The Coms of HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’

HBO bowed its heavily promoted Aaron Sorkin drama, The Newsroom, on Sunday night to an audience of nearly 3 million viewers, putting it on par with many of the network’s most-watched shows. Helping provide an air of verisimilitude to the proceedings were numerous Clear-Com systems, used as part of the show's production—and acting.
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New York (June 26, 2012)—HBO bowed its heavily promoted Aaron Sorkin drama, The Newsroom, on Sunday night to an audience of nearly 3 million viewers, putting it on par with many of the network’s most-watched shows. Helping provide an air of verisimilitude to the proceedings were numerous Clear-Com systems, used as part of the show's production—and acting.

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A Eclipse-PiCo digital matrix, V-Series panels, a Tempest2400 wireless system and HME DX121 digital wireless intercom appeared repeatedly throughout the pilot episode and, since they were working systems, The Newsroom cast members use them while working on the show, adding a level of efficiency and realism to the production.

The Clear-Com intercom systems allow The Newsroom actors to operate the intercoms not just as props, but for actual communications with each other, the director, and with crew members. There are four discrete intercom channels on the Tempest2400 digital wireless intercom, two for the engineering staff, one for actors and the director to talk with one another, and a fourth channel for the actors to communicate with each other. In one scene where the fictional news production crew was working in the control room, the actors used Clear-Com’s V-Series matrix panels to communicate with their counterparts on the news set, who listened to and interacted with them on their Tempest wireless BeltStations and various Clear-Com headsets, including the new CC-300 single-muff headset.

“In multiple scenarios, we’ve had our lead, Jeff Daniels, who plays the anchor on the show, wearing an IFB earpiece while conducting an interview, and the actor playing his producer was actually talking in his ear,” says Matt Morrissey, Video Effects Supervisor, The Newsroom. “Having an actor perform to live interaction rather than a piece of recorded audio really changes the performance, allowing the actors to depict their reactions to each other in real time for the audience. After the pilot episode, our creative producer liked this so much that he asked us to continue showing these kinds of interactions moving forward.”

The Eclipse-PiCo, a computer using its Eclipse Configuration Software (ECS) software, and the Tempest BaseStation, are located behind the monitor wall of the control room set. A Tempest remote transceiver connected via a CAT5 cable is mounted in a central location to meet the desired wireless intercom coverage objectives. The on-set A2 and communications operator, Srdjan “Serge” Popovic, manages the Eclipse-PiCo using ECS to make audio adjustments. Serge stayed in communication while away from his V-Series panel with the HME DX121 and WH200 all-in-one headset. Additionally, five V-Series panels are located in the control room set, in front of the actors, as they would be in an actual television production. Morrissey, his graphics coordinator, and the technical director all wear Tempest2400 BeltStations and headsets so that they can talk throughout the set about graphics and other important issues.

Clear-Com
www.clearcom.com