The Singapore community had every reason to celebrate in a big way at this year’s Chingay Parade. The annual event honoring the Chinese New Year was not only celebrating its 50th anniversary, it was also returning to a live extravaganza format after the pandemic minimized the festivities for the past two years.
CSP Productions, a Clear-Com global rental group partner in Singapore, provided intercom support for the 2022 Chingay show, deploying a Clear-Com Eclipse® HX Digital Matrix solution with FreeSpeak II® Digital Wireless systems. The equipment’s flexibility and performance were a perfect match for the challenging production requirements, scope and timeline of this year’s festival.
The Chingay Parade started in 1973 as a street parade and has evolved into an iconic event showcasing Singapore’s multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan cultures. This year, more than 500 performers from Singapore and around the world performed at the 90-minute event, held at the Jewel Changi Airport's HSBC Rain Vortex atrium.
CSP Productions configured the Clear-Com systems for compatibility with the walkie-talkies used by crews and in-ear monitors used by hosts and talent. An added challenge was the need to link panels for the video team over a distance of several hundred meters, accomplished by using a BroaMan MUX22, a fiber multiplexer for audio, video and data transport device that converts 4-wire signals to fiber and back to 4-wire signals.
According to Jaymie Foo, project manager and crew chief at CSP Productions, the 2022 event was the largest combination of matrix and wireless comms systems deployed in the event’s history. The Eclipse HX system was installed in a mobile flypack, adding much-need portability as the crews moved about the sprawling venue as well as between the rehearsal site and the main venue in the Rain Vortex.
“The venue was more like a shopping mall than a dedicated performance venue in terms of layout,” Foo said. “That made communications among the teams and set-up logistically tricky. But the great thing about the Clear-Com systems are their ease-of-use and deployment agility – two huge benefits considering we only had one day to get the system up and running and moved to the main venue.”
The huge space was only one production consideration. CSP also had to plan for potential system incompatibility and transmission interference caused by other show equipment. System engineers Qi Yin Chang and Maegan Neo noted the Clear-Com technologies provided peace of mind that there would be no communication issues on-site, since the systems seamlessly integrate with other digital wireless systems.Working with a venue located on airport premises was an added challenge since RF systems cannot interfere with aviation communications, but the Clear-Com systems helped easily avoid any conflict.
The total performance space was around 500 square meters and a priority was providing even wireless coverage across the entire area and between technical crews on the floor, talent and event hosts.
“The organizers were worried about working within such a complicated venue, but the system exceeded their expectations,” Foo said. “We got the coverage required for the entire performance area, the talent holding areas outside the Vortex space and a bit more.”
A total of 15 FreeSpeak II wireless beltpacks were distributed to lighting and sound teams and all floor crews. The team also took advantage of the FreeSpeak II system’s ability to easily create separate channels: a main communications channel for everyone including those crew members on walkie-talkies, as well as separate channels for more targeted conversations.
“Flipping between the different departments was incredibly easy,” Foo said. “For example, floor managers needed to talk to the in-ear monitors used by the hosts and talent. We were able to integrate different departments into individual channels as well as share a common channel for the show.”
Foo noted the event had many moving parts that were constantly changing, and the Clear-Com systems allowed them to adapt easily and make changes on the fly.
“The overall project had an extremely tight timeline,” said Foo. “For an event of this scale to be conceived and carried out within a month is quite a feat and we even received several last-minute changes on-site. Most important to us was the amount of flexibility and robustness built into these systems, combined with Clear-Com’s excellent support. We were still making system changes right up to the day before. It speaks to our confidence in the Clear-Com systems that we were making these changes at so late an hour and still felt comfortable enough that we would get the system performance we needed to match the client’s requirements.”