Official Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic

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Behind the Scenes 2004 Athens Episode3


Sharing the Passion of Sport in the Home of the Olympic Game

Panasonic RAMSA Sound System

Sharing the Passion:The Panasonic message was everywhere in Athens.

Sharing the Passion:The Panasonic message was everywhere in Athens.

Line-array speakers testified to the acoustic excellence of RAMSA.

Line-array speakers testified to the acoustic excellence of RAMSA.

At every Olympic Games, athletes strive to turn in the best results of their lives. In Athens, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, that determination was all the more acute. Equally resolved to outdo itself was the Panasonic team-and none more so than the staff at RAMSA, Panasonic's sound systems brand.

The Panasonic RAMSA team's aspirations were centered on its state-of-the-art line-array speakers. The culmination of technology and expertise gathered over many years, these speakers were the pride of the RAMSA engineers, who had pored over each design to ensure perfect performance when the Olympic Games returned to Greece.

Greece is not just the home of the original, Ancient Olympic Games, it's also the country where the first modern Olympic Games were staged. The spectators who assembled at the stadium in 2004 roared with excitement and urged their champions to greatness with the same enthusiasm as the ancients. What is different this time is that the stadium is far bigger, requiring large-scale video and sound equipment.

Panasonic is proud to support the shared passion and excitement of the athletes and spectators at the Olympic Games, the world's most important sporting event. And at every previous Olympic Games for many years, RAMSA has had the honor of conveying the thrill of the competition in the Olympic Games through sound. But at Salt Lake City in 2002, the RAMSA team's expectations were bitterly disappointed. The speakers they had prepared were not suitable for the characteristics of the main stadium. That failure is one that RAMSA's engineers rue to this day.

The sound was clear and vibrant even in the biggest venues.

The sound was clear and vibrant even in the biggest venues.

With those thoughts in mind, and determined to serve Athens with the best event sound system ever, Panasonic developed the line-array speaker. With conventional speakers, sound suffers from attenuation: the farther sound travels from the speakers, the weaker it becomes. Line-array systems reduce this attenuation factor, so that all spectators, from the closest to the most distant, can enjoy clearly intelligible, high-fidelity sound, even in such vast spaces as the Olympic stadium.

"What we wanted was to ensure that everyone who came to the Olympic venues took home the full thrill of watching the events, the incredible play and the excitement in the air."

Matsumi Takeuchi, the RAMSA team leader, believes that sound is an indispensable part of the sports event experience. He aims for nothing less than subtly conveying the authentic sound of the events to every spectator.

RAMSA's objective at Athens was not to draw attention to its high-performance speakers. Rather, through the sound provided by their speakers, they aimed to stoke the excitement of each moment at the Olympic Games, communicating the passion of the unfolding Games to every spectator in the stadium, so that athletes and audience alike could share in the electric atmosphere of the Olympic Games. This is the ambition behind Panasonic's message at the Olympic Games, "Sharing the Passion."

The 1,800 speakers on which the RAMSA staff had staked their reputation at Athens were erected at 33 locations throughout the Olympic venues. Under the scorching sun of the Greek summer, in giant gymnasiums and on the roofs of 20-meter buildings, the RAMSA team labored to assemble the speakers. With conditions in each venue differing so greatly, even with the most painstaking calculations the team could not avoid a flurry of fine-tuning after the speaker array was installed. One by one, the engineers patiently cleared each hurdle.

Panathinaiko Stadium, scene of the first modern Olympic Games

Panathinaiko Stadium, scene of the first modern Olympic Games

With a week to go before the Opening Ceremony, the hallowed venue that would symbolize the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was at last fitted out with 44 line-array speakers. Panathinaiko Stadium, the main stadium that first hosted the modern Olympic Games 108 years earlier, became the last place the RAMSA team had to work. This was the moment when all the engineers' expertise, culminating from many years of hard experience, would have to crystallize in the ideal sound system for the home of the Olympic Games.

One by one, the line-array speakers are put into place.

One by one, the line-array speakers are put into place.

Damian Rowe, Panasonic's Chief Engineer and the man who assembled the Athens team, is a veteran of many projects for the Olympic Games. With Rowe at the helm, the assembly of RAMSA staff and support members from Japan pulled together to install the line-array speakers, one by one, in the classic horseshoe-shaped stadium.

In the midst of his umpteenth control-room test, Rowe broke into a smile. It had all come together. RAMSA speakers were now in place in most of venues of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, ready to play their part in rousing the excitement of the crowd and making the Games a success. Passion and teamwork were about to pay off, with clear, powerful sound filling every venue for the next 17 days. Rowe said it best:

Panasonic Chief Engineer Damian Rowe

Panasonic Chief Engineer Damian Rowe

"The Panasonic message, 'Sharing the Passion,' sums up the whole Olympic spirit. It's a spirit people can't live without. The Olympic Games are all about peace and goodwill. For us, "Sharing the Passion" means supporting the experience at every venue."

Half a world away in Beijing, Panasonic's preparations for the next Olympic Games are already under way. Just as the athletes are striving for ever higher glory at the Olympic Games, Panasonic continues to advance its technology in unprecedented directions - to bring wonder to the eyes and ears of the world all over again.


Episodes

Equipment supplied by Panasonic
Panasonic's contribution to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games
The host Olympic Games broadcaster, Athens Olympic Broadcasting (AOB) has adopted DVCPRO50 as its official video recording format.
The full complement of Panasonic's broadcasting equipment is used at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) and at 28 venues.
There are a total of over 15,000 different kinds of TV screens in use, including the 14 outdoor ASTROVISION screens, the 10 indoor DLP projectors, and large plasma televisions.
The RAMSA sound system is used in 33 venues including the Olympic stadium, the International Broadcast Center, and the Olympic village.
Panasonic has installed its wind and solar powered 'Kaze Kamome' lighting and surveillance cameras.
  • DVCPRO digital VTRs: 400
  • Digital cameras and camera recorders: 200
  • Monitor cameras: 2,100
  • ASTROVISION screens: 14
  • DLP projectors: 10
  • TVs, including large-scale plasma screens: 15,000
  • RAMSA sound systems: 165
  • Speakers: 1,800
  • 'Kaze Kamome' wind and solar powered systems: 50