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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Feb 22

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2/22/2011 9:31 AM  RssIcon

Unscripted Series Relies on Eclipse, V-Series and CellCom for Smooth Production Coordination

CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA, February 22, 2011 ─ Clear-Com®, a global leader in mission-critical voice-communication systems, is helping FOX’s popular culinary-competition series Hell’s Kitchen, which stars internationally renowned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, with its communication by providing the Eclipse Median digital matrix intercom, V-Series intercom panels and CellCom® Integra wireless intercom. The production team has been using Clear-Com solutions for the past eight seasons and is now relying on this new configuration for its most important communications needs. The show employs Eclipse as the heart of an intercom network featuring the V-Series panels and CellCom Integra, enabling reliable, flexible communications for staff members, who must stay in constant contact to keep up with the show’s frenetic production pace.clear-com-hells-kitchen.JPG

Clear-Com’s Eclipse Median brings most of the wired and wireless communications devices used by Hell’s Kitchen staff members into the same communications environment, vastly streamlining the show’s overall production workflow. Eclipse can accommodate both Clear-Com and third-party systems, so when an employee needs to speak to another team member, he only needs to pick up the nearest device handy to enter the network. This level of access is indispensible to Hell’s Kitchen, as the show’s action revolves around the spirited interplay between Ramsay and the contestants, requiring, among other things, production editors to follow each contestant and report back to Ramsay, via IFB and/or CellCom wireless system, on cooking errors, miscues and other issues. Further accessibility is afforded by the user-friendly design of the Clear-Com equipment, with minimal learning time required of first-time users.

“Clear-Com listened to our production needs and put together a package of equipment that was truly the right fit,” says second engineer Tony Gonzales. “The combination of the Eclipse digital matrix with V-Series panels and CellCom systems gives us a tremendous amount of communications flexibility, making it much less stressful to manage the various tasks that go into a typical episode of Hell’s Kitchen. It truly frees us up to go anywhere in the facility that production takes us, without having to worry about losing a connection.”

During Hell’s Kitchen filming and production, up to 60 staff members communicate through the Eclipse Median intercom frame. About 30 staffers work off of Clear-Com ICS-92 legacy panels directly connected to the frame, while the rest are on CellCom beltpacks, V-Series panels and a HME PRO850 Wireless Intercom System. Technical staff members are the main users of the CellCom digital wireless system, which operates on a different frequency band than the wireless microphones used in Hell’s Kitchen productions, virtually eliminating RF interference. In addition, the full-duplex 7 kHz bandwidth of CellCom offers a level of audio clarity and quality that reduces strain on a user’s ears and improves workflow by reducing the need to repeat messages.

“We are thrilled that Clear-Com is playing such an important role on this popular unscripted series,” says Bob Boster, Worldwide Vice President of Sales, Clear-Com. “Hell’s Kitchen has demanding communications requirements that need to integrate seamlessly with video and audio monitoring at the same workstation. With Clear-Com, end users can talk with contestants, talent, production staff, and other users either privately or with other team members, as our solutions provide for both group and one-on-one conversations. We’re happy to have supplied the talented production team behind this show with an intercom system that truly makes their jobs easier.”

Note: CellCom® and FreeSpeak® are different brands representing the same digital wireless intercom system (with minor technical differences). Due to trademark limitations, CellCom and CellCom Integra (formerly CellCom50) are only available in the U.S. and Canada; and FreeSpeak and FreeSpeak Integra (formerly FreeSpeak50) are available in all countries other than the U.S. and Canada.

About Clear-Com

Clear-Com®, an HME company, is the global leader in mission-critical voice communication systems for professional productions. Since 1968, Clear-Com developed and marketed a comprehensive range of analog, digital and IP-based wired and wireless intercom technologies for party-line and point-to-point communications. Recognized for our legacy of intercom innovations, production teams around the world have come to depend on Clear-Com for clear, reliable and scalable communication solutions. More information about Clear-Com can be found at www.clearcom.com.

About HM Electronics, Inc. (HME)

A privately held company founded in 1971, HME has continued to be a leading provider of innovative technology focused on enhancing productivity and customer service for multiple markets including pro audio, sports, and restaurants. HME developed the first wireless intercom system for pro audio and continues to introduce exciting, cutting-edge wireless intercoms that enhance communications, increase productivity and facilitate creativity for virtually any application. HME’s comprehensive line of wireless intercoms – including the award winning PRO850 UHF and DX Series Digital Intercoms – are designed with the user in mind. In addition to pioneering the first wireless intercom for the pro audio industry, HME was the first to develop the wireless headset system for the drive-thru quick service restaurant market. More information can be found at www.hme.com.

About Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is an unscripted culinary boot camp that features the drama of Cordon Bleu cooks and aspiring restaurateurs competing for world-renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay’s approval and the chance to become America’s next culinary star. The series is produced by ITV Studios America in association with A. Smith & Co. Productions and is executive-produced by Arthur Smith and Kent Weed. The most recent season of Hell’s Kitchen ranked No. 2 in its time period among Adults 18-34.

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