Clear-Com Connects Gearhouse Broadcast

LOS ANGELES—Gearhouse Broadcast is a global production service company that’s always relied on Clear-Com intercom systems. Their products are universally reliable and provide a great deal of flexibility. And they continue to innovate and improve their products as new technologies are developed.

In three decades of planning and overseeing a wide variety of live video productions, I’ve come to realize that one of the most important parts of any project is communication among crew members. If everyone isn’t on the same page, then the production will suffer and Clear-Com’s innovative products have provided this linkage for us.

A good example is the company’s new Eclipse digital matrix intercom system and its ability to use IP to reach crewmembers located miles apart. The Eclipse handles multiple paths of conversation, including IFBs, with communication between users as clear as if they were standing next to each other.

Last summer, we provided coverage of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour Event as we have for the past four years, this time traveling to Tavarua, Fiji to capture the action at “Cloud Break,” a famous surfing spot. Our control room was located on Tavarua and we set up an IP-based virtual intercom control panel 2.5 miles on the tournament’s observation tower, located on a remote reef. We placed two cameras on the tower and three cameras (equipped with wireless receivers) were also deployed—one in the water, one on a Jet Ski and the third on a regular boat.

We had to have full communications with all of these locations from a centralized point (the control room in Tavarua) and we were able to do that flawlessly with the Eclipse. Despite the distances involved, we didn’t experience any signal breakup or interference problems whatsoever.

Prior to using this new Clear-Com system, we would run a four-wire intercom system via a microwave link to the tower. However, this arrangement only provided us with one channel of intercom between some of the locations where we were shooting and the distances involved were nowhere near what the Eclipse allows us to cover over IP connectivity. We had enough bandwidth to set up several IP-based paths which enabled signals to be transmitted either way.

This IP system makes use of Clear- Com’s Instant Voice Core (I.V.Core) technology and also allowed us to troubleshoot and remotely fix just about any equipment problems.

The real value for us in terms of IP-based communications is that we don’t have to relay on walkie-talkies or cell phones and always have fully open lines of communication at all times.

You can have the best cameras, switchers, and the best people, but if crew members can’t communicate with each other you won’t have a smooth production. Clear-Com’s Eclipse system has given us this capability.

Jim Lucas has served as vice president of engineering at Gearhouse Broadcast U.S. for the past five years and has been involved in television production for 35 years. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Clear-Com at 800-462-4357 or