WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2009—The HBO open signal presentation of "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial" served as the nation's televised kickoff of the 56th Presidential Inauguration. Captured live at the National Mall, the event drew hundreds of thousands to our nation's capital to see and hear a stellar lineup of talent, including Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, U2, Sheryl Crow, Shakira, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and others. Sound reinforcement for the star-studded concert was courtesy of Clair Global and was mixed-for-air by veteran television production mixer Ed Greene. Wireless chosen for the event included 16 channels of Shure UR4D systems, using various combinations of bodypack and handheld transmitters, many of which sported SM58® capsules.
Seen and heard in its totality, calling the Clair system an exceptionally ambitious audio undertaking fails to convey the sheer magnitude of its complexity, which spanned two miles from the Lincoln Memorial steps to the Capitol using a combination of the Lititz, Pennsylvania-based company’s i5 and i3 enclosures in the main PA and delay towers. With video support traveling the entire distance as well, Clair RF systems engineer Kevin Kapler worked with wireless frequencies on-site, while Ralph Mastrangelo and Mike Wolf shared supervising duties, and Robert Kosloskie stepped-in as crew chief.
"In a town buzzing with the excitement of the inauguration, and awash with radio signals…our RF was rock-solid," Mastrangelo reports. "Our Shure wireless systems gave us a wider palette of frequencies to choose from, and that translated into more freedom in terms of locating the best channels of operation."
The HBO airing of the event was executive produced by George Stevens, Jr. (The Kennedy Center Honors), and produced by Don Mischer (Olympic Ceremonies) and Michael Stevens (The American Film Institute Salutes). With Andrew Fletcher mixing the mall PA, television production mixer Ed Greene (Super Bowl XLIII, American Idol, et al.) worked with Clair to specify mic capsules used with the concert's Shure UHF-R wireless.
"I particularly like the KSM9 capsule," Greene admits. "But given the nature and atmosphere of the concert, Clair felt that SM58s would work better. I deferred to their judgement. We tried them in rehearsals, and they worked just fine. We were very blessed on this event. The wireless coordination was very good, and our systems gave us high quality performance."
As the last stop in the signal chain before the HBO program went to air, Ed Greene's mixing console served as a conduit to capture the aural reality of the event and transmit it to millions of viewers tuning in at home.
"The central responsibility I had," he says of his role in the project, "was to put the viewers at home right at the event?make them feel like what they were hearing was from a middle seat in the tenth row. Vocals were in the center, with some divergence left and right just to give them some weight. My mix was a balance of what I heard. I essentially manipulated all of the audio elements so that viewers would feel like they were sitting in the sweet spot of the sound field. I didn't hear what it sounded like as aired, but those who did tell me it worked."
Songs chosen for the cable broadcast were picked by the performing artists that expressed the hope and optimism of the people the inauguration brought together. "This is a great opportunity to capture a historic event in a very meaningful setting," Don Mischer told the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) before the show. "We will have the statue of Abraham Lincoln looking down on our stage and a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people lining the mall?a tableau any director would relish."
About Shure Incorporated
Founded in 1925, Shure Incorporated (www.shure.com) is widely acknowledged as the world's leading manufacturer of microphones and audio electronics. Over the years, the Company has designed and produced many high-quality professional and consumer audio products that have become legendary for performance, reliability, and value. Shure’s diverse product line includes world-class wired microphones and wireless microphone systems for performers and presenters, award-winning earphones and headsets for MP3 players and smartphones, and top-rated phonograph cartridges for professional DJs. Today, Shure products are the first choice whenever audio performance is a top priority.
Shure Incorporated corporate headquarters is located in Niles, Illinois, in the United States. The Company has additional manufacturing facilities and regional sales offices in China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, The United Kingdom, and the United States.