MLB All-Star 2018: CP Communications Relies on Shure Wireless Gear in D.C.
As the key audio and video vendor for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week festivities, CP Communications also acted as frequency coordinator for all events across the event campus in and around Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Working with three major broadcast networks (MLB, FOX, and ESPN) as well as MLB digital properties, CP Communications provided roughly 150 channels of low-power wireless, including talent microphones, field effects audio, ENG crews, and communications (IFB/PL). President/COO Michael Mason was on hand with a crew of 27 to operate all the needed broadcast hardware.
Along with Axient Digital, CP Communications used its stock of UHF-R and ULX-D wireless in key applications during the week. Monitoring for all Shure wireless systems was made available through Shure Wireless Workbench software.
“This was outdoors in DC, so it was a tough coordination,” says Mason. “We used a lot of Shure wireless at various events, including the new ADX Axient Digital transmitters, to help meet our clients’ needs.”
At Nationals Park, seven channels of Axient Digital and ULX-D digital wireless were used by key talent during the game-day Red Carpet show, an event designed to give fans an off-the-field look at the style and swag of the players. For this broadcast event, CP Communications used the advanced ADX2FD Axient Digital handhelds, which use frequency diversity to ensure optimal transmission by providing redundant audio on two different radio frequencies. The receiver captures audio from both frequencies simultaneously, so audio is preserved if frequency becomes compromised.
Another interesting application was field effects audio, designed to bring on-field sounds to home viewers. As part of this EFX design, wireless microphones were deployed inside the bases at first, second, and third. High-powered UHF-R bodypacks were selected for this purpose, which required 18 transmitters using 3 channels, due to the frequent changing of the physical bases during the All-Star Game. On the broadcast set itself, six more Shure UHF-R systems – again, in high-power mode – were in use during the game.
Outside the stadium, two separate facilities benefited from Shure wireless for five straight days during All-Star Week. At Play Ball Park, a 56,000 square-foot area featuring interactive family baseball activities, two Axient Digital systems were deployed. At the same time, two channels of UHF-R were in constant use at Fan Fest in the nearby Washington Convention Center, which featured baseball skills activities, autograph sessions with MLB Hall of Fame members, and special events each day.
While a five-day, high-profile event involving multiple networks in an outdoor urban setting is inherently difficult, CP Communications delivered superb wireless audio throughout MLB All-Star Week. Michael Mason attributes that success to a combination of preparation, expertise, and equipment.
“All week long, everything went really well, and I give our crew credit for that. Our frequency coordinators did a great job of getting us clear channels, and that’s what it takes to make all that great gear shine in a difficult situation,” says Mason. “It was great to have Axient Digital available, especially the new, advanced version. We used a lot of Shure product, found a lot of uses for it, and it performed as expected – flawlessly.”