Wireless Intercom Helps Streamline Production Workflow at Busy Venue PORTLAND, OR, DECEMBER 4, 2008 — Clear-Com® Communication Systems, a brand of The Vitec Group, is helping the Portland Opera’s busy staff streamline its production workflow across ...

Wireless Intercom Helps Streamline Production Workflow at Busy Venue

PORTLAND, OR, DECEMBER 4, 2008 — Clear-Com® Communication Systems, a brand of The Vitec Group, is helping the Portland Opera’s busy staff streamline its production workflow across its multi-venue facility. Crew members use Clear-Com’s CellCom® Digital Wireless communications system, purchased from Hollywood Lights, Inc., at its three performance venues, the 2,992-seat Keller Auditorium, the 880-seat Newmark Theatre and the 178-seat Studio Theatre at the company’s headquarters.

The Portland Opera, founded in 1964 and home to some of the most groundbreaking, innovative productions in the country, uses eight Clear-Com CellCom beltpacks and five antennas for productions at the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre and Studio Theatre. Among the operas being produced for the 2008/2009 season are Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto, Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, and Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera. CellCom has made the task of pulling together these kinds of productions much easier for staff.

“The CellCom gives us the flexibility of bringing our own system into any of the locations and plugging it into the existing four-wire Clear-Com systems,” says Scot Burckhardt, Technical Director of the Portland Opera. “This allows us to maximize communicating to the fixed positions in each theatre, while freeing up our key personnel, like our production stage manager, Jennifer Hammontree, to move around with the wireless system.”

Prior to the CellCom, Hammontree was tethered to a fixed communication station. If she needed to make any changes during a rehearsal, she would have to take off her wired headset, walk out on stage and stop the rehearsal to speak with the director, the assistant director and the cast. Everyone involved needed to speak loudly in order to be heard, which slowed down the production flow drastically.

Thanks to CellCom, this is no longer an issue. “With the CellCom, we are able to accomplish interfacing over headsets,” Burckhardt says. “Everyone can have a civilized conversation without yelling back and forth. By delivering crystal-clear communications, CellCom lets us focus on improving a production rather than straining to hear someone shouting across a large theatre.”

Portland Opera uses CellCom as a standalone system in the Studio Theatre, which does not have a wired system. Thanks to CellCom’s inherent mobility and versatility, it can be used on its own, as is the case with the Studio Theatre, or within a wired system.

“We can now have our director of production ready to interface with all of the production elements like running crew, stage management, the directors and the like,” adds Burckhardt. “The system provides an infinite level of depth by allowing us to pre-configure groups that are addressable by a push of a button. The CellCom system makes our job easier and that is a good thing.”

The CellCom digital wireless intercom system enables users to have beltpack-to-beltpack conversations or small group conferences, linking them via the basestation to Clear-Com’s Encore Party-line and Eclipse Digital Matrix systems. Based on a cellular architecture that allows up to 10 beltpacks to roam seamlessly between remote active antennas, CellCom’s key features include a vibration alert, which allows the user to be notified when the headset has been removed from the ear, remote battery monitoring and remote microphone kill, among others.

As CellCom operates in the 1.9GHZ frequency range, it will not be affected by the migration of competing wireless systems to the 2.4GHz range once the FCC performs its RF spectrum reallocation in February 2009.

Note: Due to trademark limitations, CellCom® products, including CellCom Version 2.0, are available in the U.S. and Canada only. In all other countries, the FreeSpeak® brand represents the same digital wireless intercom system, with minor technical differences.


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.