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Yamaha DME Mix Engines and RG Jones partner to serve up improved communications at Wimbledon 2008

Aug, 2008

After a successful trial in 2007, The Championships 2008 - more commonly known as Wimbledon Fortnight - saw the hosting All England Lawn Tennis Club elect to replace its longstanding scoreboards on Centre and No.1 Courts with state-of-the-art LED screens.

The new screens meant that the scoreboards could be put to a much wider range of uses, so improved communications between the court control booths and the main screen control room were essential. And these communications were significantly aided by four Yamaha DME4io-C high-performance terminal I/O processors.

Wimbledon-based RG Jones Sound Engineering has been the main audio contractor for the All England Club for over 20 years.

“At such a high profile event, reliability is everything. A breakdown in communications would cause huge problems,” says the company’s Jon Berry. “We needed a straightforward device that would sit on the installed network and transmit audio extremely reliably. With four inputs, four outputs and onboard processing, the Yamaha units did exactly what was required, but didn’t include a lot of expensive features that weren’t necessary for this role.”

The main screen control room is outside the main courts, at the top of the Aorangi Terrace, popularly known as Henman Hill. The DME4io-Cs were located here and in the screen control booths on Centre and No.1 Courts, where the vision mix for the screens was being done.

“The system was linked into our audio network system via CobraNet, which maximised flexibility,” says Jon Berry. “Using the LED screens in place of dedicated scoreboards meant that there had to be much more in the way of communications regarding their use.

“For instance, the screens were used to replay ‘Hawkeye’ automatic line judge graphics to the court during a match, so we extended the communications system to include their control room as well.”

“Then, after a match, the screens might be used to relay the visuals of an interview with the winning player to the audience in the court, so the control centre needed to let the local booths know when the feed was ready and for us to route the sound of the interview to the court PA system.

“We also used it to help sort out any issues with the big screen at the foot of Aorangi Terrace.”

The use of the new LED scoreboards certainly added increased workload to the comms system, but Jon Berry was very satisfied with the performance of the Yamaha modules.

“They worked really well and - critically - they were extremely reliable. They did precisely what we needed them to do.”


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