Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology recently expanded its existing Clear-Com system for a 125-seat multipurpose theater 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 demonstrating it at NAMM in 2015, and with growing demand for campus communications and resounding success with their initial purchase, they worked with Canadian partner Clear -Com, GerrAudio, on an expansion system. The expanded intercom system includes an Eclipse HX digital matrix system with FreeSpeak Edge digital wireless intercom, the LQ series of IP interfaces and the Agent-IC mobile intercom application.
As a digital media engineer for the School of Art and Design at Canadore College, Quinn Pelletier must ensure that the technology used by students and instructors will work well, not only for a variety of disciplines, but also where these disciplines intersect. The media arts department includes the acting program, graphic arts, computer game design, digital cinema, TV broadcast programs, etc., most of which have communication requirements.
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The first system they purchased was used as a stand-alone system for the Canadore television program. Consisting of 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 platform for mobile communication for on-campus productions.
“We’ve had this system for five years and it holds up, no problem, it’s just the right product. As soon as we got our hands on FreeSpeak II it was amazing. We set it up, started using it, and all the teachers’ complaints about our old system disappeared, and we’ve since continued to expand our footprint at the school,” Pelletier said.
When funding became available for the new theater in 2019, Pelletier and Canadore saw it as an upgrade opportunity, eventually buying LQ and Agent-IC to augment their television production system and, for the new theater proper; an Eclipse HX-Delta frame with a 64-channel Dante interface card, integrated with FreeSpeak Edge 5 GHz transceivers, and ten FreeSpeak Edge wireless beltpacks, plus additional headsets.
“We’re doing post-production with a Dolby Atmos sound system, we have a music production program and a studio, and we’re building a 10-seat esports arena and TV studio,” Pelletier explained. “In the theatre, we will also install lighting and sound, cameras and television production systems. The Clear-Com Eclipse system was designed from the ground up to handle all aspects of all our productions.
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The Eclipse system is spread across several spaces, including their TV control room, the three-story Sony Atrium, which is used for TV shoots and also houses the E-Sports arena, as well as their music recording studio. . “We have FreeSpeak II antennas built into each of them, and one for our FreeSpeak II mobile ‘flypack’ system, which works very well on site.” As an example, Pelletier cited a series of on-campus lacrosse games that Canadore shares with Nipissing University, where they provided a four-camera system and used the Clear-Com mobile platform for communications. .
Communications can also be used in other areas/for other purposes via a reservable spare antenna, he explained. “For example, the D-Wing on campus has a teaching kitchen with a camera setup, so they can do a ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ kind of thing,” Pelletier continued. “When they want to do more advanced production and add more cameras, they reserve the antenna, plug it in and VLAN directly into their communication system.
This is all part of an ongoing effort to provide the college with a reliable, rock-solid communications system that is suited to its current needs and will contribute to the sustainability of its communications infrastructure.
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“Now we have this nice IP system here that works phenomenally,” Pelletier said. “The new belt packs are amazing; we assign roles – a teacher shows up, students assign themselves the roles of the class they’re in on the belts and from there all permissions are set up for them “And because it’s an IP system, it allows us to expand where we need it. Everything here is Dante, and the Clear-Com, Dante integration is fantastic. That in itself is a game-changer.”
This year, he added, has been the easiest in terms of the functionality of their communication system, since Pelletier started at Canadore. “What is remarkable with the Clear-Com system, what amazes us, is that there are no more complaints from the faculty. In the past, we only had problems. Now there are three or four programs that can use the new theater space and also provide content for other programs, with students in different degree programs working alone and together. Clear-Com makes it possible, just like that. It’s definitely a powerful system for us.