With more than 10,500 athletes from 45 nations competing the 2006 Asian Games staged in Doha in December, was a big multi-sport event.
A reported 1,000 global event specialists from across the world working under the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) from purpose-built facilities in Doha arranged the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies held at the magnificent Khalifa Stadium.
Communications between the hundreds of people involved in the ceremonies was a complex task that needed to be reliable and to deliver quality interactions all of the time. Australian-based specialist Ian Anderson of Mitech Design was contracted by David Atkins Enterprises, producers of the ceremonies, to design the communications. The P.A. People installed and managed the systems as well as supplying a ground staff of fifteen personnel.
Gear supplied included 960 Motorola radios, 32 RFT Eclipse Duplex Radio, 42 Motorola GM 338 Simplex Interfaces, 4 Broadcast FM Transmitters, 4 Shure Radio mic and 6 IEM systems for Flying Safety Communications between Automation operators and cast.
Importantly a Clearcom Eclipse Matrix System with 240 Ports including eight CCI22 PL interfaces and forty FOR22 4wire interfaces was deployed. Added to that were forty-two Clearcom Istation keypanels, six Clearcom ICS92 Keypanels, eight Clearcom ICS62 keypanels, twelve Clearcom ICS102 keypanels, sixteen Clearcom ICS2003 keypanels, two Clearcom 4224 keypanels and two Clearcom 4222 keypanels.
"Communications is the only technical department that actually has to deal with all areas of the show from what's happening on the field to transport, operations and security," noted Ian Anderson, Communications Manager and Designer for the ceremonies. "A lot of emails and phone calls were required!"
Ian operated and programmed the Clearcom system frame having proven his capabilities earlier in the year doing the same role in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games Ceremonies.
For Doha, Ian did all of the pre production work such as predicting and advising on radio numbers, infrastructure design and making sure the technology would work with the creative aspects of the show.
"All of the main operators for the show had keypanels allowing them to all be a part of a group or talk individually to different people," explained Ian.
"Examples of the areas are: ten panels for lighting operators and systems staff, fourteen for Automation operators, ten for Audio and there are twenty-two in the main control space for producers, choreography, technical directors and show callers. Most departments had at least two radio channels; an engineering and a show operations channel. Automation had up to nine channels running at once due to the complexity and the amount of operators needed to rig and run the flying system."
The Clearcom product has now been used by the The P.A. People for several major ceremonies around the world including the Sydney Olympics 2000, Rugby World Cup 2003, Athens 2004, Melbourne 2006 and now Doha 2006.
"Clearcom has been behind us all the way showing support for the product and providing quality equipment that end users find easy to use and understand," stated Ian. "The operators and show crews need to feel comfortable behind there communications equipment. The Clearcom product is intuitive and it doesn't take long for an operator to become familiar with the product. My aim is to have the communications system blend into everyday life on these events and the base for this is a good matrix system, radio network and supports staff. This was achieved in Doha."
The communications department also provided the entire cable infrastructure for not only themselves but also for IT and telephones throughout the control areas. A twelve-camera IP based video surveillance system was also installed as was the entire cable and fibre infrastructure for the show.