ESPN’s production of top-flight Vegas poker tournament coverage relies on mix of Clear-Com wired and wireless intercoms
The Las Vegas division of Soundtronics Wireless, the specialized RF engineering firm whose live production credits include the Academy Awards®, the Grammys®, Dancing with the Stars, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show to name a few, is using a mix of Clear-Com® wired and wireless intercoms to support ESPN’s coverage of the 2016 World Series of Poker (2016 WSOP) tournament.
Held at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and broadcast on ESPN, the first stage of the 2016 WSOP tournament ran from May 31 to July 18, 2016. During this time the field of about 7,000 poker players was competitively thinned down to just nine. These nine players will return to the Rio on October 30-November 1, 2016 to play the final table.
“For a broadcast event as extensive as the 2016 WSOP, we had to go with the best intercom systems we could find,” said Jason Waufle, Soundtronics’ partner/RF & Communications Technician. “The mix of Clear-Com wired and wireless intercoms – including the FreeSpeak II dual band (1.9/2.4 GHz) wireless intercom with its programmable wireless beltpacks – was clearly the best fit for our clients at ESPN.”
To help ESPN cover the 2016 WSOP, Soundtronics employed Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX-Omega digital matrix intercom frame with three MVX-A16 16 port audio/data frame cards, two E-MADI64-HX cards, and one IVC-32-HX intercom-to-IP card for the Agent-IC mobile client. The system is interfaced to NEP’s Red and Black production trucks via optical MADI as well as Dante.
In addition, two E-QUE-HX frame cards are also integrated into Eclipse HX for enabling production members on the FreeSpeak II wireless beltpacks to roam and communicate freely throughout the production areas. To achieve this flexibility, multiple FreeSpeak II 1.9 GHz antenna transceivers were strategically placed to create coverage zones for continuous roaming. The wireless users were completely connected to other user positions that are using V-Series 24-lever and 12-lever control keypanels.
“Having production communications on the 1.9 GHz band ensures more reliable intercom connections for ESPN’s crew, who are using 18 FreeSpeak II wireless beltpacks to do the show,” said Waufle. “This keeps the UHF band open for the production’s 26 wireless microphones and 12 wireless in-ear monitors. Which is a good thing in today’s ever crowded UHF spectrum.”
Clear-Com’s intercom equipment has operated “flawlessly”, Waufle added. “Our clients at ESPN love the intercom system’s reliability and high quality intelligible audio. And they particularly like the fact that this system is so versatile and customizable, allowing ESPN’s production team to keep up with all of the action at multiple poker tables without any problems.”
“It is a great honor for Clear-Com’s wired and wireless intercoms to be playing a pivotal role at the 2016 World Series of Poker,” said Kari Eythorsson, Southwest USA Regional Sales Manager at Clear-Com. “There is no bluffing! In the world of top-flight poker, it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”