One Astellas - Rapport Events
In 2016 Astellas Pharmaceutical celebrated their 10th anniversary. The challenge was to find a way to bring together 4,700 people from 21 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa; helping them to celebrate the past ten years and uniting them in one single vision of the future. The solution was 'One Astellas', a 3 hour live tv show, linking 16 locations across EMEA, produced by Rapport Events.
From a sound design perspective we were producing a live event, a live TV show, a recorded TV show and international broadcast. To combine all those elements into one day presented some intriguing design issues. Every element in each of the 16 locations needed to be perfect and enthuse. The system design was split into four discrete elements, live, live broadcast, international broadcast and communication, each element designed to be independent yet able to combine, as the delegates did, into one.
The design for the live room had to achieve perfect audio coverage and yet be discrete enough not to interfere with the live broadcasts, but ensure a perfect result in the studio, so each presenter was wearing two different types of microphone, one for the live event and one perfect for broadcast, which also provided redundancy in the event of issues with a single microphone. The loudspeaker system design was based around a distributed Alcons Audio point source system - the ribbon transducers in the Alcons loudspeakers enable precise coverage only of the areas needed.
The broadcast audio control room was created in a remote, acoustically isolated, room at the London hub to enable a mix to be constructed that would work in any remote location.
A separate matrix hub was created to supply audio feeds to all the remote sites and also receive all the remote site audio, ensuring clean audio feeds to and from each location.
Yamaha CL series consoles were used for all areas, with Dante networking distributing all signals.
The final but most important element of the sound design was communication. Without everyone being able to talk to the correct people, reliably, worldwide and at the correct time the entire show would fall apart very quickly. A new Ethernet based system that Audio Alliance had been developing with a European partner provided the solution, whilst the single site system was already developed, the international linking elements were still in the development and beta stages, pushing this technology forward at a pace we were able to have a fully working and tested worldwide solution that delivered exactly what we needed.
Overall sound designer for the event, Oliver Driver, commented 'Does the person in the second row care about the phase response of a loudspeaker, the type of microphone, mixing console or indeed the colour temperature of a light or the material of a particular piece of set or costume.... they generally do not, but what they do care about is the overall emotional response they have to the small inputs that each of these carefully considered elements have to make an unbelievable performance or experience.'