Ruawai Rakenna at Lawo console

The biggest sporting event ever to take place in New Zealand, the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which kicks off on 9 September with a match between New Zealand and Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland.

The competition will be televised by Sky Network TV, broadcasting 48 matches in high-definition with 5.1 surround audio. To accommodate the sound requirements, Auckland-based audio facilities company OSB has standardised on Lawo digital mixing consoles for all of its Rugby World Cup OB operations.

On Site Broadcasting (OSB) has spent several years readying for the event, commissioning new HD vehicles and equipping them with Lawo mc²66 mixing consoles. ‘We’ve had quite a lead up to the Rugby World Cup,’ agrees OSB founder, Ray Standidge. ‘Usually we cover about 175 rugby matches in a year, and this year we’ve had the Super 15 season, between teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, and the ITM Cup, which has played 14 matches every week.’

The 12 venues hosting the matches will be attended by OSB’s fleet of four HD vehicles, supplemented by two flyaway units also equipped with Lawo consoles. ‘These are highly-specified matches and, even though we are used to it, this eight-week tournament will require a lot of back-up,’ Standidge says.

All of OSB’s vehicles are designed as stand-alone audio and video broadcasting units. With technical specs that include up to 276 inputs, 48 sub-groups, 32 aux sends and 96 track buses, the mc²66 consoles can be configured in hundreds of different ways – but they won’t be. ‘We wanted all our audio facilities to be identical, with the same configuration for each console so the operators would be able to move between them seamlessly.’

‘The whole audio network is carried on a single fibre-optic cable,’ says Rene Bullinga from Protel, Lawo’s distributor in NZ, who also points to the exceptional redundancy provisions of the Lawo systems as being an influential factor in OSB’s choice. ‘OSB will gain advantage by using the same spec for each of their mobile units. Although the flyaway kits are using mc²56 consoles, more compact and therefore more flexible for situations where space is at a premium, all the units are using the same combination of cores and I/O and Dallis.’

Typically the OSB configuration is mc²66 (or mc²56) console with router, and two Dallis units for accessing machines and EVS playback units in the OBV. Another Dallis stagebox is used in the field, and a fourth one is place in the commentary box to handle commentary feeds and intercom returns.

The OSB OBVs are using VSM Control as their management system, benefitting from its direct interface with the Lawo equipment. ‘Not only do you get great flexibility in the system, allowing very quick changes from one set-up or operator to another, but you don’t have to have an audio layer on the vision router,’ says Bullinga.

‘Everything audio at this World Cup is Lawo,’ confirms OSB’s Ray Standidge. ‘Our guys have been using the Lawo products for several years now, and we’re very comfortable with their technology and the level of support they give us. Protel is holding critical spares here in NZ because of the important of the event, and we have no doubt that the systems will deliver sonically and in terms of reliability.’

More: www.lawo.de

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