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Skype as an intercomm system for a live event

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Lucas Chambers
Skype as an intercomm system for a live event
on May 22, 2015 at 9:51:23 am

Hi, I'm trying to figure out a budget option for an intercomm system to cover a live event: 2 cameramen, live mix. I was just wondering if anyone has tried simply using Skype in a conference call to communicate with the camera operators. Clearly this isn't pro, and little cue lights etc. are obviously ruled out, but then again, when I see the number of complaints over budget interomm systems, I'm thinking the old K.I.S.S. adage might hold true here. Any ideas? Alternately, I'd be glad to get suggestions for an affordable, reliable intercomm system. My budget is $1,500. Thanks


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Skype as an intercomm system for a live event
on May 27, 2015 at 6:09:31 pm

Hi Lucas,

I'll just address your title, don't do it. Just rent a clearcom system, they are pretty cheap from most rental houses, VER etc. That's what they are designed for, and they work in crowded area, unlike WIFI.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area


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Lucas Chambers
Re: Skype as an intercomm system for a live event
on May 28, 2015 at 12:14:58 pm

Hi Vince, thanks for your advice. I've actually found the right middle ground, I hope, with Unity Intercom. Check it out online. It's an app based proper intercom system geared toward this sort of thing. I've read posts from pros who've used it successfully. What do you think? Thanks


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Skype as an intercomm system for a live event
on May 28, 2015 at 5:36:46 pm

Here's my take on these alternative options. Intercom is designed to be simple to use so that you can focus on the production side, especially when you have to worry about moving a live camera around. If your clearcom requires you to look away to push a button, it's too complex. If the WIFI goes down, your guys might miss important cues. I personally stick with hard wired connections whenever possible.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area


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Drew Lahat
Re: Skype as an intercomm system for a live event
on Feb 3, 2016 at 5:41:02 am

Of course a proper production intercom system (Clearcom/Telex/etc.) is the right thing to do and by far the best option. If you don't have a proper integrated studio system (Triax,SMPTE fiber, etc.) they can be a challenge to utilize with separate wiring and all... and the wireless systems are expensive to rent for productions who can't afford proper studio setups to begin with.

What I propose is walkies - particularly the ubiquitous Motorola CP200 2-way radios. Those can be rented anywhere you get production rentals, here in L.A. it's easy to find them for $10 apiece. They're professional and rugged, and I've used them on a couple of productions as intercom and they worked pretty well for that purpose. Still gotta figure out VOX or avoiding PTT for the producer all the time.


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