Suez Canal opens with Clear-Com
EGYPT: A Clear-Com FreeSpeak II solution has been put to use as the comms system for the opening ceremony of the extended Suez Canal. The solution was supplied by French rental company, Lumiere et Son.
The rental house became involved with the project following the work it did for the D-Day commemorations in Europe. ‘Lumiere et Son did the D-Day ceremony in Ouistreham in June 2014 and the company in charge of the Suez Canal grand opening ceremony wanted the company which did the D-Day event,’ recalled is Pierre Heyligen, general manager at Lumiere et Son.
Lumiere et Son was in charge of the entire audio and video infrastructure for the grand opening of the new Suez Canal. This meant kilometers of optical fibre, three weeks of preparation and tons of equipment. A high quality wireless talkback system was requested for the main site and this provided an opportunity for Lumiere et Son to test its newly purchased FreeSpeak II system.
‘The main site of the ceremony required a configuration close to that used for Ouistreham. But in addition, the ceremony started with a 20km cruise with all the VIPs on a boat,’ explained Mr Heyligen. ‘Thirty different shows were organised along the canal to congratulate the VIPs. We needed to bring back all the audio and video signals coming from these 30 different sites to the main site. All of the connections were done over optical fibre, using equipment from Broaman/Optocore and the Clear-Com intercom.’
The Clear-Com element of the system consisted of A FreeSpeak II base station, a pair of antennas and 12 beltpacks, which were needed for the artistic and the technical teams as well as the fireworks technicians. The antennas were located 10m high at the top of the main building. According to Mr Heyligen, ‘the beltpacks were able to perform perfect coverage, even for the fireworks technicians 500m away.
‘One of the great features of the FreeSpeak II beltpack is the stunning long battery usage. Eighteen hours allows us to equip the technicians in the morning without running after them to change the batteries before the show in the evening,’ he continued. ‘The audio quality is excellent and with the antennas put at the top of the building, the coverage was above our expectation.’
One of the unique aspects of this project came from the frequency spectrum available for the event. ‘We had no problems with the frequency layout as the venue is a military site,’ stated Mr Heyligen. ‘Working with DECT frequencies allowed us to avoid any disturbance from other equipment.’
According to the general manager the event was a success, despite the high temperatures and dusty conditions. ‘Everything went fine despite the very hard weather conditions in the Sinai desert,’ he reflected. ‘The equipment was protected with survival blankets and cooled with fans.’