Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
U.S. Open production communication aided by Clear-Com roaming technology
Production company Audio Incorporated provided a CellCom digital wireless intercom system from Clear-Com Communication Systems to the United States Tennis Association for three live on-air ceremonies that were part of the 2009 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in September.
Audio Incorporated, a Roselle Park, NJ-based sound system provider and sound designer for the U.S. Open ceremonies, chose the CellCom system for this year’s U.S. Open’s Arthur Ashe Kids Day and opening and closing ceremonies, broadcast live by CBS and ESPN.
Twenty team members used the CellCom system to carefully coordinate setup, production and takedown. Because the CellCom intercom operates license-free in the 1.8GHz-1.9GHz frequency band, the system immediately solved all interference issues. Cat 5 cables connected a series of strategically placed transceiver antennas in difficult-to-reach spots that conventional coax cable could not cover due to run distances of more than 250ft.
The biggest production event of the three ceremonies, Arthur Ashe Kids Day, involved several musical performances and appearances by celebrities and tennis stars. Production staff members were stationed at locations throughout the stadium, communicating wirelessly with the stage manager to coordinate talent entrance and exit times as well as any last-minute changes.
In previous years, assistant stage managers would frequently lose communication with the stage manager, especially when entering the stadium’s many concrete tunnels that serve as court entrances. This year, using CellCom’s wireless roaming technology, the crew was able to walk from an onsite mobile production truck, through the stadium, to an underground green room and out onto the court without fading or losing connection to the system.
CellCom was also used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the tournament, playing a crucial role in easing workflows. As the ceremonies took place prior to tennis play, stage managers relied on CellCom to coordinate an extremely quick takedown of on-court equipment during a two-minute commercial break.
In addition to the CellCom digital wireless intercom base, the U.S. Open system also included additional Clear-Com products such as CellCom belt packs, transceiver antenna splitter boxes, transceiver antennas and a Clear-Com Encore switchboard main station as well as associated Encore belt packs and headsets.