01.31.2011 09:20 AM
Riedel Aids Firehouse Productions Awards Coverage
One of the Firehouse Productions mobile intercom racks

Firehouse Productions specializes in providing large-scale sound reinforcement, RF technology, and communication systems for high profile live TV shows and touring acts worldwide. Some of our projects include the opening game of the New York Giants Opening Game and the "Black Girls Rock" awards ceremony, which was broadcast live from the Paradise Theater in New York by BET Networks.

If you look into today's live productions, flexibility is key, especially when it comes to intercoms. And the "Black Girls Rock" awards ceremony was no exception.

Early on in our association with Riedel 's Artist Digital Matrix, we developed standardized intercom racks that could be used for any kind of production. A rack contains an Artist 64 matrix mainframe with connectivity for intercom panels, 4-wires and AES. You'll also find a UPS, an Artist 1000 series control panel and two Performer C44 system interfaces, which allow integration of Riedel's digital partyline intercom with the Artist matrix intercom.


Artist's decentralized system approach allows connecting up to 124 mainframes via a redundant fiber-optic ring, and this greatly reduces set-up time at an event. At the "Black Girls Rock" ceremony, we used three intercom racks connected via fiber. This arrangement provided access to all of the ports of the system everywhere—the networked Artist systems behave just like one big matrix. Then we just connected the necessary intercom control panels and partyline beltpacks to the nearest intercom rack and the physical setup was done.

Programming was next—and this is where the Director configuration software shines. You can program keys or IFBs via drag and drop, stack several commands on one key,, and much more—the possibilities are really endless. The real-time view of the software provided allows you to monitor any aspect of the system while the remote function gives you control of any key panel remotely. And it allows you to easily execute changes on the fly.

The flexibility of the Artist goes even further. As the control panels are connected to the matrix via CAT-6 or coax cabling, the key panels not only provide broadcast-quality audio, but also a second bidirectional audio channel that can be accessed and used completely independent of the intercom. This is handy for commentary, or feeding a monitor with program audio.

Our decision to move to the Artist platform has led us to a completely new approach in designing intercom infrastructures, and has allowed us to develop one of our main competitive advantages today.

Mark Dittmar is vice president at Firehouse Productions. He may be contacted at mark@firehouseproductions.com.

For additional information, contact Riedel Communications at 818-241-4696 or visit www.riedel.net.

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