Australia (April 6, 2006)–The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony saw the implementation of the largest collection of L-Acoustics Kudo elements ever assembled. Playing host to the 80,000+ audience for the event was the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (or MCG).
The MCG may be an internationally acclaimed sporting venue, but it is also a hostile acoustic environment; effectively it is an enormous concrete cauldron, with enough hard reflective surfaces to cause any sound system problems and a reverb decay time that would give any audio engineer nightmares.
Norwest Productions was the audio contractor & supplier for the Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as it was for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and more recently played a crucial role in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympics. Meanwhile, technical director Nick Eltis and audio director Scott Willsallen reprised their roles of Athens 2004 for the Melbourne 2006 event.
The Opening Ceremony on March 15 was an enormous event. As an indication of the scale, there were some 4,750 personal monitor receivers used on the night–one for each and every cast member. For the Opening Ceremony sound, L-Acoustics Kudo boxes were positioned around the perimeter of the field firing into the stands. There were 29 Kudo clusters spaced 15 or 20 meters apart in a left/right, left/right etc., configuration. Each array consisted of three Kudo elements, their splay angles varying depending on the intended coverage. In all, 87 Kudo elements were used.
“The Kudo is the point of focus for the whole system,” revealed audio director Scott Willsallen; “the top Kudo element on the field-of-play is covering the upper bowl, but it has a great distance to cover, hence the delay stacks. But the timing between the Kudo and the flown delay arrays is such that the point of focus remains the field-of-play. The idea is to pull the focus down onto the ground, rather than have it all up in the air where it doesn’t mean anything.”
As the Kudo system, Willsallen reported, “we were given Version 2 presets by L-Acoustics, and it’s sounding significantly better. The Kudo low crossover point has moved, which has made a huge difference to the sound. Getting the new presets on pre-release from L-Acoustics was great as it helped keep the entire system’s bass under control.”