Wimbledon Reflections: Clear-Com recalls tournament intercom deployment
For the 2015 edition of the Wimbledon Championships, audio supplier RG Jones Sound Engineering again enlisted Clear-Com to help optimise the intercom deployment and determine how it should integrate and work alongside other tournament systems.
For the 15th consecutive year, IBM was responsible for collecting and analysing game match data in real-time, providing information to user groups such as the press, media, broadcasters and public. Statistics collectors sat at the courtside to capture data from each match, such as the number of serves, service direction and return stroke. Each stat collector had to be in contact with the help desk as well as being able to hear microphone audio feeds from around the court, including those at the Chair Umpire position.
Clear and reliable communciation is a must, then, and in line with this requirement some of these positions were this year equipped with Clear-Com RS-702 intercom beltpacks, installed by the audio team from RG Jones Sound Engineering.
At the heart of this communication set-up was Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX-Delta digital matrix. To connect the Delta with Clear-Com’s RS-702s, 2-channel analogue partyline beltpacks over the IP network, LQ-4W2 and LQ-2W2 devices for 4-wire and 2-wire IP interfacing were deployed. The two LQ interface devices enabled the bi-directional transmissions of audio signals among intercom beltpack users.
Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak II 1.9GHz wireless intercom system was also used during play to facilitate communication between the audio team located on Centre Court and the audio sound mixer in a remote mix position for adjusting sound levels of the Chair Umpire’s mic and cueing presentations. When the umpire called a shot, a sound engineer inside Centre Court determined the audibility of the call and then talked to the sound mixer on his comms panel via FreeSpeak II, in order to make adjustments to the sound levels. This process ensured the spectators could hear each call loud and clear over the PA system without delay and without it being so loud as to pose a problem to the broadcast engineers.
The FreeSpeak II system wireless beltpacks were seamlessly connected to the Eclipse HX-Delta matrix system, via an E-Que-HX card that slots directly into the matrix. Two FreeSpeak II Tranceiver Antennas were deployed within the famous Centre Court to provide connectivity to all wireless beltpacks in and around this coverage area.
This level of flexibility gave RG Jones engineer Brew (James Breward), the comms system designer and programmer who was in the audio control room, full control and on-the-fly programming of all wireless beltpacks.
Brew said: “RG has tried many wireless comms systems over the last five years at Wimbledon, and the FreeSpeak II has proven to be the best sounding, most feature-rich and functional of all the digital systems on the market. We achieved great coverage of the bowl, the radio rack position and the majority of the covered walkway from our control room to Centre Court with no more than two antennas, both of which were installed without needing extensive coverage survey. Clear-Com will be back for more next year.”