Canadore College of applied arts and technology expanded its existing Clear-Com system for a multi-purpose 125-seat theater. Per the college, the theater is for multiple Media Arts programs at the College Drive Campus in North Bay, Ontario. The college had purchased a FreeSpeak II Digital Wireless System after demoing it at NAMM in 2015. With an increasing demand for comms across the campus and the overwhelming success with their original purchase, they worked with Clear-Com’s Canadian Partner, GerrAudio, on a system expansion.
The now enlarged intercom system features an Eclipse HX Digital Matrix System with FreeSpeak Edge Digital Wireless Intercom, LQ Series of IP Interfaces and the Agent-IC Mobile Intercom App.
Updating the System
As digital media engineer for Canadore College’s School of Art and Design, Quinn Pelletier ensures that the technology used by students and instructors will work well, for not only a variety of disciplines but also where those disciplines intersect. Additionally, the Media Arts Department comprises different programs that have comms requirements, says the college.
The college used the first system purchased as a standalone system for Canadore’s TV program. This included a 4-channel FreeSpeak II Base Station, a single transceiver antenna and splitter, and a small complement of belt packs and headsets that functioned as their mobile comms rig for productions around campus.
“We’ve had that system for five years and it stands up, no problem — it’s just the right product. As soon as we got our hands on FreeSpeak II it was incredible. We set it up, started using it, and all the faculty complaints about our previous system went away, and we have since continued to expand our footprint at the school,” Pelletier continues.
The Installation Process
Funding became available for the new theatre in 2019. Pelletier and Canadore considered this as an opportunity for an upgrade. They purchased LQ and Agent-IC to augment the TV Production system. Additionally, for the new theatre, they purchased an Eclipse HX-Delta Frame with a 64-channel Dante interface card. This was integrated with FreeSpeak Edge 5 GHz transceivers, and ten FreeSpeak Edge wireless beltpacks, as well as additional headsets.
“We do post-production with a Dolby Atmos sound system, we have a music production program and studio, and we’re building a 10-seat E-Sports arena and TV studio,” Pelletier explains. “In the theatre, we’re going to be putting in lighting and sound, cameras, and TV production systems as well. The Clear-Com Eclipse system was built from the ground up to address all aspects of all our productions.”
The Eclipse system thus distributes across spaces including the TV control room, the three-story Sony Atrium as well as their music recording studio. According to the college, the Atrium is used for TV shoots and also houses the E-Sports arena.
Pelletier adds, “We have built-in FreeSpeak II antennas in each of those, and one for our mobile, ‘flypack’ FreeSpeak II system, which works really well on location.” As an example, he cites a series of Lacrosse games on the campus Canadore shares with Nipissing University. Here, they provided a four-camera system and used the mobile Clear-Com rig for comms.
According to Pelletier, comms can serve other areas/purposes via a spare, bookable antenna. Expanding on this, he cites the example of the D-Wing on campus. This has a teaching kitchen with a camera setup. He explains, “When [teachers] want to do more advanced production and add more cameras, they book out the antenna, plug it in, and VLAN it right into their comms system.”
This is all part of an ongoing effort to provide Canadore College with a rock-solid reliable comms system with Clear-Com. Moreover, it is one that suits the current needs and will help future-proof the comms infrastructure.
“Now we have this nice IP system here that works phenomenally well. The new beltpacks are amazing; we’re assigning roles. A professor shows up, the students assign themselves the roles of the class they’re in on the beltpacks and from there all the permissions are set up for them. And because it’s an IP system it allows us to expand wherever we need to. Everything here is Dante, and the Clear-Com, Dante integration is fantastic. That’s a game-changer in itself.”
Pelletier addresses the smooth functionality of the comms system. He especially notes the lack of complaints from faculty since the Clear-Com installation. “In the past, we had nothing but problems. Now, there are three or four programs that can utilize the new theatre space and also provide content for other programs, with students in different courses of study, working alone and together.”
He concludes, “Clear-Com makes that possible, just like that. It’s definitely a powerful system for us.”
Click on “View Slideshow” on upper-right corner for images of the Clear-Com setup at Canadore College.