Communications between FOH and Backstage

Philip Franzone

New Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Location
Florida
Hi all! Right now I'm trying to figure out what type of "intercom" system would be best for my church. Why I put intercom in quotations is because I visited another church recently and saw a system that they use but im not exactly sure what it is. What it was is a phone that looked like your standard office phone but there was another phone backstage and when the FOH people had to ring the backstage they just pushed this button and almost like a red flash was blinking and they where able to talk. I guess my question is does anyone know what type of system that is and maybe if its online to buy. If not what is the best way to do this? I would like to stick with a physical phone that i could mount on the wall backstage and have one at FOH rather then any walkie talkie apps.

Thanks!
Philip
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Hi all! Right now I'm trying to figure out what type of "intercom" system would be best for my church. Why I put intercom in quotations is because I visited another church recently and saw a system that they use but im not exactly sure what it is. What it was is a phone that looked like your standard office phone but there was another phone backstage and when the FOH people had to ring the backstage they just pushed this button and almost like a red flash was blinking and they where able to talk. I guess my question is does anyone know what type of system that is and maybe if its online to buy. If not what is the best way to do this? I would like to stick with a physical phone that i could mount on the wall backstage and have one at FOH rather then any walkie talkie apps.

Thanks!
Philip
Hello! Clear-Com, and its competitors, (Production Intercom, Telex, RTS, etcetera) offer telephone style handsets, usually with a push to talk switch mounted within the handgrip, which are plug compatible with their headsets. In addition to their normal call lights they used to offer bright call-beacons to attract attention. One of the beacons was trademarked Blazon, possibly Blaze-on. A little Googling ought to be your friend. Handsets were available in black, red and white along with matching wall brackets and retractile cords. The handsets plugged in via 4 contact XLR style connectors.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Location
north central OK

dthomas32308

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2010
Location
Georgia, United States
With smartphones being in almost everybodies hand and facilities equipped with ample WIFI networks, I have quit using the intercom systems which venues have installed for the Zello two-way "radio" app.

They have apps developed for a lot of the mobile OS' as well as Windows PCs so is flexible with deploying on either facility or personally owned devices. With channels, you can set up your various departments allowing/limiting who can join each channel. They also have a lot of accessories like Bluetooth PTT buttons and head/mic sets to make communication easier and not require screen to be on or app open to talk.

Generally, I do a channel for each department (lights, sound, video, cameras) so the techs can communicate then have a directors channel for Directors, TDs, SMs, etc to talk on and techs are set to listen only. This gives you inner departmental communication for the tech teams but gives everyone the cues called on the Director channel.
 

flowalex999

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2014
Location
Saint Paul Minnesota
When I have the hardware I run a mumble server off one computer and most of the time people use their phones to communicate, at a show I am working at now we use headsets because of how much interference exists in the performance area.
 

dthomas32308

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2010
Location
Georgia, United States
MrX, good point on Zello not doing full duplex and I have used the others you mentioned on several productions. My suggestion of Zello was due to the churches I have worked with being very much "free" oriented and rarely involving any production aspects that would require immediate emergency communication such as flying linesets. Even so most people I've had as techs are using android devices and the ones with iPhones are either tethered to a computer to use the PC app or hand them an Android for show use.

The way I generally go over Zello with techs is that if a director/SM is talking then they must wait for the line to clear before proceeding. Also, directors/SMs are set as mods so can talk over techs as normal users. There's been a few issues of important messages not being delivered live but queued up after the live message finished so not a huge deal/loss.

I do agree, LineApp and Unity(my preference due to local server license is cheaper) are better solutions for mission critical communication but explore all of the options to see which will fit your use case/budget best.