UEFA Euro 2020: Audio Connections by DirectOut Technologies

In this article we are going to summarize the work done by a team of the highest level, that has made use of products from the Italian company DirectOut Technologies for the management of connections and redundancy of audio signals at UEFA Euro 2020.
DirectOut brought its skills and its products to manage the opening ceremony and in particular the audio signals produced with ProTools, mixed in real time by Arturo Pellegrini with performances of Andrea Boccelli and other artists performing on the playing field. IT manager Claudio Scavazza had the task to manage networking, ethernet infrastructure and remote control.

Audio system and audio network engineer Luca Giaroli and product specialist Senio Corbini from Audiosales (Italian distributor for DirectOut)

In a webinar conducted by Luca Giaroli, participants have been able to discover all connection diagrams, the configurations of the DirectOut Prodigy.MP via the globcon software and the various cases in the event of damage of components.

The UEFA Euro 2020 opening ceremony began at 8.35pm and ended at 8.47pm. 12 minutes of show that involved hundreds of professionals in which nothing could go wrong. It was therefore a question of hypothesizing, preventing and thinking about a whole series of inconveniences that could occur.
It all starts from the show caller‘s two dedicated analog microphones, who laid down the times and actions to be performed and the choreographer who managed dancers and artists, including those who employed the big colored HeliumBalls that were fundamental show elements of the opening ceremony. The two signals were split analogically and sent to the two Prodigy.MP of DirectOut (mp-1 and mp-2).

The main audio connections diagram for the UEFA Euro 2020 opening ceremony

The final “interlocutors” of the mix and of the six signals of the various in ear monitors pre-packaged by Arturo Pellegrini, were the PA system and the Broadcast to which the signal processing was then delivered autonomously by the OBVan and by the stage amplification.
Seven signals were involved, four dedicated to Boccelli and his wife, the latter equipped with a microphone to provide the artist with indications (without the being broadcasted), and three signals dedicated to the various sectors of the show (dancers, acrobats, etc.) .

The signals were delivered via Dante (primary and secondary), separated from the Dante network dedicated to PA and Broadcast. For this reason it was necessary to insert a double Dante card in the Prodigy.MP mp-2, creating a bridge system that could make communicate the two networks.

The management of the redundancy for PA and Broadcast was managed in analogue thanks to the mp-1 and mp-3 with 8 completely independent output signals. Specifically, the outputs of the mp-1 were: program L and R, separate music and vocal and 4 in-ear monitors. The Prodigy.MP mp-3 instead sent the signals of in-ear 5 and 6, together with the monitor and feed signals of the control room and the LTC signals for the pyrotechnic effects and lights.

The Pro Tools system was composed of two mirrored MacBook Pros synchronized via midi, each of them managing 5 channels: ProTools L and R Main, two click tracks and the LTC signal. Since the Yamaha CL5 mixer was able to handle a primary and a secondary Dante signal, but only one DANTE signal came out of each of the two MacBooks, backup and redundancy were handled by two Prodigy.MP (mp-2 main and mp-1 backup) connected to MacBooks via two Dante Primary/Secondary switches in trunking mode.

The redundancy diagram between Pro Tools and the Yamaha console

So, we are talking about the redundancy of two ProTools systems with signals sent in two separate switches and in two separate Prodigy.MP, each of which was able to manage both the ProTools Main and the backup one. By then connecting the Dante board of the Yamaha mixer to the two Dante switches, a coherent redundancy system was obtained with precise management of the primary and secondary signals.
The two Prodigy.MPs were also linked together via a bidirectional coaxial MADI signal which, in the event of a problem in one of the two ProTools, still allowed the system to run through Dante’s secondary port.

During the webinar, Luca analyzed all the possible errors cases and explains in detail how the Dante signal patch was divided and performed within the two Prodigy.MP, as well as a simulation of the setup and operation of the system from the redundancy management point of view.

A particular role had the mp-1, called Backup Mix and useful in case of problems with the Yamaha console. In fact, the mp-1 took the signal from Pro Tools redundantly, with the analog microphones split into both analog and mp-2. In case of problems it was sufficient to set the internal dsp of the machine to be ready to act as a mixer, with a setting that was an exact replica of the mix set on the main mixer.

The backup mix of mp-1

Therefore, in case of problems with the main console, it was possible to recall a global snapshot via globcon  that contained the set of local snapshots of the three devices in play (mp-1, mp-2 and mp-3). Inside globcon a standard snapshot has been created that recalls the initial operation and two other snapshots that can be recalled in case of a fault on the Yamaha console or the Yamaha console and the mp-1.

Global snapshots created on globcon

An additional level of “bad luck” could have been the the mp-2 stopping. In this case, agreed with UEFA and without any manual intervention, everything would have gone analog with the exception of the feeds coming from the field.

A precise, reliable and well thought-out job thanks above to all to the professionals present who made the most of the features offered by the DirectOut devices and the globcon management software.

info: www.directout.eu

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