The Bercy Arena in Paris has undergone a €150m renovation, becoming the AccorHotels Arena and featuring an Optocore/BroaMan digital fibre network.
Originally built in early 1981, the maximum seating capacity has been expanded to 20,300, making it the world’s fourth largest arena. The integration of an Optocore/BroaMan digital fibre network in the new look facility allows for 30 different room configurations, enabling it adapt to the range of sporting events and concerts.
While the main design team was led by architects, DVVD and engineers, Populous, the new technical infrastructure was provided by ENGIE Ineo. The company responded successfully to an AV delivery tender issued by project management company, Astell, under the direction of Patrice Buniazet.
With the venue set to host nearly 130 events each year, according to ENGIE Ineo project manager, Marie-Anne Jofret, the arena had to be extremely adaptable in order to meet the requirements of organisers, promoters and spectators alike. An agile network, she knew, would allow the arena to be able to adapt to the multiple configurations required for all hosted events.
Conversations with Optocore’s technical sales manager (France), Philippe Moreau set the process in motion, and this was boosted by a trip to see the network in action on the set of British television ‘soap’ Coronation Street.
Here the technical consultants could see the unique, fully integrated transport solution in which all audio, video and data signals could be distributed site wide over fibre from any of the studios or stages. This provided conclusive proof of concept.
“Not only could they see a working installation with the designated equipment for our project, but we also studied a particular case, reviewing the implementation of solutions that we had not previously considered,” Jofret explained.
The main requirement was to bring greater flexibility and scalability to the site in order to offer production companies a fast response in terms of reconfiguration from all points of the site. “The latency time between sending and receiving signals also had to be extremely low when managing the live events, or at the OB vans for the video part,” added Jofret.
The audio and video networks needed to support the stage set-up as well as ambient sound for the VIP boxes and public and non-public circulation areas. Video links with the OB broadcast vehicles also needed to be provided, as well as DMX for the lighting.
ENGIE Ineo’s chief designer, Thierry Voisin conceived these networks around two Optocore rings – for PA sound and AV infrastructure. The PA sound ring is managed from the front of house PA position, with AES, Mic & Line distributed to the different technical areas via the Optocore interfaces from a Studer Vista 1 console running MADI.
The AV ring is managed from the central control hub and distributed to different technical rooms. Audio signals (AES, Mic & Line) are relayed from a Yamaha QL1 console. This ring also distributes intercom and video combining Optocore interfaces with BroaMan Mux22 devices.
The video element of the system is run via various distribution points as point-to-point multi-fibre video or multiplexed in single fibre in order to limit the necessary fibre streaming resources required.
Multiple X6R-FX, X6R-TP and V3R-TP were specified in various I/O configurations (Mic In, Line In, Line Out). Also deployed were X6R-FX-INTERCOM devices equipped with intercom board for Clear-Com, DD32R-FX for AES/EBU and DD2FR-FX for MADI — which connects to the Studer Vista 1 for control of the Optocore mic preamps.
For the data and video distribution, a number of BroaMan Repeat48 devices with different I/O configurations were provided in Standard (one channel per fibre) and WDM (multiple channels on a single fibre) — with as many as 12 video channels on a single fibre. The BroaMan Mux22, in addition to video and data, provided intercom connectivity in some locations.
The facility now rivals the largest indoor facilities in the world, such as Madison Square Garden in New York (the only other venue in the centre of a city), the Staples Center in Los Angeles, O2 Arena in London and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.