Adelaide's Clipsal 500: Cutting edge technology on and off the track

This year the Clipsal 500 was bigger, faster and more revved up than ever before. And we're not even talking about the V8 Supercars. 

Held over four days from 26 February to 1 March 2015, the Clipsal 500 is a massive V8 Supercar street race that brings over 285,000 people through its gates. Run on a 3.7 km long circuit through Adelaide’s beautiful East Parklands, the Clipsal 500 is a multiple award-winning event, attracting a huge audience both at the track and via broadcast. Staging Connections’ Adelaide team has been proudly involved with the race since it was first run in 1999, and in 2015, radically upgraded their production infrastructure to make this year’s race the most technically sophisticated on the circuit.

One of our main responsibilities of the event is ensuring all attendees have great vision of the track from wherever they are. This year we introduced a new custom HD vision distribution network to all screens; both indoors and outdoors. All corporate clients and viewers around the site enjoyed watching the race in High Definition for the first time, across the huge fleet of indoor 48" and 60" screens and the LED SuperScreens outdoors. David Aparicio, Crew Controller for Staging Connections, was in charge of TV Systems site-wide. “It was a pretty big change this year, as we went from a standard 32”screen to  larger 48” and 60” screens,” said David. “Around 350 units went into 200-plus facilities including corporate suites, event management and race official’s offices, bars, and VIP areas.”

Staging Connections new audio distribution system sees the large amount of audio inputs and outputs needed for the event routed around the track at light-speed via fibre-optic cabling. Up until 2015, audio around the track was run via telephone lines which went through a mainframe and involved copper cabling running from point-to-point. The longest fibre optic run around the track was about 1.2 kilometres. There were eight lines run previously, which were upgraded to 24 lines. In addition, some temporary military-grade fibre ran through underground pits. 

Every aspect of the audio system is controlled and monitored digitally from Staging Connection’s control positions, with technicians able to verify the correct functioning of every amplifier, loudspeaker and microphone around the track. The fleet of broadcast trucks positioned outside the gates were on-hand to cover the event for Foxtel, Channel 10, and V8 Supercar Media. They were able to connect to the vast audio network by simply connecting two fibre-optic cables to a new interface supplied by Staging Connections, drastically shortening their set-up times and simplifying their set-up.

Over four days, through Adelaide summer heat and all the demands of an outdoor event, both the audio and video systems performed flawlessly. Staging Connections has already renewed their contract to provide production on a multi-year deal. “There are a lot of technical and logistical challenges you come across on an event of this scale. Our teams managed those challenges proficiently, which made for a relatively smooth event and a great result” added David Aparicio with modest understatement.

“We are thrilled to be associated with an event such as the Clipsal 500 Adelaide,” said Ashley Gabriel, Staging Connections Regional General Manager for SA, WA and NT. “For over 16 years, the SA Motorsports Board have entrusted Staging Connections with the client-facing event technology. As a client and event owner, they are always keen to improve the attendee’s experience and ensure the four day festival of motorsport is the best V8 Supercar event in the country. To be able to take the audio and vision aspects of this event to the latest in technology is a real honour and privilege. We were ecstatic with the result.”  

“Staging Connections have been fantastic in working with us to understand our objective from the outset; to provide patrons with a better event experience.”

Mark Warren, CEO, South Australian Motor Sport Board

See the full Clipsal 500 Gallery here

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