Wireless Intercom Provides Reliable and Interference-free Communications for Productions
Clear-Com®, a global leader in critical voice communication systems, is providing the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the resident and managing company of the Lyceum Theatre, with improved clarity and greater flexibility in its communications. The theater recently installed a four-channel Tempest2400 digital wireless system, which has promoted greater safety and higher efficiency in the production crew’s operations.
The Tempest2400 will be used for production communications for the more than 300 events and performances that are put on by the San Diego Repertory Theatre each year. Events at the Lyceum Theatre comprise meetings, musicals, festivals and tours as well as local rental and resident events. The aged wireless system formerly used by the theater had operated in a frequency that is now banned under the FCC’s wireless regulations. The Tempest2400 system, however, operates in the license-free 2.4 GHz band, which is away from the crowded spectrum to create even more room for other UHF devices to function. It is also designed with Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology, which utilizes a narrow band signal that is continually changing frequencies to powerfully burn through RF noise and interference. This allows the production crew to deliver critical cues with optimal clarity and assures the safest and best executed production possible.
“Clear communication is vital for us to carefully coordinate the moving scenery and other components involved in our events. If our communications system failed or functioned poorly, then our staff and audience may be put at risk.” explains Tom Jones, Audio Supervisor and Resident Sound Designer for San Diego Repertory Theatre. “Communications with the Tempest2400 is reliable, secure, and interference-free, enhancing safety for us all.”
The Tempest has also raised efficiency with its simple functionality. Not only is it straightforward and fast to configure, but all of the features are only a click or two away, which is critical during shows with lots of cues. Moreover, each of the four channels on the Tempest is assigned to a specific talk group. This eliminates the distraction of multiple, separate conversations on a single channel and isolates communication so that they are only between relevant parties.
In addition, the Tempest beltpacks prove to be a valuable long term investment. Since the beltpacks are made with a durable ABS co-polymer blend with a polyurethane overmold, they are highly resistant against damage from colliding with moving scenery and day-to-day usage in the theater. Also, the modular nature of the channel programming and reception functions within the base stations and beltpacks allows the San Diego Repertory Theatre to expand as their productions grow.
High performance was definitely a key factor in Jones’ choice to go with Clear-Com, but the company’s solid reputation in the industry only served to further affirm that decision. “Clear-Com is a well-known leader in the theater communications industry, and thus, there is a large amount of support infrastructure available for its systems either through Clear-Com itself or local third-party rental houses,” Jones explains. “This becomes extremely important since we need to reconfigure our communications systems to handle different types of shows. The extra support allows us to obtain compatible equipment quickly, and repair any equipment necessary in a timely fashion.”
Two Tempest 2400 base stations are installed in the theater’s sound office for the main stage theater. One base station has been set up in its smaller “Space” theater. Twelve beltpacks have been synced to all three base stations so that the crew can, at a moment’s notice, change the number of packs allocated to each stage. From the sound office, the theater’s operators also have a quick visual reference for the status of the wireless systems for each theater. Remote antenna modules are placed throughout the Lyceum Theatre complex to achieve coverage across all workspaces. The Tempest2400 is used virtually every day for anything from show runs and rehearsals to pre-production communication needs inside the theater, such as focus calls and ground to grid communications.