The live event industry has proven its resilience over the past year, keeping the show on the road by deploying new workflows and configuring technologies in different ways. Insight Productions is a perfect example of this innovation, adapting to remote production to complement its traditional on-site production support.
To achieve this hybrid approach seamlessly, the company is using Clear-Com®’s LQ® Series of IP Interfaces and Agent-IC® Mobile App for efficient, high-quality communications between technical crews, clients and talent, whether they’re in transit, at a venue or at home.
Insight Productions was founded by brothers Dylen and Austen Roberts, as an extension of their apparel company. “We’ve always been interested in helping our customers realize their goals and do things differently, whether it’s fashion or live events,” said Austen Roberts.
The company handles a diverse range of productions including concerts, award shows, sports and the rapidly growing esports market for live gaming tournaments. Insight’s 27-foot trailer serves as a mobile command center and studio as well as home base for the Clear-Com technologies.
Insight was previously managing communications through a group-chatting platform originally built for gaming but as live events, especially gaming and esports, continually increased in size and scale, the team knew it needed more control over managing comms for its productions to ensure the level of quality that viewers – and especially rights-holders and advertisers – were coming to expect.
“We quickly realized it wasn’t a viable long-term solution in terms of reliability and quality,” Austen said. “We needed professional-level hardware and software plus remote capabilities, so we switched to Clear-Com and haven’t looked back.”
The team’s need for remote capabilities became more important considering new health and safety guidelines limiting the number of people on a set or on-site at a venue. As a result, producers, clients and even directors who have traditionally worked on-site were now forced to connect with a production remotely.
From the trailer, the team can manage remote or on-site production, routing the comms feed via LQ to a client’s control room, the trailer’s road crew or to talent. LQ can extend the capabilities of an intercom system to one or more remote locations by positioning an LQ device at the destination location and interfacing with Clear-Com devices including wired beltpacks, SIP clients or the Agent-IC mobile app. LQ devices can link different industry-standard 2-wire intercom and 4-wire audio systems together, irrespective of brand and platform.
“We’ll go some weeks where we’re in the truck together and then there are other times when I need to produce from home,” Austen said. “With these systems, I can be in my house on a headset and communicate with the teams just as if I were on-site with them.
“As a producer, I evaluate any technology in terms of how it can make life easier for my talent and operators,” he added. “I’ve been able to put Clear-Com in the hands of inexperienced operators and it’s really easy for them to begin using it immediately. Clear-Com checks every box for us.”
Cliff Edwards, lead engineer for Insight, recalled one event where the audio and lighting crews were initially skeptical of the Agent-IC app as a communications tool.
“Their initial reaction was ‘what do we need this for?’” Edwards said. “As first-time users, they were doubtful when we told them that was their comms but after using it, they said ‘Are you kidding me? That’s amazing!’”
The Clear-Com system also provides more control over communications, as LQ devices are audio-over-IP interfaces that move and distribute audio and communications signals to and from one or more communication points depending on a system’s configuration.
“I can manage who’s involved in a dialogue, instead of always having to include the whole network every time,” Edwards said. “It makes having side conversations easier. I can single someone out or I can hold calls with everyone, and there’s no difference whether it’s 20 people or four on the network.”
The Clear-Com systems’ ease of use and plug-and-play operation also saves time when the Insight team rolls up to an event. Dylen recalled one recent event where the set-up time was shortened by about seven hours. “It was a large-scale event and we had about 12 crews running around making sure we got everything set up in time. Comms is such a crucial part of what we do now, so getting that up and running quickly and easily is the best way to ensure an event will run smoothly.”
The Insight team is confidently looking toward the future knowing that as their production requirements continue to expand, the Clear-Com systems will keep pace and grow with them.
“We can always purchase more Agent-IC licenses or grab another LQ and we’re on our way,” Austen said. “These systems are scalable so adding panels or frames is never an issue. I’m a firm believer in turnkey, one-stop shopping, and I look to work with companies that give us comprehensive solutions versus having to find different options for different needs.”