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Clear-Com Eclipse, Tempest and V-Series Headline HBO's The Newsroom


Clear-Com Quality and Real-Time Reliability Enable Actors to Use Intercoms as Working Props

Clear-Com®, a global leader in critical voice communication systems, is pleased to announce that its Eclipse-PiCo digital matrix, V-Series panels, Tempest®2400 wireless system and HME DX121 digital wireless intercom have leading roles in The Newsroom, which aired on June 24th on HBO. The Newsroom is a new television drama about the inner-workings of a cable news network created by Aaron Sorkin, the Emmy® and Oscar® winning screenwriter, playwright and Executive Producer.

The Clear-Com intercom systems proved to be so reliable and flexible that The Newsroom cast members use them as working props on the show, adding an unprecedented level of efficiency and realism to the production workflow.The Clear-Com intercom systems’ high-quality sound and real-time capabilities allow The Newsroom actors to operate the intercoms not just as props, but for actual communications with each other, the director, and with crew members. There are four discrete intercom channels on the Tempest2400 digital wireless intercom, two for the engineering staff, one for actors and the director to talk with one another, and a fourth channel for the actors to communicate with each other. In one scene where the fictional news production crew was working in the control room, the actors relied on Clear-Com’s V-Series matrix panels to communicate with their counterparts on the news set, who listened to and interacted with them on their Tempest wireless BeltStations and various Clear-Com headsets, including the new CC-300 single-muff headset. This offers an accurate portrayal of a real newsroom environment while simultaneously functioning to meet the production’s communication requirements.

“In multiple scenarios, we’ve had our lead, Jeff Daniels, who plays the anchor on the show, wearing an IFB earpiece while conducting an interview, and the actor playing his producer was actually talking in his ear,” says Matt Morrissey, Video Effects Supervisor, The Newsroom. “Having an actor perform to live interaction rather than a piece of recorded audio really changes the performance, allowing the actors to depict their reactions to each other in real time for the audience. After the pilot episode, our creative producer liked this so much that he asked us to continue showing these kinds of interactions moving forward.”

It’s not just The Newsroom actors who benefit from using the Clear-Com systems, but the production team and crew as well. On The Newsroom, the Eclipse-PiCo, a computer using its Eclipse Configuration Software (ECS) software, and the Tempest BaseStation, are located behind the monitor wall of the control room set. A Tempest remote transceiver connected via a CAT5 cable is strategically mounted in a central location to meet the desired wireless intercom coverage objectives. The on-set A2 and communications operator, Srdjan “Serge” Popovic, manages the Eclipse-PiCo using ECS to quickly make audio adjustments.  Serge stayed in communication even while away from his V-Series panel with the HME DX121 and WH200 all-in-one headset.  Additionally, five V-Series panels are located in the control room set, in front of the actors, as they would be in an actual television production. Morrissey, his graphics coordinator, and the technical director all wear Tempest2400 BeltStations and headsets so that they can talk throughout the set about graphics and other important issues.

“We’re proud that such a high-profile show as The Newsroom has chosen to use Clear-Com equipment both behind the scenes and in front of the camera,” says Jaz Wray, Regional Sales Manager of Southwestern USA and Latin America, Clear-Com. “HBO wanted to update their intercom equipment with something suitable for a TV newsroom that looked modern and would also be fully functional.  We wish Mr. Sorkin, the actors, and production crew of The Newsroom great success and a phenomenal run, and thank them for choosing Clear-Com products.”