Inaugural Olympic Esports Week Wows Gamers with L-ISA Spatial Audio Inaugural Olympic Esports Week Wows Gamers with L-ISA Spatial Audio...
J5 Productions deployed L-Acoustics A Series in an immersive hyperreal sound configuration designed and mixed by sound designer Jeffrey Yue
SINGAPORE – October 2023 – Created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in collaboration with various international sports federations and video game publishers, the first-ever Olympic Esports Week was hosted in Singapore’s 12,000 square-metre Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre. The culmination of global qualifying rounds over the previous months involved a four-day event of rounds of console, mobile, and PC games, as well as VR sports such as Taekwondo, cycling, and archery. Esports gamers and VR athletes from around the world competed live to an audience of 20,000 attendees.
With varying content throughout the program, the Olympic Esports Week posed a challenge to the audio team. As is traditional in any Olympic event, the competition was bookended by opening and closing ceremonies. Yet, unlike most Olympic events, these ceremonies were presented in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound.
With a festival-like atmosphere, the entertainment that transpired between the main competitions included live DJ sessions and booths hosted by developers and publishers containing interactive gaming stations where gamers and esports fans could partake in their own competitions. Everything was also streamed live to the IOC’s YouTube channels.
Presplay, Singapore’s live event and theatre company, known for producing notable local events like the Singapore Bicentennial and the WTA Finals, led the creative production for the week-long Olympic event. Presplay turned to sound designer Jeffrey Yue of Ctrl Fre@k to create the sonic atmosphere. A technical brief from Presplay Creative Director Beatrice Chia-Richmond showed Yue that the event would challenge optimum sound design. “The stage design included three massive LED screens stretching across the entire width of the main stage. My sound system design needed to complement these elements without interfering with audience sightline,” he explains.
Yue knew that lengthy arrays of loudspeakers in a left/right configuration would not provide optimal coverage to the wide audience seating area. He also needed to contend with height limitations in the hall. These challenges sparked an opportunity for Yue to design an L-ISA immersive loudspeaker configuration, using smaller hangs spread above the wide screens, giving the opening and closing ceremonies the full benefit of spatial sound and creating an immersive atmosphere worthy of the best gaming experience. The ceremonies featured in-person and virtual speeches from the IOC and Singaporean dignitaries, alongside dance performances and sets from Shigga Shay and Aisyah Aziz. The multi-media spectacle needed to be a visual feast. Yue knew that L-ISA spatial technology would deliver an equally impressive audio fit for an audience accustomed to the latest audio and visual technology. “If we think about audio in gaming today, it’s immersive. All gamers, even at home, rely on a combination of music and sound effects that fly around them in their headsets throughout the game. That is the standard. So, it’s only natural to present immersive audio to a live gaming audience,” states Yue.
Yue proposed a system design that featured a main scene system of five hangs of one L‑Acoustics A15 Focus and Wide each, with four KS21 subwoofers flown in the center. Nine L-Acoustics X12 boxes surrounded the audience seating area for a 360-degree immersive audio experience. J5 Productions provided and implemented the entire system.
Yue needed to be ready for a narrow window of rehearsal time on site, so he worked closely with the creative team, preparing content using L-ISA Studio on his laptop, then brought his mixes to the L-ISA Auditoria at Concept Systems, an L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor in Singapore. Working with Daniel Lee, Application Project Engineer for L-ISA at L-Acoustics, and Gerald Fong of Concept Systems, Yue began crafting the immersive mix while the main stage was in construction. He then completely finalized the mix at the venue on the L-Acoustics A Series-based L-ISA configuration.
The ceremony hit the mark with attendees for being an immersive, cinematic multi-media experience. “I was confident that the system would deliver dynamic sound for the different content needs of both esports and the event programs,” reflects Yue. “Without the technological infrastructure and product knowledge from Concept Systems and the L‑Acoustics APAC technical team based in Singapore, I wouldn’t have been able to tap into invaluable resources to pull off this complex project.”
“Jeffrey’s technical expertise in crafting creative audio solutions for this inaugural global esporting event allowed us to fulfill the requirements of the IOC and wow audiences,” states Chia-Richmond. “Having the L-ISA immersive experience for the opening ceremony allowed our audience to sit back, relax, and enjoy all the gaming action and more!”