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Putting ClearCom's FreeSpeak through its paces at The Welsh National Opera
now fully installed and working hard!
|In the Spring issue of The Spin, we reported that the Welsh National Opera (WNO) had taken delivery of its new Clear-Com FreeSpeak wireless communications system, just ahead of the new touring season. Now fully installed and with several months' consistent use, we asked Head of Lighting and Sound, Ian Jones, to bring us up to date with how the system is working.
"We wanted to purchase a new system that would complement our existing Clear-Com wired comms system, supplied by Orbital six years previously, on the basis of preserving our original investment. FreeSpeak is configured to give us one channel for Lighting, with the second for the Stage Management and Stage Crew, plus two further channels on our Clear-Com wired system. Ours is a very tough environment, and we work our equipment hard. So far, the FreeSpeak units are holding up pretty well – we have had the odd issue with the charging sockets on the beltpacks, but that's pretty much all. It's working well and doing a very good job.
"We need a bit more range in Cardiff – it's not really an issue on tour. Our venue in Cardiff is huge, and we have identified the need for another antenna to extend the system's range. At the moment, we have one antenna below the stage, with another two to one side. This leaves us a bit bare on the other side of the stage – it's just a question of running CAT5 cable to the new antenna, as the budget permits. Overall, we have worked out that we will pay for the system within a 4-year period, thanks to the savings we now make on the licence fees, which is a great result."
Ian and his team are just about to embark on a 6-week tour, taking the WNO's four new operas out on the road – The Tudors Trilogy, and an acclaimed new production of Tosca.
"Overall, we have worked out that we will pay for the system within a 4-year period, thanks to the savings we now make on the licence fees, which is a great result."