July 30, 2012

Why Use Intercom?

Photo Credit: Josh Hancock, Hope Community Church

"The answer to this question is that form follows function. Intercom was invented to solve live production requirements. It is designed specifically for the challenges and situations inherent to this type of environment. Any other communications systems you try to implement for live production in your facility will always be a 'workaround'," says Bob Boster in the Technologies for Worship Magazine article, Why Use Intercom?. In this article, he discusses the factors for house of worship facilities to consider before making the leap to intercom including cost, communication requirements, and infrastructure.

July 27, 2012

July 25, 2012

Sophisticated Intercoms Create Distinctive Production Experience

Clear-Com’s Eclipse-Median digital matrix, ICS-92 and V-Series user control panels, CellCom Integra wireless beltpacks and HME Pro850 wireless systems ensure reliable and simplified communications as well as facilitate expansive and agile coordination for the production team of Hell’s Kitchen, a crowdpleasing reality television show featured on the FOX network.

Read the full case study here: Sophisticated Intercoms Create Distinctive Production Experience

Here's the summary of the case study:
CUSTOMER: Hell’s Kitchen (FOX Broadcasting Company)
 Millions of viewers
 60 staff members
 Los Angeles, California

BUSINESS CHALLENGE Improve employee accessibility and responsiveness
 Minimize risk with reliable technologies

 Eclipse-Median digital matrix
 Eclipse Configuration Software (ECS)
 E-Que wireless cellular control card
 30 V-Series 12 lever-key and ICS-92 user control panels
 CellCom Integra 1.92-1.93 GHz wireless beltpacks
 CEL-TA active transceiver antennas
 2 HME Pro850 wireless base station and beltpacks

BUSINESS RESULTS Empowered production team can collaborate effectively anytime and from anywhere
 Greater mastery of production
 Establish technical security
 Secure voice communication systems enhance mobility

July 24, 2012

Only Seven Weeks Before the Show!

Photo Credit: naplesnews.com

If you only had seven weeks to put on a play or musical, how would you go about getting organized?  Flexitrol put together a count-down-to-opening-night  theatrical planning guide to assist schools, community theatre groups and other non-professional theatre companies in planning and organizing their productions.

Not only does the guide discuss the roles of each staff member in the production, but it also gives an overview of what should be done week by week before the performance.

July 20, 2012

Close-Up Look on Drone Surveillance (Video)

The video below on drone surveillance was shown on the FOX news network. Can you spot our Clear-Com intercom panels in the video?  

With over 40 years of experience in voice communications, Clear-Com's wide selection of clear and reliable intercom systems have been the leading choice for command and control, test and evaluation, and training and simulation. We're a proud provider of intercom solutions for Predator programs.

July 17, 2012

The Core Requirements of Intercoms

Hot on the heels of the launch of HelixNet, I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts on the general ‘digitisation’ of communications equipment, and why I feel that the current generation of kit is so exciting.

The transition from traditional analogue equipment to digital systems has been an interesting journey, where I have often felt that core principles were often not given the priorities that they deserved. For me, these core principles are:
Simplicity – Somebody speaks, others hear, and you can reply if required and be heard. It all sounds very simple, but of course, manufacturing a system that ‘just works’ is very difficult. Users though are (quite rightly) not interested in how difficult it may be, they want a system that makes it all look easy.
Reliability – The system quite simply has to work, so the system architecture must be resilient and built for redundancy as much as practicably possible. When comms fail, nobody else can work, so this reliability affects all users in every department.
Usability – We are in an age where we are surrounded by equipment covered in control buttons and Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) so people are less daunted by the prospect of using new or more complex looking equipment. However, there is a difference between users’ demands on their personal mobile phone and what they expect of the kit that they use for work. Also, remember that we pretty much expect comms users to sit down on the first day of a project and just start using the kit with minimal instruction, despite the fact that it is likely to be a different system that is set up in a different way from the one they were using last week.
Audio Quality – Great audio quality is now expected from consumer and professional equipment, so why should comms be any different?
I’ve looked at several digital comm systems in recent years that have met some of my demands, but not all of them. This is particularly true at the lower end of the market, where I have continued to prefer analogue systems simply because they deliver better results at that price point.
HelixNet has come to the market at a very reasonable price though, making a range of features available to those that have previously never had access to them. It’s obviously a product with a vast amount of research and development behind it and I'm sure the system will continue to develop over time. Right now though, core principles are there and ready for the marketplace – something that seems quite unusual in the era of firmware and software updates every week.
I look forward to further developments as our transition to digital systems continues.
Mathew Smethurst-Evans

Mathew Smethurst-Evans is a Sound and Technical Consultant  with extensive experience from working for theatres in the UK. His hybrid workload and expertise regularly ranges from being a show sound engineer and designer to a building design consultant.

July 13, 2012

I Spy Clear-Com Part III (Photos)

Where has Clear-Com been installed around the world? Check out some of our installations from 2009! Here are some of my favorites:

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

Located at a shipyard (yes, a shipyard!) in the center of Berlin, die Fernsehwerft handles the production needs for some of Germany's biggest broadcasters, including MTV Germany and ProSiebenSat.1. As an independent production company and full service provider, it offers a comprehensive portfolio of services in  television production, post production, sound design, digital archiving and playout and satellite transmission.

Read the full story: Clear-Com's Hybrid Intercom Network Wins Over die Fernsehwerft

The Royal Australian Air Force's Aerospace Operational Support Group enhances and extends combat capability by providing integrated operations support. It consists of three groups, including the information warfare wing, air system development and test wing, and the Woomera test facility

Read the full story: Clear-Com Intercom used at Aerospace Operational Support Group

Blue Media is one of the biggest independent TV-production companies in Finland, with over 10 years of experience in music entertainment, drama, concerts and children’s programs. High quality tv-entertainment arises from simple elements such as hiring pro’s, owning the newest technique and having a burning passion for the industry!

Werne is Finland's leading, internationally acclaimed dubbing studio for animated and live films and videos. The company offers technical production services and turnkey solutions to producers and distributors of TV, video and audio content in Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries.

Read the Full Story:  Clear-Com® Gives Finnish TV Production Houses the Cutting Edge

Photo Credit: Fanpop.com

Launched in 1957, Magyar Televízió is the Hungarian national public service television company and is owned by the government of Hungary. Its slogan is "Transmitting Values". The company is one of the first in Europe to install Clear-Com's cutting-edge Concert intercom-over-IP solution.

Read the full story: Magyar Televízió selects Clear-Com's Hybrid Intercom Network for New HD DIGs

July 10, 2012

Application Notes: Roaming in a Multi-venue Church

Tempest2400 Seamless Roaming for Expansive Wireless Intercom CoverageThe new Seamless Roaming feature allows wireless beltpack users to talk and roam from one coverage zone to another on the Tempest2400 System across an expansive production space without interruption.

Multi‐level and Multi‐venue Church
A mega church required a wireless system that could be used for communication throughout its 5‐venue, 2‐level facility.

Solution: A Tempest BaseStation with the Seamless Roaming feature and remote antenna were placed near the sound and video booth in the main amphitheater. A remote antenna was mounted on the side
of a camera and was nearly in the center of the auditorium. The setup was quick. The system immediately covered the large area inside the theatre and also outside the long corridor. Two additional BaseStations were placed in other strategic locations and created coverage zones for both levels of the entire facility. The system worked flawlessly.

System Configuration
3 x 4‐channel BaseStations
3 x Remote Tranceivers
3 x Roaming zones
14 x 4‐channel BeltStations

July 6, 2012

Wrap-Up of June Tradeshows

InfoComm 2012 (June 13-15, 2012)

Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada, InfoComm is the world’s largest, most comprehensive AV tradeshow. It brings together more than 34,000 AV professionals, 925 exhibiting companies and over 300 education sessions from the industry’s most respected experts. Year after year, it has been the most energizing audiovisual gathering in the world, allowing people to walk away with innovative solutions, fresh ideas and new connections.
Clear-Com (Booth #C10345) showcased many products that were met with great interest and enthusiasm. We demonstrated the Tempest2400 with SeamlessRoaming, Tempest2400 MasterBelt, HelixNet Partyline, CC-300/CC-400 headsets, and the new BroaMan DiViNe V3R-FX-INTERCOM with SDI. Our CC-27 headset drawing was also very popular this year as it had been in the year prior. Check out the winners here.

Here are some of the news stories about Clear-Com that were released as well as some videos from the show:


Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at InfoComm 2012 and Now Shipping
Clear-Com Features Tempest2400 MasterBelt at InfoComm 2012
Clear-Com Exhibits Seamless Roaming For Tempest2400 at InfoComm 2012


Clear-Com Explains the Tempest2400 MasterBelt

BroadcastAsia (June 19-22, 2012)

BroadcastAsia is Asia's leading exhibition and knowledge platform for the broadcasting industry. The show was held at Suntec City, Singapore and delivered a comprehensive experience for experts and professionals in the broadcasting, film and pro-audio industries.

Clear-Com (Booth 4R2-06) presented HelixNet Partyline, Tempest2400 with Seamless Roaming, Tempest MasterBelt and the Eclipse V-Series rotary panels.

Here are some of the stories about Clear-Com that were released at the show:

July 5, 2012

The Must-Know TV Terms

Rom Rosenblum, Applications Engineer at Clear-Com explains some of the most common TV terms in the industry. How many of these do you know?

1)            EIC:  The Engineer-in-charge is the guy or gal who runs the studio or truck and is the primary source of information pertaining to all things that are technical.

2)            Tape Room: The “tape" or video storage room is where the playback machines are operated. In the modern world, the word “tape” is not even used, but the terms “hard drive recording” are used. In the old days, Sony beta machines, ¾ inch machines, 1 inch and even 2 inch machines from way back were used for playback. It’s also sometimes colloquially referred to by the audio guys as the “snake pit”.

3)            Elvis: This is the common term for a tapeless playback device. EVS’s ™ LSM® was the most common machine. It had a series of hard drives all controlled synchronously for video and audio playback.

4)            Melt:  This term is most commonly used in sports broadcast and refers to all the day’s highlights. These highlights are edited together in a stream and “shipped down the line” to the station over the transmission lines, or brought back to the station on a tape or removable medium, from the remote site for archiving and playback later.

5)            A-1:  The head audio engineer in a broadcast. This person is responsible for all audio in the broadcast and will manipulate the sounds of the show accordingly. The better ones also control the intercoms and route the IFBs for talent.

6)            A-2:  The A-2 is the assistant to the A-1. This person reports to the A-1 and sets up all the audio gear and the mics the talent use to keep the whole show running.

7)            IFB: This stands for Interruptible Fold Back. “Fold Back” is an audio monitor. The interrupt part is achieved when a producer pushes a button on the intercom panel to break the signal going to the talent’s ear, and replaces it with the producer’s voice. This is used for cueing and informational purposes.

8)            PL:  A common and often misunderstood term that stands for “Party Line”. It is also the common term for an intercom system. A party line is most often an audio conference that can be heard by anyone listening and they can be, in turn, heard by anyone on that PL. This is used more frequently than a “point-to-point” communication device, which is found on more sophisticated systems.       

9)            Mult:  A multi-cabled “snake” or fat cable that contains many cables inside, so one only has to drag one large cable instead of a collection of many thinner cables. Hopefully, they are labeled correctly on each end!

10)          Pair:  A whole cable, usually within a mult. A 12-pair mult would have 12 mic cables contained within it, for a total of 36 wires.  Each mic cable has one twisted pair (two twisted wires) and a ground drain, and all three are separately shielded and contained in one jacketed sleeve. Then, the whole bundle is wrapped in a single sleeve.

11)          “Wet” vs. “Dry” lines:  When we refer to a line or circuit as “dry”, we mean that there is voltage on that line to power up a beltpack, a remote station or a microphone. A “dry” line would be an unpowered audio or data circuit. Sometimes, a “dry pair” cable is used for mics or line connections. “Dry pair” is the common term for phone company wires. Analog phone lines are also wet.

12)          Turnaround:  Commonly a male to male or female to female XLR adapter. It is used to change the “sex” of the connector.

13)          Shore Power: When using power from the “house”, which is the building you are in, that is considered shore power. This is not the case when using a portable generator.

14)          I/O panel:  The Input / Output connector panel on a TV truck or studio wall is where we plug in all the connectors to interface to and from the show.

15)          Single-Muff and Double-Muff: Intercom headsets come in the one ear-cup and two ear-cup varieties.  The single muff is most commonly used in quiet work environments and for hand held cameras, as the right ear-cup would bump against the side of the camera on your right shoulder.

16)          “When’s lunch?”: This is the most often asked question. It is usually asked at CALL, when one arrives on site.

July 4, 2012

Tempest Tip of the Week

Proper antenna placement is the most important factor in maximizing RF performance. Whether using a Tempest BaseStation with one or two antennas or a remote transceiver, correct antenna placement can mean the difference between acceptable or great RF performance. Place antennas above head level, away from metal obstructions. Position  omni-directional antennas in the center of the coverage area. Set directional antennas on the edge of the coverage area pointing across it. When using a BaseStation or transceiver with two antennas, always make sure that the coverage patterns of both antennas overlap in the desired coverage area. Antenna placement matters!