Joe Sanchez, Sound Engineer and Owner of a boutique live sound and broadcast production company, was recently approached to assist with the communications integration for a high-profile motion capture video project involving American rapper, Post Malone. With an extremely tight deadline and a need for the primary shot callers to remote-in, this project already posed some unique challenges. Sanchez employed the help of Clear-Com®’s Eclipse® HX Digital Matrix, LQ® IP Interfaces, FreeSpeak II® Digital Wireless Intercom, HelixNet® Digital Network Partyline, and the Agent-IC® Mobile Intercom App, but he insists it was the help of Clear-Com’s invaluable customer service that truly made this production possible.
“I’ve called Clear-Com’s Customer Service in countless emergency situations, and I’m always happy and comforted to hear them on the other end of the line,” Sanchez said. “You need money to purchase gear, but you cannot purchase the human side of it, and this video shoot proved this once again.”
Due to the short timeline and health restrictions, directors and producers were required to be remote but still needed full insight into the shoot to provide feedback in real-time. The shoot was scheduled to take place Saturday evening with Sanchez scheduled to arrive at the Utah-based studio on Friday, giving him little time to find a solution. He needed to come up with a way to allow the remote staff to speak to each other and to all in-studio personnel including the talent and the camera operators.
Upon arriving on location Friday, Sanchez called Clear-Com customer support and was told Agent-IC could be a solution, but they would need to get LQ connected to the internet onsite to enable the integration of remote Agent-IC users. However, they were going to a studio they had never worked in before, and the normal route of using a static external IP address often requires extra time to properly configure. Essentially, they would be fully dependent on the studio’s available IT infrastructure with no prior understanding of what was available until their arrival on the morning of the shoot.
Clear-Com customer support assured Sanchez that they would be available the next morning to walk him through anything he may need. “They were literally taking my calls on a Saturday morning, walking through the grocery store,” said Sanchez. “It was just as important to Clear-Com as it was to me to make this work.”
When Post arrived, they had yet to establish a reliable internet connection. Luckily, he needed to “suit-up” for the unique motion capture video, which was enough time to make an important decision.
“We had an AE Lab Eclipse HX system in our Alameda headquarters that we use to run remote demonstrations across our product range, so it already had the required software licenses installed and the IP infrastructure set up to handle any number of remote Agent-IC app users,” explained Clear-Com’s Applications Engineering Manager, Justin Emge. “Although this is not typically part of our customer service offering, we considered this to be an emergency situation and were happy to step in.”
The FreeSpeak II and HelixNet bases Sanchez brought to the studio were trunked to the Eclipse HX system via the LQ in the studio, which then acted as a gateway to the five remote producers and directors using the Agent-IC mobile app. All audio connections were funneled to and from the Utah studio to Alameda, then to each individual Agent-IC client throughout the country.
Agent-IC is an easily configured, cost-effective solution for location productions, remote coordination and other critical tasks, essentially turning mobile devices into fully-featured, intuitive intercom panels that integrate into existing workflows and connect securely over 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi networks.
“Once Clear-Com configured the network, everybody was able to listen and talk to different channels as needed, as well as converse point-to-point with team members, with the option to turn different audio streams on and off as required throughout the four-hour shoot,” Sanchez recalled. “I simply cannot say enough good things about the customer service I’ve experienced in all my years working with Clear-Com. And ironically, as stressful as it was, working out the comms solution never even delayed the project, and I owe that all to Clear-Com.”