Communication with Loading Gallery

MarceloC

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Jul 26, 2011
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Torrance, California, United States
Hey all,

I'm trying to do a little research in the best method to communicate with the loading gallery from the deck "without" yelling over other work on stage. I've been in a road house back east somewhere where they had CB style mic's with small speaker boxes upstairs as well as at the rail. I'm sure there is some economical way of doing this...

What about using the existing Clear-com system and adding some squall boxes (KB-702GM)



Thoughts?

Thanks in advance...
 

rochem

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May 20, 2008
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New York, NY
In shorter or less busy spaces, we generally just shout. For anything at the road house and in the 90+ foot grid venues where I work, we use radios. I've never worked somewhere with a permanent com line run to the load rail, but I personally don't think I'd like it. There are usually two or three different people throwing weight at once where I work, and I feel like the cords would just get in the way - plus that could make communication between loaders more difficult.

Just thinking off the top of my head, a cheap but slower method might be to attach a note to an unused batten, fly in the pipe, and have the loaders do whatever's written on the note. Virtually no chance of mistakes, although this assumes no one minds you bringing a pipe into the deck every few minutes. :)
 

MarshallPope

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I'm personally partial to radios with the clip-on shoulder thingy when doing high work. Comm units can get bulky and in the way, but radios are unobtrusive enough to just be there when you need them and not have to bother with them when you don't.
 

Toffee

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We all carry around radios and have dedicated channels for each theatre and we just use that to communicate between all of us who are working that day.

The one that I use:

 

avkid

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That's a classic Motorola.
 

chausman

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Just thinking off the top of my head, a cheap but slower method might be to attach a note to an unused batten, fly in the pipe, and have the loaders do whatever's written on the note. Virtually no chance of mistakes, although this assumes no one minds you bringing a pipe into the deck every few minutes. :)
or find some rated hardware and just setup a little pulley you could attach your notes to, without bringing in a full pipe. Just put it somewhere in an empty lineset like behind an electric, or on the far end.
 

venuetech

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Umm... no
Unreliable and technically not approved for commercial use.
Family Radio Service (FRS) | FCC.gov


Licensing
The Family Radio Service (FRS) is licensed by rule. This means an individual license is not required to operate an FRS device. You can operate an FRS device regardless of your age and for personal or business use so long as you are not a representative of a foreign government.
It is just a 1/2 watt transmitter, plenty for the few line of sight yards between deck and load plate.
 
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chausman

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I've never gotten good sound out of one. Always very hard to understand. And there's a big difference between line four and line fourteen.
 

gafftaper

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I've never gotten good sound out of one. Always very hard to understand. And there's a big difference between line four and line fourteen.
Perhaps you need to buy a better radio. Back in the mid 90's when the Motorola FRS were new and sort of expensive, I had a set of them and they were fantastic. I could drive to 7-11 half a mile from school and my students could still communicate with me perfectly. The new high powered ones are amazing. I've used them hiking a good 3 or 4 miles from camp.

However this talk of radios is potentially breaking a cardinal rule. How do you secure that FRS/Commercial Grade radio so it doesn't fall and kill someone below? This is one of the reasons I prefer the Clear Com. If you have a crew just put the lead person on the com. No problems with lots of cable in the way, just one cable you can run to a more convenient location. You need one person making final decisions right, that person gets the com line. Easy. Plus it's safer because it can only fall as far as it's cable allows it.
 

chausman

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Perhaps you need to buy a better radio. Back in the mid 90's when the Motorola FRS were new and sort of expensive, I had a set of them and they were fantastic. I could drive to 7-11 half a mile from school and my students could still communicate with me perfectly. The new high powered ones are amazing. I've used them hiking a good 3 or 4 miles from camp.
.
Yes, we probably do. I've used some of the nicer ones and those were great, but the ones we have are terrible. Couldn't understand anything, and had terrible static.
 

MarshallPope

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However this talk of radios is potentially breaking a cardinal rule. How do you secure that FRS/Commercial Grade radio so it doesn't fall and kill someone below?
That is the one thing that terrifies me about using radios. The way I see it, using the shoulder clippy thing (What is the name?) mitigates the risk by allowing you not to mess with the radio itself, leaving it securely clipped to your belt. Even so, I always find myself clutching the radio for dear life when stepping over a slot in the grid.

I will say that when there is no other work going on in the vicinity, I have been known to take a lav pack up with me and leave whoever is on the ground with a mic as well. It saves you from having to yell, at least, and the pack can stay securely clipped inside your back pocket or waistband.
 

derekleffew

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...The way I see it, using the shoulder clippy thing (What is the name?) ...
Harness? Holster?

Umm... no
Unreliable and technically not approved for commercial use.
Approved or not, it says on wikipedia.com (so it has to be true) :
... FRS has also seen significant adoption by business interests, as an unlicensed, low-cost alternative to the business band.
These are what the vast majority of riggers I know use.
 

MarshallPope

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This is what I was referring to:
 

avkid

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Approved or not, it says on wikipedia.com (so it has to be true) :
The ruling was deemed unenforceable shortly after it was issued.

Many units are now GMRS/FRS hybrids, GMRS requires a license and specifically excludes commercial operation.
 

Footer

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Oh, "speaker mic." Or, if one prefers a lot of extra syllables, "remote speaker microphone."
Always called them fist mics.

We have around 50 clearcom connections in both of our theatres (including all FOH cats, grid, and loading gallery), so we could technically use a com on the loading rail. In general though all communication goes from the deck, to the mid rail (25' off deck), then to the loading gallery. All is done by a form of yelling. I don't have enough radios for everyone so this is how we work.