The Seongnam Arts Center is a cultural hub in South Korea that prides itself on being a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose performance facility. Ease of use, durability and reliability of equipment are what make one venue the preferred choice over another for visiting performers, and this mounting pressure for technological excellence in Korea was a major driving force behind the Arts Center’s decision for an audio overhaul. Having recently installed a new audio system, the 1,808-seat capacity focused on an intercom systems upgrade comprised of Clear-Com’s® HelixNet® Digital Network Partyline and FreeSpeak II® Digital Wireless Intercom. The new system would be implemented across three performance halls: the Concert Hall, the Ensemble Theatre, and the largest of the three, the Opera House.
Seongnam Arts Center partnered with One-Up Solutions for the integration of the intercom upgrade, but there was some trepidation over transitioning from the existing analog system infrastructure, to a fully digital intercom system—a growing trend in Europe and other Western markets. One-Up referred them to Clear-Com’s work with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which had designated Clear-Com equipment as a standard by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), helping to put their minds at ease.
The venue had been using an analog intercom system that was already operating at max capacity, and demand for a bigger system, with more channels and more flexibility, was only continuing to grow. Andy Jae Hyung Ryu, Chief Technical Director of One-Up Solutions explained, “Based on the requirements of international and big performance teams we can predict that performance venues in Korea will need to provide larger systems which will mean that digital intercom systems will have higher demand…so they decided to upgrade.”
In the Opera House, the digital intercom system includes a HelixNet system and a FreeSpeak II system. The design for the new digital IP system took into consideration the existing cable infrastructure, and they were able to upgrade their analogue system to a digital system with 12 channels (64 endpoints) while still using the traditional three-pin XLR cable infrastructure that was already in place. A HelixNet HMS-4X main station is installed on the Stage Manager desk, backstage, and the desk station unit and belt pack are configured in various channels like sound, lighting, video desk, and broadcasting.
A FreeSpeak II FSII-Base-II wireless base station, linked with HelixNet, is also installed on the Stage Manager’s desk backstage. The FreeSpeak II wireless intercom system connects 25 wireless belt packs via several 2.4GHz antennas distributed throughout the venue for seamless roaming.
Deputy Director of the Seongnam Art Center Stage Management Department, Lee Byung-kook, comments on the effectiveness of implementing high performance intercom into the venue’s overall technology upgrade. “When everyone can communicate clearly and in real-time, it comes through in the performance. FreeSpeak II and HelixNet allow us to synchronize all aspects that make up the performance — lighting, sound, video, talent and more.” Seongnam Arts Center is one of the first venues in Korea to upgrade to a fully digital intercom system, making it a truly superior multipurpose performance space.