Australian based Norwest Productions, part of the NW Group of sound, lighting, staging, projection, LED and comms companies, has successfully completed the audio contract for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Norwest director, and founder, Chris Kennedy was on hand at the opening ceremony as he has been for over thirty-five major ceremonies events since Sydney Olympics 2016.
Kennedy says: “When we did the Sydney Olympic ceremonies in 2000 I had no idea that this would be an ongoing business that has now become part of the company’s DNA. We have now done every summer Olympic opening and closing ceremony this millennium, other than Beijing – a total of four. I am sure that is a record that will be very difficult to surpass”.
Many of the specialist Norwest team working on Rio started on Sydney 2000 including FOH engineer, and head of audio at NWG, Ian Shapcott and Steve Caldwell the Norwest spectrum guru who designed and managed the implementation of radio devices with 3,500+ individual frequencies.
Norwest designed the complex system in-house, and partnered with local firm Loudness to provide the audio requirements. Norwest has partnered with local companies at every international event they have done. Kennedy: “We believe that we should be sharing the experience and the economic benefits with local suppliers and crew. We hope that this leaves a lasting legacy after we leave the country – and we make a lot of great friends over the world”.
Over the sixteen years since the Sydney games Norwest has developed custom specialist equipment and systems that ensure each ceremony goes perfectly. There is no room for anything to go wrong. Kennedy: “It’s all about backup. With few exceptions the only things that don’t have a backup are the things that have two backups…such as the protocol lectern which feeds into the digital audio system, the analogue backup system and has a third RF transmission system. Combined with multiple capsules in the Rode designed and manufactured custom microphone a great many things would have to go wrong before we lost the IOC president Thomas Bach’s important words!”
The spectacular ceremonies, under the direction of executive producer Marco Balich, exceeded all expectations.