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Commonwealth Games delivers Creative Sports Technology from Starting blocks to finishing line

With 4,500 athletes and over a million spectators attending from all over the world competing in 286 sessions across the 11 exciting days of live sport, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games delivered an amazing spectacle to all.

Creative Technology and specialist subsidiary Sports Technology played a pivotal role in delivery of complex AV infrastructure across all 19 competition venues. Out of the blocks CT provided LED and server support for the amazing opening ceremony, through the games period ST delivered Audio & Video venue overlays, IP based venue wide infrastructure and comms solutions. Then with the finishing line in sight, the CT stepped back in for the overnight transition into the spectacular closing ceremony.

With a long tradition in delivering major ceremonial events, it was a huge honour for Creative Technology (CT) to be working on a major project of this type, once again in the UK. Engaged by Birmingham Ceremonies (a Joint venture between Gary Beestone Associates and Done and Dusted), CT provided LED display technology and playback services for both the opening and closing shows

Centre stage on the stadium floor the ‘Bullring’ was made from a specialist outdoor and waterproof LED, created measuring over 260m in circumference, incorporating ramps for vehicle access in several locations and a seamless removeable section allowing larger scenic access including the now ‘iconic’ massive mechanical bull. At one end of the stadium a huge telescopic LED tower 12m high when fully extended was a spectacular centrepiece  for the overall production and in addition to these custom elements built specifically for the show, CT also supplied the four main LED screens within the stadium which remained in place throughout the Games.

Delivering content to all these displays CT deployed their custom G1 server platform running Pixera software. The G1 hardware is configurable to run multiple software options increasing flexibility, utilisation and consequently making it a more flexible and cost-effective solution

Ross Howard, veteran of several major ceremonies including London in 2012 and now CT’s Project Manager for Birmingham 2022, commented “Managing a project on this scale is both a huge challenge and a great honour. The ambition and attention to detail from the creative team means we are pushing technology to the limit and constantly innovating to achieve visual perfection. It is a great experience to be working alongside so many industry leaders and showing once again that we Brits really know how to put on a show!”

With the opening ceremony over attention moved to the games themselves with Sister Company ST now holding the baton as the ’Official Large Video Screens & Audio Services Provider. Established in the UK in 2010 in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics ST is a specialist focused on delivering AV and associated technology services to major multi-sport events.

Alongside multiple complex PA systems, 19 bespoke video productions systems and over 150 crew, one of the highlights Birmingham games was the deployment of our new signal distribution platform TFC FLOW. FLOW allows transmission of multiple signals for data, intercom, video, and audio (DIVA) over one IP based fibre infrastructure across all venues.

The TFC FLOW solution takes functionality and flexibility to a whole new level and in a more cost-effective package. The system is built around group company NEP’s proprietary software “TFC” with the integration of scalable hardware from the likes of Grass Valley, RTS and Embrionix. The TFC FLOW system is already creating significant interest across multiple markets and will be deployed at more major events during 2022.

As part of CT’s education initiative ConneCT, CT engaged closely throughout the build up and delivery of the games with Resonance, a state-of-the-art music institute in the West Midlands, to engage at all levels with students around technology workshops and placement opportunities, hopefully creating future employment opportunities with the group.

The team hosted multiple sessions and demo days at Resonance over the previous year and were excited to have offered a unique opportunity to the students to get involved in the event. Five students were brought into the production teams, shadowing experienced crew members, and gaining valuable skills that they can take forward with them as they progress through their careers. It was a pleasure to support the next generation and we look forward to a fruitful relationship with Resonance moving forwards

With the games drawing to a close, attention focussed back to the Alexander stadium again for a fantastic closing ceremony featuring a whirl wind tour of the last few decades showcasing Birmingham’s culture through music and performance. CT again delivering the LED and server systems for the visually spectacular show which was installed overnight.

Summing up, Dave Crump CEO of CT EME says. ‘It was huge honour to be part of this, our 8th Commonwealth games, and fourth consecutive edition. Our teams worked tirelessly both on site and back at base to deliver an amazing games in hugely challenging circumstances. Massive thanks to all of them, our suppliers and of course our clients in supporting both CT and ST in continuing to build on the legacy that started in London 10 years ago.