Specialist provider of license-free communication systems Channel-16 successfully deployed an array of Green-GO Digital Intercom products at Muse’s Festival Tour 2016, following system design and technical support from sole UK distributor, Canford. The show, which toured stadiums in the UK and Europe, pushed the limits of what a live production can be and clearly supported and complimented the music.
When a show has such a high level of technical production as that devised for the Muse tour, it quickly becomes obvious that communications between the technical team running the show needs to be of an equally high standard. Having read about Green-GO digital intercom, Channel-16’s Managing Director, Paul English, contacted Canford Product Manager, Mike Reay to discuss his requirement for a flexible, reliable and expandable intercom. The resulting system used a combination of wired and wireless devices, powered via PoE switches which formed the data backbone of the comms system.
The show caller for the tour used a 12-channel MCR12 rackmount station, as did the playback operator/backline manager and monitor engineer. The lighting designer and content designer both used compact 8-way MCD desk units, while the lighting associate wore a wired belt-pack.
DECT wireless belt-packs were worn by two LED masters, the dimmer controller and four stage carpenters, collectively known as ‘Captains’.
A key element of the stage design for the tour was the inclusion of eleven, large, moveable screens, which provided additional video content behind the band. Each screen was designed to move forwards and backwards independently on a runner system fitted to the stage, giving an extra dimension to the set design. These panels were re-positioned throughout the show by seven ‘Captains’, each with their own team of three local helpers. Each ‘Captain’ needed to be individually cued to perform his part in the carefully choreographed set.
Channel 16 MD, Paul English, designed custom harnesses for the beltpacks which allowed them to be worn at chest height by the operators. This made it easy to reach the belt-pack controls and it placed the display screen within their peripheral vision so they could pick up visual clues as well as voice commands.
A single floating wireless belt-pack was made available for stage management, providing them with freedom of movement around the stage when necessary.
Additional wired belt-packs were provided for FOH audio and lighting associate, as well as BLACKTRAX operator and video interactive operator.
All the local production crews including follow-spot operators, used a separate set of Motorola radios with a Tait wireless base station. This was linked into the main Green-GO intercom system through a Green-GO GG4W 4-Wire Interface.
“We use and are familiar with several different wireless comms systems.” explained Channel-16 MD, Paul English. “Experience tells me that licence-free is where we want to be for the rental market. Systems reliant on paid licenses are useful and have their place, but organising the frequency management is an extra chore that I can really do without!
With more and more wireless belt packs for guitars etc. using 2.4Ghz technology, I wanted to avoid wireless comms operating in that high traffic part of the spectrum. The Green-GO DECT wireless system uses a different frequency band and has proved to be very reliable, even when everyone in the audience is using their smart phone. It is an excellent addition to our inventory.”
When configuring the system for what was a complicated and intricate production, Paul was able to use the dedicated software (Mac and Windows compatible) to create as many groups and users as he needed and then to select which intercom channels to which each technician would have access.
Getting analogue audio in and out of the digital intercom system was easy. The 4-wire interface worked very well and latency throughout the system, including the wireless beltpacks, was very low – definitely no lipsync problems!
Paul English concluded by stating “We are excited by the product developments that I know the Green-GO design team are working on and I look forward to trying out the new kit when it is launched. It’s been a very good start and I am sure that this is the beginning of a solid long-term relationship between Channel-16, Canford and Green-GO.”
Canford will be exhibiting Green-GO at BVE 2017, Stand H58 where Product Manager Mike Reay will be available to discuss how the versatile digital intercom system could be successfully deployed in Broadcast and Live Event applications.