FreeSpeak® and Tempest®2400 Provide Flexible Wireless Systems for Theatres’ Varying Productions
Clear-Com®, a global leader in critical voice communication systems, is enabling flawless communications for the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore’s Marina Bay. The performance complex relies on Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak® and Tempest®2400 wireless systems to ensure smooth, reliable communications across its four major indoor venues and outdoor theatre, covering a variety of events, including theatrical productions, classical concerts and performances by pop and rock artists.
Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak and Tempest2400 enable the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay to provide touring companies and other performers hiring the venues with the no-fail communications necessary for managing productions across its four major performance spaces. These spaces include a 1,600-seat concert hall (the facility’s premiere venue), a 2,000-seat theatre, a recital studio and a theatre studio. Although their existing legacy Clear-Com partyline system was serving them well, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay team wanted an intercom solution that offered additional freedom to roam, particularly in the large theatre. With a proven track record using Clear-Com and its longstanding reputation as a trusted leader in supplying intercom systems for the live sound community, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay chose Clear-Com once again for their wireless communications needs.
“Communications is a critical element for all the events we host, especially those in the theatre, because it is a very large room,” says Robin Shuttleworth, Technical Manager of Sound at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. “A hardwire intercom was limiting for the highly mobile crew. The VHF system and UHF systems we tried were also receiving too much frequency interference. FreeSpeak was the most sensible wireless option for us. It is a reliable technology, ensuring that all crew members are able to communicate throughout the venue without fear of losing signal while still providing immense flexibility to make changes on the fly.”
FreeSpeak operates within the license-free 1.88GHz-1.9GHz frequency band, away from the crowded frequency spectrum that is saturated with other wireless devices. It combines DECT and wireless auto-roaming technologies to allow users to move freely without fading or losing communications connection. Active antennas enable beltpack-to-base station distance ranges of up to 3,200ft (1,000m).
Due to the large area that needed to be covered in the theater, multiple antennas were allocated to all the key areas, with up to 20 antennas being utilized at once to safeguard against signal loss. This gives the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay coverage at front of house, in the auditorium, below the stage and upstage. Also included in the coverage areas are the backstage passageways for each of the venues, allowing technicians to walk in dressing rooms and hallways without losing signal. A total of 40 beltpacks are available for use between the venues.
The Esplanade’s entire technical production department and the crews from visiting events communicate via FreeSpeak. For a typical channel configuration in the theater, channel A would be stage management, channel B lighting, and the other four channels would be used by the sound crew, staging team, the theatre’s fly system and other production staff.
“The system works just as dependable as hardwire,” Shuttleworth continues. “We are so satisfied with the reliability of the wireless system that we can relax knowing that it is taking care of all our communication needs.”
Along with FreeSpeak, a 2-channel Tempest2400 system is employed in the outdoor theatre. It is also used to bolster another system when there is a temporary requirement for more communicators.
“The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay are some of the premiere performing spaces in Singapore and as such, the best technologies need to be available to help these events shine,” says Edmund Song, Regional Sales Manager, Southeast Asia for Clear-Com. “We are honored the Esplanade has continued with Clear-Com for remarkable communications capability during every performance.”