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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor


BERKELEY, CA–Clear-Com® Communication Systems, a brand of The Vitec Group, and the leading global provider of professional communication solutions for the broadcast, live performance, government and commercial markets, is helping the production team at the University of California at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Auditorium stay connected. The 2,000-seat performing arts center, operated by Cal Performances, has integrated Clear-Com’s CellCom10® digital wireless system into its existing wired setup, realizing an immediate improvement in reception and reliability.

Prior to CellCom10, Zellerbach staff members were using a wireless headset system from another manufacturer, and had found some aspects of its performance challenging. Whenever a user walked out of range, the system generated noisy interference throughout the venue’s entire party-line intercom setup, disturbing everyone else on the production team. Cal Performances needed a more dependable and reliable mobile wireless system, turning to Clear-Com for the solution.

“The noise level was barely tolerable with our old wireless system,? says Joey Swails, senior scene technician at Zellerbach Auditorium. “Some of our visiting artists were so annoyed that there were cases of the headset being slammed down on the desk of the production manager. With CellCom10, we no longer have that problem. There’s no interference, and it works well with our wired intercom system. It’s just been a great fit.?

Thus far, Cal Performances has outfitted Zellerbach with four beltpacks, two antennas and a CellCom10 receiver, integrating the gear with the facility’s two-channel wired intercom system for a noticeable improvement in reception. CellCom10’s strong reception capabilities are based on its unique combination of digital matrix technology with a locally distributed wireless network. Operating license-free in the 1.9 GHz frequency band, it is free of interference from other wireless products, such as PCs, talent microphones, IFB and in-ear monitors.

This capability, says Swails, has led to an almost day and night improvement in reception over the previous system. “With the old system there were dead spots as you walked around the facility, places where a lot of interference would crop up,? he explains. “Now, with CellCom10, if you move from one antenna area to another it just hands it off like a cell phone. I can even go out of range a bit and it still works.?

In order to give beltpack users wider coverage, one antenna each has been placed to the left and right of the stage, providing a range that stretches out to the loading dock on one side of the building and the green room on the other. The beltpacks are used mainly by the stage manager and the main fly rail and deck sound operators, depending on the type of production, which at Zellerbach can be anything from a rock concert to an opera or ballet.

Clear-Com is now shipping the latest version of CellCom10, Version 1.5.7, enhanced with new features and functionality including vibration alerts, which allows the user to be alerted when the headset is removed from the ear, as well as a remote battery monitoring display and remote microphone kill control, both of which are available from the basestation.

Zellerbach Auditorium is one of five venues on the University of California at Berkeley’s campus operated by Cal Performances, the university’s performing arts presenter and producer. Its mission is to present, produce and commission outstanding artists, both renowned and emerging, to serve the university and the broader public through performances and education and community programs.

Clear-Com®, a brand of The Vitec Group plc, is the global leader of professional communication solutions for broadcast, live performance, military, government and commercial markets. For more than 40 years, Clear-Com’s signature products such as Encore Party-line, Eclipse Digital Matrix, CellCom®/FreeSpeak® Digital Wireless and IP Communications systems have revolutionized broadcast stations, production trucks, houses of worship and performance venues. Recognizing Clear-Com for its history of intercom innovation, production teams around the world achieve ubiquitous communication with products to promote easy interoperability and global connectivity. More information can be found at www.clearcom.com.

The Vitec Group plc is acknowledged as a global leader in the supply of equipment and services to the broadcasting, entertainment and photographic industries and has established a reputation for technical excellence and superior engineering along with an astute business strategy, which has seen it grow by acquisition. Innovation is a cornerstone of the Group’s activities and the organization is committed to a policy of continuous product development. With revenues (2007) of $546m (£274m) and over 2,200 employees world-wide, its products are distributed in almost 100 countries, through a strong, fully-resourced distribution network or direct to the end user or corporate customer. More information can be found at www.vitecgroup.com.

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