TIFF Demands Increased Functionality; Clear-Com Delivers

The Festival's Flagship Building in the Heart of Toronto Undergoes an Upgrade After a Decade of Operation

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Written by:  James King, Sr. Technical Manager, TIFF
July 2020


TORONTO, ONTARIO:  The Toronto International Film Festival’s flagship building in the heart of downtown Toronto recently underwent an upgrade to the facility’s intercom communications system.  After a decade of rock-solid stability with Clear-Com, TIFF and its staff looked no further when it was time to add more capability to their comm system in order to keep up with the growing demands of the venue.  TIFF Sr. Technical Manager, James King, in partnership with John Christie from local AV integrator, Stagevision, lead the design of the upgrade and completed the installation earlier this summer.  Here is the story from the perspective of James…


By design, we primarily operate as a cinema, but the hybrid nature of TIFF’s initial AV installation has fostered an increasing demand for live events since opening our doors in 2010.  Clear-com was part of this original build but between our year-round events and the needs of our festival configuration, which included linking up multiple cinemas throughout the building, it became apparent that we were straining our intercom matrix capabilities to the max. We were finding creative solutions to accommodate our needs, which eventually lead to the justification for us to upgrade to a Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Delta Lite frame, greatly expanding our current and potential future capabilities moving forward.  With this in place, we have taken advantage of the fibre infrastructure in the building and have the antenna system operating on AES67, as well leveraged other elements such as two-way radio tie in and DSP integration as we conclude our first decade of operation.

 

Our building consists of six cinemas, as well as various multi-purpose spaces, all of which are interconnected to our central equipment room via copper and fibre tie-lines.  As an expansion to our existing Clear-Com network, the design of the upgrade was to utilize that interconnectivity, particularly amongst the cinemas, and give us the ability to setup a simple comm network for live events.  The Delta matrix moved us into a greater utilization of our network at BLB, with which John Christie (Stagevision), designed three VLAN integrations to support the panels in our control room, the antennas, and to tie into our base-building control network.  The antenna system's VLAN would be exclusively for AES67 devices, and would be patched throughout the building via fibre by using seven SFP ports on a Cisco-9300 switch, connected to a local single-mode, ST terminated fibre patch-bay.  This easily allows us to not only setup pre-defined connections for the cinemas, but also gives us the ability to easily branch out to more spaces in the building.

 

Another critical element to the installation was retaining the function of our Motorola radio tie-in to the system via the CCI-22 modules.  Taking advantage of the Delta's GPO connection, John was able to setup a simple (and essential) method to link and communicate with our building's radio system. This allowed us to easily program belt-packs for our stage managers to liaise with our front-of-house team, among many other applications.  This was achieved by wiring up a custom DIN-mounted rail to connect the GPO function of the matrix with a Motorola XPR 5350e mounted in our equipment room.