Circus Revy and their new CrewCom system from Pliant for important stage communication.

Communication between the different technicians in a show is super-important, especially when working with motors, stage lifts and stage elevators during a show implementation. Here, security must be in place, and here intercom plays an important role. The circus revue on Bakken has four lifts in the stage floor and several hoists from the ceiling, so functionality and reliability of their new wireless intercom have a particularly high focus.

Cirkusrevyen has just invested in a new wireless CrewCom intercom system from Pliant, and ProAV Magazine is taken at Bakken, while the preliminary samples for the year’s review are on. There is hectic activity in the big circus tent, the premiere of May 23 is approaching, and the technique must be in place. In the tent we meet Claus Wolter and Henrik “Micro” Nymand, who are respectively FOH sound engineer and monitor / wireless sound engineer.

Allan Holmberg from Nordic Pro Audio, who has delivered the new intercom, is also present. The circus revue has been running for really, many years. Claus Wolter has been involved from 2006 and Henrik Nymand for the last 6 years; so of course there has also been an intercom. The technicians have been through several systems from other manufacturers, but the Pliant system has been chosen partly because of the system’s focus on a wireless solution, but also because of the good coverage, high reliability and the many individual possibilities in the system. During the initial tests of the system, the two technicians were surprised by the wireless coverage and range. Claus Wolter says: “We have previously had some wireless channels on our intercom and had problems with the range and the slightly special conditions that are out here on Bakken. Initially, we tested the Pliant system on just one antenna, placed on the stage, and here we could go far out on the hill and still have good coverage. These were conditions that we could not achieve with the previous systems. ”

Wireless Intercom.

The new Pliant system for the Circus Revision consists of a central control unit, CCU, the brain of the system, which is connected to three antennas; two on the stage and a third antenna that sits in the rear housing. The CCU unit is located in the small technical room that Henrik Nymand has on the right-hand side of the back case and which also contains the monitor desk and the wireless channels for the scene microphones. In addition, twelve CrewCom Radio Packs with associated headsets were purchased; They are the wireless transmitters and receivers that are carried in the belt by the technicians. Each antenna can communicate with six Radio Packs, so there are two antennas on the stage. In the back house there is only a need for coverage for some of the technicians, typically covering the stage antennas also in the back house. During the show, audio and light engineers each have their Radio Pack, and there and the overcontroller at the entrance also carry intercom beltpack. In Cirkusrevyen are there ten Radio Packs running, but two extra items have been purchased. for the commissioning of new technicians, when the tent at Bakken is rented out to other events (The sons of the Desert” in the tent in the fall), or when the revue goes to Aalborg and plays the usual week in Jutland.

Pliant CrewCom is a multi-conference intercom system. A conference is a concept in the intercom context that can be translated into a group of users who must be able to communicate with each other. Allan Holmberg says that up to 64 different individual conferences can be set up in the system and in each conference an ISO channel can be created. The individual beltpack is available in two or four conference versions, with volume and activity button on each conference group. Circus revue has bought both two and four conference editions, precisely because all technicians do not have to be able to speak and receive out ifire conference groups.

Planning the intercom system

Programming and control of intercom is via a CrewWare software, which via the network controls the CCU unit and the configuration of the entire system. Henrik Nymand has arranged and programmed the intercom setup in the Circus review and says that the system can be configured as needed, and it is also easy to program. “You can do more about these intercom beltpacks than one can on our ordinary wireless microphones, but it is not difficult to familiarize yourself with. The most important thing is to make a good plan and define who should know what. And then work from the individual beltpack, the individual user’s needs. It is eg. also possible to run any program sound into the system; there are inputs to the CCU for that. It could, for example, be our regular listening microphone on the stage, which is active all the time. In this way you can always hear what is happening on the stage using the intercom system. A few ISO channels are also programmed into the system, among other things. for the two followers who have to have much communication with each other during the show, but without the lighting technician who is at the same conference group having to listen in. ”

Pliant CrewCom works at 2.4 GHz, but avoids the obvious problems of fighting around the frequencies with WiFi. Allan Holmberg says: “CrewCom uses” Spread Specific Frequency ”diversity, ie. the same packet is sent on two different antennas, with a small time lag. The system sends a narrow but high carrier wave in the 2.4 GHz range and spins all the time, many times a second, around the frequencies so that the system constantly finds frequency holes to settle in. ”

The wireless tech-cave.

Henrik Nymand’s small room behind the stage is stuffed with equipment. The monitor desk is a Yamaha QL1, where he controls the listening sound to actors and dancers on stage. The seven man big orchestra is of course also on the mixer desk, but combined with an Aviom monitor system, so their individual mix is largely controlled by the musicians themselves. In addition to the Pliant CCU with associated computer control, there is a wealth of other screens in the small room. A couple of monitors are connected to cameras that show the hall and stage respectively, and in addition there are screens for Sennheiser WSM software and for WaveTool, which is a monitoring software to check and warn about how the connections to all audio connections has behaved within the last period. The rack also contains the 12 channels with Sennheiser System 6000, which you invested in last year. There are of course also a few drawers for charging Pliant Radio Pack’s batteries and for Sennheiser beltpacks respectively.

On the table in the cave, headphones with microphones are ready for the actors, and the Circus Revue is one of the first to have received the new 6066 headset microphones from DPA Microphones. Here it is again Allan Holmberg from Nordic Pro Audio, who has made sure that the Cirkusrevyen has got it new microphones well in advance of the premiere. These two technicians are really happy about the microphones. Claus Wolter says: “They sound insanely good, and not only are there good sound in them, but those who get the headset on can hardly feel that they are wearing a microphone. And it’s hardly visible on the actor – it’s almost invisible. ”

Prepared for last minute changes.

Timeliness and timing are extremely important in a revue such as the Circus Revy, so texts and sketches are written in several editions and often with radical changes close to the premiere. Therefore, it is extremely important that the technique is in place and well-run so that it does not get in the way when last-minute changes have to be made. Henrik Nyman concludes: “This makes us quite dependent on us having some technique that works. When the technology is just running, there is much more profit to concentrate on content and settlement. For example, with our intercom, which is now set up and programmed as we would like it. It just works, so we shouldn’t think about it anymore. It gives peace of mind so we can concentrate on making a good revue !! ”