Official Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic

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Behind the Scenes 2008 Beijing Episode3

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are Almost there

And Panasonic is on the Scene vol.3

Gary Hardesty
Gary Hardesty
Audio System consultant
Olympic Technology

Hello, my name is Gary Hardesty. I'm a Panasonic audio system consultant, specializing in RAMSA professional audio systems. We've delivered more than 280 speaker systems to 41 venues of the Beijing Olympic Games. It's now June 2008, and I'm here in Beijing to help get everything ready. We're going through rehearsals at the venues as the start of the Games draws closer.

I originally started my career as a sound designer in the U.S., providing sound design services for the largest event in the world. My first contact with Panasonic was at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games in 2002. Since then, I've been working in product development and sound system design as an audio system consultant for Panasonic.

Panasonic's RAMSA professional audio systems have been used now in a total of six Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Their first official use in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, though, was at the Torino Games in 2006. This was largely because the Torino Olympic Organizing Committee recognized the strength of the Panasonic technical team during the tests they conducted in 2005. It also proved to be a major turning point.

Now, our audio system will also be used at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Games. This will include our large WS-LA3 Array Speakers, which will make their debut at the August Opening Ceremony, with people from all over the world watching and listening. This new speaker system features improvements that were designed especially for the Olympic Games, and draws on technology that was developed for our previous, large-venue audio systems.

The main feature of this new speaker system is its ability to reach all areas of the venue with clear sound. At first glance, it appears to be a stack of long, horizontal speakers. By raising its overall height, the system achieves excellent sound quality over a wide plane, rather than from a single point, which greatly expands the sound coverage. Each system covers a larger area, so the total number of systems installed in the venue is reduced. Naturally, this also reduces the amount of work involved in setting them up.

WS-LA3 speakers have already been installed in many of the Beijing Olympic venues, and are now in the rehearsal stage. I spend most of my days recently traveling to the venues to get things ready, and this gives me considerable satisfaction. As a member of the Panasonic tech team, it's an honor to be involved in bringing the excitement of the Olympic Games to people all over the world.

Working with Japanese and Chinese engineers on this project has also been a challenge. Faced with different languages and cultures, it's been extremely important to build relationships of mutual trust. The audio system team has been able to create an exceptionally good system by all sharing the same goals, rather than being overly concerned about each person's rank and position. I hope to be able to put our WS-LA3 development experience to good use in the future, so that people in other parts of the world can enjoy the beauty of this remarkable audio system.

I hope everyone will enjoy sharing the excitement of the Olympic Games with sports fans worldwide. And I hope you'll look forward to the global harmony of the Opening Ceremony -- along with our remarkable audio quality, of course.


Equipment supplied by Panasonic
  • Large-scale video displays 18venues, 25 displays
  • Professional audio systems 41venues, 284 systems
  • Televisions: approx. 10,000 monitors
  • DLP Projector: 11screens
  • AV security equipment: approx. 2,000 units
  • P2HD/DVCPRO HD Recorder: approx. 2000 units
  • P2HD Camera Recorder: approx. 100 units
  • LCD monitor: approx. 1500 units