Gearhouse Broadcast deploys Clear-Com systems at large Australian events
AUSTRALIA: The event communications division at Gearhouse Broadcast had a busy summer, ensuring communications ran smoothly for a number of large events, including Hillsong Conference and the ‘Creative Generations’ Schools Spectaculars. During both of these events, the rental company deployed Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak II wireless, HelixNet partyline and Eclipse digital matrix systems, all acquired through the manufacturer’s Australian distributor, Jands.
Hillsong Conference was held over the course of four days, occupying the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, as well as many of the venues in the nearby Olympic Park. With over 30,000 worshippers in attendance, the conference’s production requirements were as demanding as any other large arena event, with the added demands of broadcast. A total of 50 FreeSpeak II beltpacks and an HMS-4X HelixNet partlyline base station connecting 12 HBP-2X HelixNet beltpacks, as well as an Eclipse Digital Matrix platform integrated with a Madi communications system.
‘We had rented Freespeak II to Hillsong in Sydney and Melbourne prior to the conference and it was a good fit for them,’ recalled the manager of Gearhouse’s Event Communications division, Jason Owen. ‘The conference is such a large-scale job, and their premiere event of the year. It was a big test for a big system. With FreeSpeak II, you’re clear of most other wireless interference, the audio quality and coverage is better than the competitors, and the setup is easier. Another great advantage is the flexibility. If we’re on site and we need to add another antenna to extend coverage, we don’t need to reset the system, we just add an antenna and the system deals with it automatically.’
The same team from Gearhouse Broadcast was then deployed to facilitate the comms needs at the ‘Creative Generations’ Schools Spectacular at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, which saw approximately 1,500 students perform and an almost identical communications system implemented. Following that was the Victoria chapter of the Schools Spectacular that took place in the Hisense Arena. Gearhouse Broadcast sent a system comprising 14 FreeSpeak II beltpacks and a HelixNet base station with 14 wired beltpacks to Victoria, where Peter Cochrane from Articulate deployed it for the event that featured 3,500 students performing to both a live and broadcast audience.
‘I had all the stage managers on FreeSpeak II, and the hardwired comms for the followspots and mechanised movement crew,’ noted Mr Cochrane. ‘The most extreme cable run was almost 1km and I didn’t have a single problem. I had to build the entire system by myself, and the very quick setup made my life much easier. The FreeSpeak II system was key – I turned it on and it just worked. I ran it on four antennas, with one backstage. It sounded great and there were no dropouts.’