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Clear-Com's Oldest Systems Stand the Test of Time


Written by Mike Porter, Owner, Videoworks

My company, Videoworks, is a Los Angeles-based event production company providing high-definition digital mobile television trucks and HD digital flight pack systems for a diverse set of clients.

We’re also a long-time Clear-Com shop.

It may be hard to believe in a time when everyone is focused on the “latest and greatest,” but my entire intercom inventory includes some of Clear-Com’s oldest intercom systems. They still deliver the quality and performance my clients demand, so I haven’t had an urgent need to upgrade.

I use the MS-702 and MS-704 and SB-704 main stations, RM-702 and RM-704 remote stations and RS-703 and RS-603 belt-packs, as well as older RS-501 and RS-502 belt-packs, and for wireless communications, I use the Tempest 2.4GHz systems. These older systems are rock-solid and even though our clients often have unique production requirements, my time-proven Clear-Com systems always rise to the occasion.

Here’s a perfect example: I’ve been handling live production support for the Long Beach Pops and Pasadena Pops Symphony Summer outdoor concert series for the past 12 years. The concerts have changed slightly over the years, but one thing that hasn’t is the quality I get from my Clear-Com systems.

Proven Workflow “Orchestration”

For each concert event, I provide a mobile truck and cameras for image magnification since there are two LED walls on the sides of the stage for each concert. Typically, I provide comms to the stage manager, and then everything else is either done in the truck or connected to cameras.

We call the entire video portion of the show from our truck, except for audio and lighting. We do send them audio when we do video rolls and they can open their audio for my video, which I have to do through one of their walkie-talkies.

For this symphony series – and for other events I support – I simply interface with the wireless systems at a venue and we’re ready to go. Clear-Com intercoms are not only bulletproof, but their plug-and-play design makes my job a lot easier.

My Clear-Com systems can interface with Motorola Radios, 2-wire to 4-wire interfaces and also other intercom systems, and they work great, making the production flow smoother and my clients very happy!

Old Meets New … Seamlessly

I have used the newer HelixNet and FreeSpeak II systems, renting them when clients have specific requirements, and the great thing is my older gear and the new systems work perfectly together in my HD truck.

It’s obvious Clear-Com has really put in the time to simplify the user interfaces. You can show somebody the basics in five minutes, and you can assign channels in the truck to anybody who needs them quickly and easily.

They’re simple because Clear-Com designs their interfaces by thinking of what people really need in the field. Not every company does that. They don't think of scenarios where I roll up somewhere and another company is using different systems with 40 beltpacks throughout the house. How do I get those systems to talk to the gear in my truck? With Clear-Com interfaces, set up is never a problem and soon I’m talking back and forth with different systems with no issues.

This reliability is so important. Unfortunately, in this business, too often the biggest let-down is comms because nobody thinks about intercom until it’s too late or nobody wants to spend money on intercoms, but it’s really the most important thing in a show. You have to communicate, or there is no show.