Harvard Athletics has chosen Clear-Com’s intercom solutions as part of a video production technology upgrade initiative to enhance its production value and improve their remote production flexibility.
To address the crucial communication workflow, Harvard uses the Clear-Com Encore Partyline analog intercom system with a MS-704 base station in the control room, which in turn supports up to 55 beltpacks or 10 speaker stations and 4 channels. The five-channel, full-duplex FreeSpeak II wireless intercom system enables the team to also have an untethered communication system in place so the team can roam freely through the event production.
Both the control room and the stadiums/venues are equipped with Clear-Com LQ Series IP Interfaces, allowing Harvard Athletics to move their communications onto their campus network. By using the LQ devices in conjunction with Encore and FreeSpeak II, the production team has been able to greatly simplify the production process.
“We are heavy users of the LQ Series,” explained associate director of athletics, Imry Halevi. “We have 4-channel LQs in our two control rooms, and 2-channel mobile LQs at our nine or ten different venues where we play from. These LQ units allow us to tie together all the communications from those different locations for sending back to our control rooms where production happens.”
And for times when users are away from the main facility or stadium, they have access to Agent-IC, a mobile app that connects to an LQ via WiFi or cellular connection, and provides communication access on mobile phones or tablets.
“[With Agent-IC], I can call in on my phone and be a part of the conversation, as if I was still in the control room,” Imry continued. “This ease of use and flexibility has given us so many more communication options.”
Home to 42 intercollegiate sports teams and one of the largest Division 1 athletic teams in the country, the Harvard Athletics team is driven by the mission of education through athletics. The Harvard Athletics Content & Strategic Communications department, led by Halevi, plays a dynamic role in live game broadcasts, video board productions and other related multimedia activities. Putting on a live college sports broadcast production takes a village, including the technology, the talent and energy from a full-time multimedia staff, as well as the contributions of students and recent graduates from local colleges.
The ability to connect an entire sports event production team located in many different places calls for an innovative approach, which is why Harvard Athletics chose Clear-Com’s intercom solutions. “In the fast-paced world of sports production, efficient communications technology and coordination between our team is critical,” commented Halevi. “The Clear-Com intercom solutions are the backbone of communications between the entire production team. With 20+ team members working on a sports production on many different tasks at any given time, it’s imperative that people can talk and communicate with each other; whether it’s the camera team at the venue, the commentators, the band and music directors, the marketing and promotional team on the field, or the technical production team in the control room.”
Imry believes that connection and mobility are key when it comes to a successful (and sophisticated) intercom communication system. “The ability to connect different Clear-Com systems from multiple places and buildings, support an IP workflow, remove complicated cable runs, and incorporate wired and wireless into a single infrastructure as well as the assurance of low latency and reliable communications has truly enhanced the way we approach our productions,” he said. “I also appreciate the resiliency of the Clear-Com products, and when we do need their help, their customer support is exceptional. Plus, they’re always innovating.”