Cape Town, South Africa (December 18, 2003)–The recent World AIDS concert held in Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium, South Africa, was broadcast to an international audience of over two million. The star-studded show featured performances from Queen, Bono, Beyonce, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel and The Corrs, and was hosted by Nelson Mandela. The concert was being recorded for post production and DVD, and FX Group’s technical director Frank Oglethorpe was on hand to oversee the process.
FX Rentals was called in by Toby Alington of Richmond Studios with a brief to supply and supervise a system that could record 152 tracks plus a backup. Working out of two porta-cabins, Oglethorpe assembled a set-up consisting of an ‘A’ and ‘B’ live mix/record system. The A system–handling tracks 1 through 72–comprised two Midas Heritage consoles recording onto an iZ Radar24 and a Sony PCM3348 HR and backed up by two Tascam MX2424s and three DA88s. Taking care of tracks 73 to 152 was a Yamaha PM1D console digitally feeding another Sony PCM3348 HR and four Tascam DA88s, backed up by more Tascam MX2424s and DA38/88s.
“This was the most complicated and largest flight-cased recording system we’ve ever put together,” said Oglethorpe. “What made it a bit easier was taking the AES out of the PM1D and converting it to MADI for the Sony 48 and then running the last 32 channels direct on TDIF to the Tascams. The A system consisted of analog inputs to the record machines–a serious amount of copper! Plus, as the Heritages don’t have onboard dynamics or effects, we supplied over 50 channels of outboard and more copper to connect it all. Considering the amount of spaghetti, the system was amazingly clean, with not a buzz or hum anywhere.”
FX Rentals also supplied the video sync and time code distribution crucial to all live and digital recordings, with a Brainstorm time code analyser used to check there was no drift between the two systems.
The well-respected Tim Summerhayes and Justin Shirley-Smith provided a broadcast mix. “The whole event went off very well; all data stuck to disc or tape and has since been transferred into Pro Tools,” concluded Oglethorpe. “Working with Toby and Tim is always a pleasure.”