PRC Anniversary

Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Peoples’ Republic of China saw a cast of more than 100,000 assembled in Tiananmen Square for an event that would be televised to a significant proportion of the 1.4bn Chinese. It was by President Xi Jinping, as well as some past Presidents and all the government officials.

The military parade involved 15,000 marching personnel, 600 vehicles and 180 aircraft in the flypast. There were also 110,000 in the civil parade with 70 floats, multiple guns firing a 21 shot salute and the President taking the parade salute from a moving car.

All the audio had to be intelligible to those present as well as the TV audience…

The consequences of any interruption to the military precision of the parade would be daunting. The fact that it not only worked perfectly live, but has also been hailed as the best sound ever produced for a live broadcast, has much to do with the top team of audio experts assembled to manage the event and the quantity and quality of the Merging equipment used.

Merging's Anubis and OvationTiananmen Square is a huge open space and although there is a public address system on site, it is not going to deliver broadcastable quality audio or even something that can be followed by the symphony orchestra of 1,028 musicians and a chorus of 100,000. All important audio cues such as the sound of the salute, the orchestra and chorus of 1,000 and other key elements of the event were recorded three months before in DXD using Merging’s Pyramix.

This was then replayed live with the sound effects on Merging’s Ovation system in Cue mode. This allows the live sound to be mixed with the pre-recorded for a vastly improved listening experience. To achive this, several hundred cues haad to be programmed in advance and adjusted during rehearsals.

Two Ovation MassCore systems were responsible for this task and at the same time there were two Pyramix MassCore systems recording 128 channels over a three-hour period. Using the Ravenna network and optical fibre, it is easy to have these systems backing each other up. As may be imagined, there were a lot of microphones on site spread over a large area that needed to be mixed into the 128 channels and multiple Horus and Hapi units looked after this task. Even the new Merging+Anubis found a role to play in this impressive system.

Tiananmen SquareAll this audio information was being captured in surround and fed back to CCTV’s studios. Engineers there used Lawo consoles to mix the multiple live feeds and manage the various delays caused by the distances involved. The final results were broadcast to the mobile phones, tablets and televisions of the huge Chinese audience all over the country watching the parade and the evening party with fireworks.

An event of this magnitude needs the benefit of talent and experience to make it run smoothly and this was certainly the case here. The leader of the team was Li Dakang, the most well-respected recording engineer in China and a professor at the China Media University in Beijing. Among those helping him were various students and protégés of his. Cao Meng is a professor at the China Music Conservatory, Fend Hayang is now General Manager of Genelec’s office in China and Zhang Li Yong.

From a technical perspective, the Merging equipment was supported by Dreamula under the leadership of Zhu Jie. Also in attendance was Merging Asia President, Weishen Xu. A number of other experts were also recruited by Li Dakang to contribute expertise to other aspects of the installation.

The event was on a truly epic scale, Ovation playout, Pyramix recording and editing and a full range of networked audio Ravenna/AES67 converters, this memorable celebration has joined the long list of mission critical events that have been powered by Merging.

More: www.merging.com

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