DiGiCo SD7 Mixes For An Audience of 3.5 Million on ‘Copacabana’ Beach

As the first Latin American pontiff, it was unsurprising that Pope Francis chose Brazil as the destination for his first overseas trip since becoming head of the Catholic Church. Generating huge national interest, the visit climaxed with a Mass for World Youth Day on Rio’s famous Copacabana beach, dubbed ‘Popacabana’ for the occasion. DiGiCo SD7 and SD11 consoles played a vital role in relaying the event to 3.5 million pilgrims and a global media audience.

 

The newly-purchased SD7 was supplied by Mac Audio, one of Rio’s leading audio production companies. As the audio supplier for event production company SRCOM, the Mac Audio team has considerable experience of large-scale events on Copacabana’s 2.5 mile beach, but this was the first time they had used their new DiGiCo consoles.

 

“We invested in the SD7 because of its sound quality and dual engine redundancy,” says the company’s Frederico ‘Fred’ Coelho. “On huge events, like the Pope’s visit, you cannot allow anything to go wrong and so the dual engine redundant capability of the SD7 provides peace of mind.”

 

World Youth Day is one of the Catholic Church’s biggest youth festivals. The 28th July Mass was the finale to a three-day event on the beach, which saw over 90 live bands providing live entertainment and an all-night vigil - also led by Pope Francis - leading into the final day.

 

The SD7 was the true heart of the audio system, with two SD Racks hosting 112 analogue inputs, 48 analogue outputs, plus 16 AES inputs and outputs. In addition, the console’s 12 local analogue i/o and 12 AES i/o were all in use. A Purple Box was also linked to an aux MADI output, feeding external submixing consoles for the global media audience, while HD SDI modules in the SD Racks fed video and the SD7's embedded audio for lines to relay screens and delay speakers. Given the vast audience, these were very necessary.

 

Many of the musical acts who performed on the three days leading up to the Mass were high profile Brazilian artists, who provided pre-recorded backing track files. These were fed to a DiGiCo SD11 via a UB MADI USB interface the backing tracks and vocal performances being mixed live.

 

“Time was very tight between the acts and many performed without rehearsing, but the results were great,” says Fred.

 

Renato Carneiro, DiGiCo’s Brazilian technical support from AUDIO SYSTEMS, the Brazilian DiGiCo´s distributor, trained Fred and his team on the DiGiCo consoles when they were delivered and provided telephone support during the setup and event. He was very impressed with what they achieved. “Fred and his team did a great technical job on what was a very complex and, of course, high profile event,” he says.

 

“We have a lot of experience in big events and know that meticulous planning is the secret to their success. You need to arrive on site with everything absolutely ready,” adds Fred. “But I honestly don't know how I would have done the job without the SD7. I would have had to use so much more equipment to achieve the same result.

 

“With the SD7, I had everything at hand. It is simply the best console I've ever worked on in 20 years of pro audio.”

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