When you have executed multiple live streaming production, you will quickly realised that communication amongst the team is crucial. And we don’t mean just the technical crew. Clients and other supporting members will also need to know what is happening. In situations like these, a walkie talkie is your best bet. But what type of walkie talkie exactly?
Different Types of Walkie Talkie Systems
There are different types of walkie talkie systems, using a wrong type of walkie talkie would mean unless frustration or even wasted expense.
Headset Walkie Talkie Intercom
This type of intercom system provides provides the most convenience as it is head worn, while you keep both your hands active for the task at hand. These systems usually work on short range radio frequency, and can only work if all crew members are physically in the same area.
Smartphone Walkie Talkie
Using 4G or Wi-Fi connection, walkie talkie and intercom app can turn your smartphone into a walkie talkie. Combined with your own wired or wireless headphones, this is the most accessible walkie talkie.
Islandwide Telecom Walkie Talkie
Generally available as long term rental, these push-to-talk devices are often carried by security troops and contractor for easy coordination.
Consumer Walkie Talkie
These are the competitively priced walkie talkie sets you typically find on shop shelves and online stores.
Importing Walkie Talkie in Singapore
There are many high powered, high spec-ed and attractively priced walkie talkie systems online. But we would give those a miss as the units would likely get stopped at Singapore customs. You can read about IMDA radio frequency guidelines here.
Walkie Talkie & Intercom Suitable For Live Streaming
We picked and feature a few models of headset more commonly used for Live Streaming in Singapore. The physical headsets are available via local authorised dealers. When choosing a walkie talkie for live streaming, it is essential for the device to be handsfree.
This is a hugely popular option for broadcast and live streaming production. These headset intercom work without needing a base station, they are battery operated and truly wireless. Available in single ear or double ear models, you can choose either option that fits your usage the best.
Unlike walkie talkie systems that are push-to-talk, the Eartec UltraLITE is always listening. But the headset would only transmit your audio when you are speaking. This saves you split seconds in a live production environment.
The drawback of this system is the fact that it only operates within a short physical range. If you have a live stream at 2 locations, they will not work optimally.
Available through JTW Audio, visit their website at www.jtwgroup.sg.
Hollyland Syscom 1000T
A little more bulky compared to the Eartec system, this system comes with a host of other features. It requires a base station but can work over a longer range. It consists of a belt pack that is wired to a headset, hence cannot be considered a truly wireless option. But with the bulk comes additional feature, this system can be linked to your switcher and offer tally light feature.
This equipment is available at Expandore Singapore
Zello Smartphone App
Working over a 4G or Wi-Fi connection, the Zello app is free to use on Android & iOS devices. As it operates over the Internet, the Zello app is not limited by physical distance. Making it suitable for coordinating and communications at a multi-location live streaming.
Ideally, you will want to use this with a headset, otherwise the audio coming out of their loudspeaker would be an annoyance to both the people around you and affecting the audio at your live streaming production. You can use a wired or wireless headset. However, if you will be speaking very often, you will want to use a wired headset to avoid delay after pushing the talk button.
A significant drawback of this method is the occasional high latency. On a less stable network, the sender’s voice can take multiple seconds before it reaches the recipient. You may also be interrupted by notifications tones over the course of your live production.
Zello is free to download on the Play Store and App Store.
Birddog Flex 4K
This device is not a intercom per-se but intercom feature comes bundled with the device. If you are already using an NDI workflow with live production software such as vMix. This device will integrate well with your existing workflow. This intercom is not wireless, but rather transmitted via a LAN connection. Which also carries the video signal and tally light signal.
If you are not using the NDI workflow, this device will not be suitable for you. As changing your workflow could be really costly.
Birddog Flex 4K is available in Singapore at the following:
- Expandore – 6841 2889 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elevate Broadcast – 6871 4352 – email@example.com
- Media Architects – 6779 6155 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pro Video Global – 6257 6232 – email@example.com
- Techtel – 6334 0848 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Walkie Talkie Systems To Avoid For Live Streaming
Live production crew tend to stick with a few brands and models of walkie talkie and intercom system used by others in the industry. One reason is because they work, and are purpose built for live streaming production. Another reason is crew familiarity. When you use a common system, it is less prone to operational errors.
Consumer or Hiking Walkie Talkie
Walkie talkies like the Motorola ones that you will find at shopping mall shelves are very affordable. You will even find a nice ear piece conveniently bundled in the package. They seem perfect at first look, but if you have ever used one at any event, you will quickly realise that the volume on these walkie talkies is way too soft. Not to mention they are quite bulky to be carried around too. We noticed that Motorola have higher end models, we have not tested those before and cannot offer any advice.
Available at shopping malls and online stores like Lazada Singapore.
Conduct Multiple Rounds of Rehearsal
While having an intercom system for your live stream production is great, but it is not always necessary. We have always executed live streams where adding an intercom system actually bring in more confusion.
For production not requiring an intercom system, take the time to do multiple rounds of rehearsals. This will ensure that all your presenters and crew members know what to expect. Working with a company with an in-house team of videographers and operators will also help, as they have stronger rapport.
Other Uses Of Walkie Talkie & Intercom
Beyond live streaming production, you will also see walkie talkie being used in other media production applications.
Drone & Aerial Filming Operations
Flying a drone for commercial purposes in Singapore is governed by guidelines issued by the authority. And one of which requires a spotter to maintain sight of the drone at all times. When the drone operator focuses his attention on the camera view, he may not be able to maintain sight of the drone. Or the operator might be blocked by a tree in his vision. The spotter would have to adjust his position to catch sight of the drone in the air. This could mean that the spotter have to be stationed further from the drone operator position. Hence, using a walkie talkie would be the most convenient way to communicate.
In the car launch video production we have done when we were shooting scenes on-the-road. Using a walkie talkie system allow us to coordinate between 2 vehicles, drone operator or giving cues to the driver. This may require you to use different types of walkie talkie system in order to communicate effectively in different situations.
We wrote this article to provide a starting point for readers who are looking to buy a walkie talkie for live streaming production. We hope it has helped you narrow your search. If you know of a good system that is not featured here, drop us a message. We will research and include it into this article for the benefits of future readers.