Case Study: BRICS Summit, China
Hurrairah bin Sohail discusses the audio deployment at the Banlam Grand Theatre, handled by Eastern Acoustic Development, for a performance that was attended by the heads of state of the BRICS member nations and broadcast live.
BRICS is the acronym for an
association of five major
emerging national economies,
namely Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa. The
BRICS members are recognised as leading
developing countries and as of 2015 accounted
for 41% of the world’s population. Leaders of the
BRICS nations meet annually to discuss matters
of political, economic and social importance to
the members. The ninth such BRICS Summit was
held in Xiamen, China on September 3, 2017.
The next day, the Chinese leaders provided a
reception to the attending heads of state at an
evening gala held at the Banlam Grand Theatre.
The gala evening consisted of performances
which included ‘Wind from the Sea’, ‘Sky and the
Sea’, ‘Rhythm of the Sea’, ‘Tide and the Sea’ as
well as ‘Dream from the Sea’. The performances
were broadcast live to audiences on China
Central Television including the channels CCTV-
1, CCTV-3 and CCTV-4.
Tian Chensheng, chief acoustic designer,
worked on making sure audio for the gala
was handled without a hitch. He prepared a
detailed audio design proposal in April 2017 in
conjunction with input from Chen Chen, director
of the audio department at CCTV as well as
the audio retransmission team from CCTV. Situ
Guangwen, general manager of Eastern Acoustic
Development (EAD), was also included in the
discussions to give his input regarding equipment
Chensheng was given access to the
performance site at the Banlam Grand Theatre
on July 30, 2017. This led him to further refi ne
his design as he made adjustments. EAD Digital
Technology was given the task of deploying a
wireless microphone system and the work was
headed by Cheng Yulin, chief technical engineer.
Work was completed over a two month period
before the BRICS Summit.
In the evening gala, 200 channels of
Beyerdynamic TG1000 digital wireless
microphones were used by piano ensembles,
Chinese instrumental ensembles and other
musicians and vocalists. An additional 20 channel
wireless provision was made available for backup
and redundancy. Collectively nearly 240 channels
of wireless microphones and 100 channels of
wired microphones were deployed on site.
Seeing that the heads of state of the BRICS
member nations were in attendance at the gala
and a global TV audience was also watching,
failure was not an option. The technology had
to work without glitches. EAD is proud to report
that all the 200 channels of TG1000 digital
wireless microphones were fi red up and on
standby mode, and none of them were powered
down until all performances were completed.
The Golden Hall of the Banlam Grand Theatre
can accommodate approximately 1,500 audience
members in a shoe box layout.
Eight WA-ATDA active directional antennas
were installed on both sides of the stage, ensuring
that the numerous TG1000 bodypack transmitters
used by the chorus would always be within the
coverage of signals. After being amplifi ed on
WA-AMP2, the signals were transmitted to
WA-ZPAD for integration, and then sent to 24
TG1000 digital receivers via fi ve WA-AS6 signal
distributors. A cascade connection for antennas
offered by TG1000 digital receivers was employed
to make sure that the system worked without any
problems or complications.
EAD and the audio team had their work cut
out. The wireless frequency conditions in the
performance venue were notoriously harsh given
the vast and intense security intercom system
deployed for such an important international
event. Using the 470MHz to 789MHz wide-
band spectrum scanning technology provided
by TG1000, EAD engineers initiated strict
monitoring of on-site radio frequency variations,
followed by numerous system adjustments. The
stability and fl exibility that the TG1000 system
provided enabled experienced engineers from
EAD to manage the project.
Special considerations also had to be made for
each individual performance. The second chapter
‘Sky and the Sea’ was a piano and violin duet. With
a mechanically elevating stage being used, the
piano was required to be moved horizontally to
the centre of the stage. Thus, wired microphones
could not be used for picking up the sound. Ten
TG1000 bodypack transmitters were ingeniously
concealed beneath the piano and inside the
costume of the violinist. In addition, there was
almost no signal compression thanks to the digital
transmission technology applied in the system.
In the Banlam-fashion chorus ‘Rhythm of the
Sea’, the actress leading the song was dressed
in national costume and her performance was
accompanied by music played by instruments
with distinct Chinese characteristics. The 40
channel TG1000 bodypack transmitters equipped
with TG L58 clip-on microphones were used to
record audio for this performance.
In the following chapter, ‘Tide and the Sea’,
a children’s chorus, 36 channel TG L58 clip-on
microphones and TG1000 bodypack transmitters
were also used. To fi t with the different costume
colours of the performers, skin-toned and black
TG L58 microphones were respectively deployed.
In this way, the clip-on microphones wouldn’t
be easily spotted even in zoom-in camera shots,
thus ensuring zero infl uence on the visual effects
on the stage.
In the fi nal chapter, the orchestra chorus ‘Dream
from the Sea’, TG1000 bodypack transmitters
equipped with 54 channel TG L58 clip-on
microphones were used for the vocal chorus.