News Production & Post

The Royal Opera House communicates with Trilogy

14 February 2013
The Royal Opera House communicates with Trilogy

The Royal Opera House in London has installed a Gemini intercom system from Trilogy. The new system, which replaces an in-house development, reaches technical staff in all parts of the main auditorium. Unlike a conventional theatre intercom, which uses an open ring system, the complexity of opera and ballet productions requires technical communications to be addressable. Gemini allows panels in any part of the theatre, using programmable keys to call other users as required. It also interfaces with conventional intercom equipment such as headsets and radio packs. “The stage manager can talk to assistants over four channels of radio as well as crew up in the flys, and the lighting operator can talk to follow-spot operators in the dome,” explained Steven Zissler, sound and broadcast manager at the Royal Opera House. “We can also put panels anywhere on the stage we need for crew involved in operating stage machinery.” One of the challenges in the installation was that the new technology needed to operate over existing multi-core cables, as there was no time during the theatre’s annual two week dark period to install new cabling. So signalling data, programme quality audio, DC power for panels and IP audio are all carried in existing multi-core cables. The ability to work over existing cabling was proven during on-site trials ahead of final bespoke developments, including custom panels for the prompt corner desk. The installed solution included twelve conventional 24 Lever Key Panels reconfigured to run on DC power, four touch desktops connected to the system over IP to allow them to be located and relocated with ease, and 17 bespoke ruggedised stations designed to take the day-to-day punishments of vulnerable locations such as rigging. All elements of the system run on a network of three Gemini intercom matrices connected using Trilogy’s proprietary High Speed Link (HSL), which provides a redundant audio pathway. “Built in 1858, this is an old and a very large building – much bigger than any television studio,” added Zissler. “Trilogy worked well with us to tailor their standard product to deliver exactly the functionality we required, providing the communications quality that is right for one of the world’s great opera houses.”

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