive their training. The 4Vison team would build three Optocore rings, as well as 18 BroaMan Mux22 and two Route66 that were supplied by Lumière.

An Optocore device in each of the towers distributed analogue,AES and LAN Ethernet to Powersoft amplifiers, which in turn drove Outline loudspeakers. Inputs were received at FOH from a Yamaha mixing desk by way of an Optocore Y3R-TP interface card.

In total, 108 Optocore devices were deployed at Campus Misericordiae. ‘The Brzegi location saw the biggest deployment of technical gear ever put out for a single event,’ claims Jurek Taborowski from GigantSound-Letus. ‘Aside from the distances we needed to cover, the advantages of using Optocore was that the system was so simple for installation and control,’ adds Mr Fila.

‘This project used more devices than for COP 21 (Climate Change Conference) and the grand opening of the new Suez Canal,’ confirms Lumière & Son president, Pierre Heyligen. ‘Although it required fewer channels.’

Over in Kraków, 29 delay towers were constructed, each with an Optocore device to provide AES out and LAN control for the d&b audiotechnik D80 amplifiers that powered the loudspeaker setup, which also featured d&b systems. GMB Pro Sound supplied the site with its PA equipment, sourced from GB4D. A/V distribution was via two Optocore rings, Route66 and nine Repeat48. GB4D also supplied the intercom system used, while GMB provided loudspeakers, amplifiers and mixing desks.

GMB system engineer Kamil Zajdel, designed the Optocore solution alongside Paweł Adamowicz, with assistance from the manufacturer’s Maciek Janiszewski. A purpose-built single-mode fibre infrastructure routed all Optocore and BroaMan devices, which were commissioned by 4Vision. Nine X6R devices were also put to use by GMB.

Nine videowalls were setup in Blonia Park as were three delay zones. An additional smaller site in the park included an extra five delay towers and two videowalls. All 11 videowalls were from Telebeam and connected to the control system through Route66 receivers.

‘We were very happy with our choice in terms of the Optocore devices and there were no major problems while operating them,’ enthuses GMB Pro Audio’s Remigiusz Kasztelnik. ‘The biggest challenge was to connect all devices using existing fibre installation.’

‘We are proud to have been associated with World Youth Day and are delighted by the way our partners worked together to ensure a world class performance,’ concludes Tine Helmle, BroaMan managing director. ‘Our fibre systems have helped broadcast site transmission over some of the biggest and most prestigious global events over the years — but this has to be the largest of all.’

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