GEAR. INTERCOM SOLUTIONS
M aking a film or TV show can be a challenging and exhausting experience, regardless of the budget. As any crew member or actor will tell you, the production process is never as glamorous as what adorns the screen. Yet, while visual technological advancements continue to augment what viewers are paying to see, one thing remains constant: reliable communication. Two-way radios – walkie- talkies – used to be the staple of production units. But today, modern intercom systems combine the robustness of the analogue connection with the speech quality of a digital system and latency of a closed system. In other words, things have moved on. When productions resumed following a the Covid-19 hiatus, social distancing meant intercom solutions became ever more critical. There were questions concerning what to expect once the ‘new normal’ arrived. However, Francisco Herrería, technical sales and business development manager at Spanish
broadcast audio manufacturer Altair, doesn’t believe the pandemic irrevocably changed the direction in which technical developments have been moving. “It’s true that intercom use was boosted by the huge growth of streaming during the pandemic, but it did not affect the design of new devices – apart from the videoconferencing world, which is a separate subject.” NETWORKING Herrería explains that ‘the trend nowadays’ is to try to maximise the versatility of the intercom network and number of channels in the system (groups and users), as well as channels a user can access from their belt pack. “Also, integration with other brands and technologies is of great relevance,” he adds. “The use of IP technology, both for cable-based and wireless devices, is changing the landscape of the industry really quickly, with bigger and more flexible matrix-type systems. Several brands are now doing interesting things, offering a wide range of options for the user. That is a major change if we compare the current situation with a decade ago: there are now more manufacturers and a wider range of options – partyline systems, AES67 and Dante systems, other IP solutions.” One brand with a rich history in this space is Clear-Com, and senior product manager Stephen Sandford explains how reliability, flexibility and scalability are the key features to be considered when purchasing a solution. “The intercom is the glue that binds a production together, and needs to be dependable day in and day out,” he says. “It is incredible how critical intercom has become
in TV & film production today, and with the industry’s drive to reduce costs, a clear and reliable intercom system is invaluable in reducing time on-set. The system also needs to have the flexibility to adapt to a variety of different filming needs, whether that’s simply cueing
MAKE OR BREAK Good comms are crucial for smooth filmmaking, and flexibility to deal with change is key
Pliant Technologies CrewCom from Pliant Technologies is designed to help teams of all sizes easily and quickly deploy communications solutions, to connect more people in more places than ever before. Built on a highly scalable platform in which a family of products utilises a proprietary network, CrewCom is a versatile solution available in multiple frequency bands (900MHz and 2.4GHz in North America) as well as EU versions that meet European conformity requirements for use on the continent. CrewCom is designed to overcome communication challenges such as tough RF environments and inconsistent coverage, as well as total user limits that often occur with wireless systems.
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