Last year’s largest event was the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games. Imagine having to care for its PA system. Roland Hemming, from RH consulting shared his experience as audio consultant at the AVNC2013.

“Many times we hear the media talk about the Olympics as they would about a world cup. Well, in fact, the Olympics and Paralympics were like having 25 world cups simultaneously.’
The overall responsibility for the AV project for LOCOG fell into the hands of Damian Rowe and Christiaan Page from Sports Technology. RH Consulting worked directly for LOCOG and was responsible for delivering all PA systems, wired communications and audio for disability and emergency audio systems – excluding the opening and closing ceremonies.

Hemming explains: “The games were a kind of hybrid. It was planned as if it was a fixed installation, with very accurate and detailed parameters, but it was executed as a live event. Specific to the games was that this was a broadcasting event. We had to make sure different areas were zoned out correctly and that the right sound could be picked up by the microphones – from the swishing of the water in aquatic sports to the fans’ cheering. We could have no audio in the field of play.’
There were a total of 400 PA systems and the AV team had to jump through a few hoops to make sure the installation met British standards and Olympic requirements.

Hemming was involved on the project for a year and says that his role seemed more like a diplomat’s job than an audio consultant’s. “I worked with hundreds of people because it was my job to liaise with each venue team across about 50 venues. There were about 40 competition venues, but there were also a number of non-competition venues such as the Olympic Villages. In addition I dealt with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), a number of local councils and many of the contractors supplying LOCOG. I also had to liaise with OBS – the Olympic Broadcasting Service,’ said Hemming.

The Olympics was a true top spectacle and new skills and strategies had to be developed. RH Consulting won the Consultant or Project Manager of the Year award at the 2013 InAVation awards held in Amsterdam. What next? Well, the air ticket says Brazil!

By Geny Caloisi