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Clear-Com Gear Used on HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.─Clear-Com intercoms are being used by the production crew on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” as well as by the actors as working props on the new series. “The Newsroom” is a new television drama about the inner-workings of a cable news network created by Emmy and Oscar awarding winner writer Aaron Sorkin, who serves as the show’s executive producer. 

Matt Morrissey, video effects supervisor, "The Newsroom" Clear-Com gear being used include the Eclipse-PiCo digital matrix, V-Series panels, Tempest2400 wireless system and HME DX121 digital wireless intercom.

There are four discrete intercom channels on the Tempest2400 digital wireless intercom, two for the engineering staff, one for actors and the director to talk with one another, and a fourth channel for the actors to communicate with each other. In one scene where the fictional news production crew was working in the control room, the actors relied on Clear-Com’s V-Series matrix panels to communicate with their counterparts on the news set, who listened to and interacted with them on their Tempest wireless BeltStations and various Clear-Com headsets, including the new CC-300 single-muff headset. This offers an accurate portrayal of a real newsroom environment while simultaneously functioning to meet the production’s communication requirements. 

“In multiple scenarios, we’ve had our lead, Jeff Daniels, who plays the anchor on the show, wearing an IFB earpiece while conducting an interview, and the actor playing his producer was actually talking in his ear,” said Matt Morrissey, video effects supervisor. “Having an actor perform to live interaction rather than a piece of recorded audio really changes the performance, allowing the actors to depict their reactions to each other in real time for the audience. After the pilot episode, our creative producer liked this so much that he asked us to continue showing these kinds of interactions moving forward.”

It’s not just “Newsroom” actors who benefit from using the Clear-Com systems, but the production team and crew as well. On “The Newsroom,” the Eclipse-PiCo, a computer using its Eclipse Configuration Software (ECS) software, and the Tempest BaseStation, are located behind the monitor wall of the control room set. A Tempest remote transceiver connected via a CAT5 cable is strategically mounted in a central location to meet the desired wireless intercom coverage objectives. The on-set A2 and communications operator, Srdjan “Serge” Popovic, manages the Eclipse-PiCo using ECS to quickly make audio adjustments. Serge stayed in communication even while away from his V-Series panel with the HME DX121 and WH200 all-in-one headset. Additionally, five V-Series panels are located in the control room set, in front of the actors, as they would be in an actual television production. Morrissey, his graphics coordinator, and the technical director all wear Tempest2400 BeltStations and headsets so that they can talk throughout the set about graphics and other issues.