|Volume 9, Issue 11 — November 16, 2015|
|Remote Cubed, Part 2: Interacting With Live Event Clients via Videoconferencing|
By Joel Rollins
Last month, we talked about the growth of remote meeting, videoconferencing, collaboration and support applications, especially in the installation portion of our industry. One of the things that I asserted in that column was that it was time that these applications came into general use in the rental and staging portion of our industry.
I bring this up because for the last 20 years, I feel the biggest challenge in the rental and staging industry has been the growth of personnel, training and equipment costs, many of which we failed to adequately account for or to charge for. Even back when I got into this business, the biggest problem we had was that we charged for equipment and gave away many services because of it. Some adjustment has been made in the industry, but not enough.
I don’t know about you, but my biggest cost is personnel. And I have a limited number of people with specialized knowledge that are hard to allocate well.
As I mentioned last month, some of the use of remote support runs counter to the traditional practice in our industry. That practice has been to have required personnel always go to show site, some of them “in case” their skills are needed.
Let’s look at some of the ways that remote conferencing and support systems can accomplish both some savings in personnel costs and possibly some additional billing. On top of that, we will also look at ways that, as a side benefit, such tools can reduce the stress both on your people on show site, and those in the office.
First, the most obvious use: Planning events takes meetings. And I have spent a significant portion of my career flying or driving to them. Lots of these have been “hand-holding” meetings, where it was important that I show my face and be part of the pre-event meeting, even though my technicians would be handling it from there. The fact that my technicians are traveling with both laptops and audiovisual equipment makes it possible for me to attend pre-event meetings as well as meetings during the event. We often use WebEx for this purpose, as it allows us to show drawings, renderings and a whiteboard as well as video. A well-prepared virtual meeting room can shorten the meeting, and even impress the client with both our command of the technology and our preparation. Another effective technique to use is to have multiple people at headquarters participate in this meeting. This gives the client the feeling of a large team supporting them, without all of them having to travel to site. And what always amazes me is when I sign off from a meeting like that and find myself in my own office, ready to work on another project. It is not the travel cost savings that make this an imperative for our industry, although that is a bonus, but the real savings is in the multiplication of time. And when the time that you are saving is the time of your most expensive personnel, enabling them to work on more projects, we even arrive at the prospect of some additional billing for doing things this way. Here in the New York area, I even hold meetings this way with clients in town, saving the hours of commute time. If this gets me time to work on one more project in the day, it’s a win.
Another great use of the same technology is remote support for field technicians. Often, it would be helpful for them to have the opinion of someone who is still at headquarters (maybe even the boss) take a look at a situation and give their advice or direction. With current software such as WebEx, which travels over the web, we now have the capability of conferencing using public wireless networks. Our experiments in doing this even over 4G have been very satisfactory. And current software, such as WebEx and its competitors, allow for the use of iPhones, iPads, Android devices and even wireless equipped camcorders as mobile cameras for conference. This allows on-site technicians to give the experts a look at anything that would like to look at from the remote site. (Another great thought, for those of us in sales, is that this can allow us to give a prospective customer alive look at our work, always impressing them with the fact that we use the technology — or, as I like to say it, “we walk the walk.”
Another thing that we have been able to do because we travel with such equipment has been to connect clients to their meeting who had missed their flight, or had to remain at home, even at the last minute. On several occasions, this has allowed us to charge for additional services and even rental of the notebook computers with the system installed on them.
Ever have your part of the meeting finish, but have to stay in town to be part of the wrap-up meeting? Here’s another place we can multiply expensive time.
Next month, we will take this one step farther, and look at both remote configuration and even remote operation for rental and staging systems. There have been a number of really great suggestions on this topic from those of you who are reading this column on the blog, and we are working to address a few of them.
Stay tuned.Leave a Comment
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|Mackie Launches Reach All-In-One Pro-Grade PA|
Mackie today announced a new professional-grade PA system called Mackie Reach. Featuring Bluetooth music streaming, a six-channel digital mixer, and a control app for iOS and Android, Reach is a self-contained PA system. Integrated with a new ARC array, which they say provides “clearer” sound in large-audience environments, and EarShot — personal monitoring system, the six-channel digital mixer (controlled via the Mackie Connect app) allows the user to control everything from levels, EQ and FX to sound-enhancing tools.
The ARC (Amplified Radial Curve) high frequency array technology in Reach utilizes three horizontally angled high-frequency drivers paired with dual vertically spaced high-output low-frequency drivers, providing 150 degrees of coverage for optimal sound quality, even for audiences spread over a wide or deep area. Combined with the EarShot personal monitoring system, you get a total of 250 degrees of room coverage for ultimate versatility.
The Mackie Reach Professional PA System will be available worldwide beginning December, 2015 and will list for $1,249. Here’s more information.Leave a Comment
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|Premier Ships AV Shelf for Dual-Pole CartsPremier’s new A/V Shelf for Dual Pole Carts and Stands, the PSD-SHLF, is now shipping. This new shelf is designed to mate with our PSD-HDCA adapter, allowing it to be quickly mounted directly to the dual poles, without the need to remove the display.|
Other benefits of the PSD-SHLF include:
- Durable steel construction
- Easy to install & adjust along any length of a Premier Mounts dual pole cart or stand
- 25-lb. weight capacity
Here are all the mechanical specs.Leave a Comment
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|Flex Rental Solutions Updates Flex Rental Manager to 4.12.0Flex Rental Solutions has just released an update to Flex Rental Manager — version 4.12.0. New features include:|
- The behavior of virtual items on a Pull Sheet has changed. Now, when all child contents of a virtual item are scanned on the prep screen, the virtual item will receive a check mark to show it is complete.
- Enhancements made to the handling of virtual items when using Scan From Another List during the prep process.
- The “Highlighted Notes Tab” (a feature recently released) now shows a red highlighted tab instead of yellow.
- Updates and improvements to the PO – Not Received report.
- Bulk workflow was updated to be less restrictive with workflow options.
- Updated the receiving screen to allow for spaces in the serial number and stencil fields.
- Updated simple email jobs from email address to come from USER.
- Updated Job Costing to show specific resource types from expense sheets.
- Updated the look of the consolidated manifest report.
- Updates to the header block.
- Updated the Client field in edit header to be larger to allow for full names to display.
The full release notes can be viewed here.Leave a Comment
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|TASCAM Premieres DA-6400 64-Track RecorderTASCAM’s DA-6400 is an all-new 64-track recorder that records to an internal SSD drive caddy for live and event recording. Professional I/O options like MADI and DANTE make it ideal for live recording, event capture, or as a backup for critical DAW sessions. Available with a single or dual/redundant power supply, the DA-6400 is an unbeatable option for professional remote recording.|
Included with the DA-6400 is an AK-CC25 hot-swappable caddy containing a high-performance 240GB TASCAM solid-state drive. The caddy includes a USB 3 jack for stand-alone use — simply hand the drive to the client to offload the BWAV files into their DAW session. The DA-6400 records 64 tracks at 48kHz/24-bit or 32 tracks at 96kHz/24-bit. Included on the rear panel are SMPTE timecode, word clock, RS-422, parallel and Ethernet connections.
I/O options for the DA-6400 include the IF-MA64/EX interface card, with both coaxial and optical MADI connections. This card includes a redundant coaxial connection so that MADI is passed through even if power is lost, making it an ideal backup recorder for DAW sessions. Other I/O options include the lower-cost IF-MA64/BN coaxial MADI card, IF-DA64 Dante card, and IF-AE16 AES/EBU card, with more to come.
All the details are here.Leave a Comment
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|PreSonus Intros R65 and R80 Active AMT MonitorsPreSonus’ new R80 active studio monitor speakers offer a custom Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter, which delivers fast transient response to provide exceptionally detailed resolution. These biamped monitors feature Class D power amplifiers, with 100W RMS driving the woofer and 50W RMS driving the AMT tweeter, making them some of the most powerful monitor speakers in their category. As with all PreSonus studio monitors, both models are equipped with the company’s lauded Acoustic Tuning controls.|
Both the R65 and R80 employ a 6.8-square-inch AMT tweeter that responds to the subtlest waveforms and high frequencies, making them an ideal choice for hearing ultra-highs that add “air” and a sense of space. PreSonus R-series monitors offer wide lateral dispersion for a broad “sweet spot,” along with very narrow vertical dispersion, which helps reduce ceiling reflections that can muddy the sound. This helps to minimize room anomaly interference, providing a more consistent sound in different listening environments.
The R65 employs a 6.5-inch, coated Kevlar woofer, while the R80 sports an 8-inch woofer. This design results in cohesive, less time-smeared audio with minimal coloration and extremely punchy bass.
The Acoustic Space switch controls a second-order, low shelving filter that helps to compensate for the boundary bass boost that occurs when the monitor is placed near a wall or corner. An HF-driver level control is also provided to help mitigate room problems. An onboard, four-position highpass filter makes it easy to integrate a subwoofer into your monitoring setup Balanced XLR and ¼” TRS and unbalanced RCA input connections make hookup quick and easy. Safety features include RF shielding, current-output limiting, over-temperature protection, and subsonic protection. Frequency response is rated at 50 Hz to 25 kHz for the R65 and 45 Hz to 25 kHz for the R80.
The PreSonus R65 and R80 are available immediately at PreSonus and list for $399.95 and $499.95, respectively. For more information about the R series, go here. For more about the entire PreSonus studio monitor line, go here.Leave a Comment
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|CASIO Adds 3K-Lumen Laser/LED Projector to EcoLite Line|
Casio America announced today that it will expand its EcoLite lineup of LampFree projectors with a new 3000-lumen laser/LED EcoLite XJ-V2.
CASIO says the XJ-V2 will be introduced at a price that is lower than the cost of a conventional mercury lamp projector of an equivalent brightness plus one replacement lamp. Furthermore, the Casio SSI light source — which uses both a laser and a LED — in the XJ-V2 has a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours, eliminating the need for lamp replacements, and is spec’d to offer electricity consumption that is approximately half that of a mercury lamp projector.
Casio also says they have improved the dust resistance of the XJ-V2 by structuring the internal components into three blocks to shield the optical block from dust. This helps ensure that dust does not lower projection brightness, enabling the XJ-V2 to operate dependably for a long time.
Additionally, the new EcoLite reaches maximum brightness in as fast as five seconds from the time the power is switched on. It can immediately power off with just a touch of the button and then be used again right away when powered back on without the need for a cool-down period. The XJ-V2 can project a 100” image from 10.1 ft to 11.2 ft away using a 1.54 – 1.71 lens.
Detailed specs will be here.Leave a Comment
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|Listen Technologies Adds to iDSP Offerings With 216 MHz ReceiverListen Technologies has a new model in its iDSP (Intelligent Digital Signal Processing) family with the new iDSP 216 MHz Receiver. The iDSP line is focused on the assistive listening market.|
The 216 MHz receiver is designed for larger venues such as stadiums and convention centers, with a range of up to 3,000 feet (914.4 meters). Two versions of the new 216 MHz iDSP receiver are available: LR-4200-216 Intelligent DSP RF Receiver (216 MHz) and LR-5200-216 Advanced Intelligent DSP RF Receiver (216 MHz). The LR-5200 Advanced Receiver features the ability for end users to select multiple channels for applications such as language interpretation.
LR-4200-216 and LR-5200-216 receiver features include:
- A display for customized channel name, volume level, battery level, and inventory management
- Integrated neck loop/lanyard, incorporating an advanced DSP loop driver
- Advanced lithium-ion battery and battery management
- Dual headphone jacks to accommodate neck loop/lanyard or two sets of headphones
- Convenient USB port, making it easy to set up with free iDSP software and apply firmware updates
Here are the detailed specs.Leave a Comment
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|Martin Audio Debuts MA5.0Q AmplifierClaiming a new eco-friendly design, Martin Audio’s new MA5.0Q power amp is designed for both portable and installed systems and specified with four channels of 5,000 watts in a 1 RU enclosure. Minimum heat dissipation makes the MA5.0Q suitable for hot or otherwise challenging environments using a patented Class D output stage design.|
The MA5.0Q is integrated with a switch-mode power supply, internally switchable 230/115 V nominal, a fixed frequency switch-mode amplifier and patented amplifier output filters with ripple cancellation network (Optimized for 4 Ω loads) thus, AC protection (shuts down power supply when AC mains voltage is outside operating range) and a Clip limiter (prevents severely clipped waveforms from reaching loudspeakers) makes it capable of being used in any environment on earth.
The MA5.0Q is scheduled to start shipping from mid-November. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Showlogix Releases Version 1.6 With Multi-Display Timeline Allowing Time Based Shows With InteractivityShowlogix has released its version 1.6, designed for producing multi-display shows and interactive attractions in museums, visitor centers, trade shows, live shows, etc. The new Timeline Object includes numerous layers of videos, images or sound, synchronized to one centralized timecode. This is done across displays and computers. Several timeline objects can be added and can run simultaneously.|
While this object requires loading all media files in advance before running a timeline, you can still load and play videos, images, texts and external inputs on top of a timeline. Moreover, it includes the option of fading smoothly between two media files on a single layer across displays, all while the timeline is running.
Other interactive features to this version:
- It is possible to make layers react to mouse, touch or camera input.
- Using the built-in tracking module, you can use cameras to detect motion for visualizing mouse and multi-touch events.
- It is now possible to monitor and calibrate any remote camera on the manager software. You can add many cameras on the network and collect tracking and touch data, in order to make massive multi- display tracking scenarios.
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|Mojave Audio Debuts MA-1000 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser MicrophoneMojave Audio just announced the MA-1000 Large-diaphragm Multi-pattern Tube Condenser Microphone, the first model in the company’s new Signature Series line of products. The MA-1000 features an original new old-stock 5840 tube, a 251-style capsule and a custom-designed transformer built by Coast Magnetics. Among its notable attributes, the MA-1000 includes a remotely controlled, continuously variable polar pattern selector that is located on microphone’s power supply.|
The MA-1000 also offers a switchable 15dB pad that facilitates high SPL recordings with no microphone distortion or pre-amplifier overload. This is particularly useful for close miking electric guitars. Similarly, the microphone provides a switchable low frequency roll-off designed to reduce the excess low end created by proximity effect, the bass buildup commonly experienced during close miking of vocals and acoustic instruments. The LF roll-off capability is also useful when miking electric guitars where less low end buildup is desired.Leave a Comment
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|Sony Expands PXW Line of Shoulder-Mount CamerasSony’s newest addition to its PXW series of shoulder-mount camcorders is the PXW-X400 — a network and wireless capabilities-capable XAVC-Long 60P shoulder camcorder camera. When a wireless LAN connection is unstable or unavailable, the new camcorder’s Ethernet interface (RJ45) enables direct connection to a network for file transfer, live streaming and control from a web browser. Near-field communications capability gives users a one-touch link between the camera and a mobile device.|
The pool feed function (HD/SD SDI) lets users record a 1.5G HD-SDI external signal on SxS cards, useful for recording a distributed signal from another camera on-site without a portable deck. The camcorder body’s inner structure has a new design that improves the weight balance between the camcorder and lens, resulting in more comfortable shoulder-mount use, especially during long periods of shooting. The camcorder’s “ONLINE button” lets users bypass a mobile device or the camera’s menu for direct on/off control over: direct streaming transmission of AV signals from a PXW-X400 to assigned destinations; auto-uploading of proxy files to cloud services and FTP servers; and on/off control over Sony’s PWS-100RX1 network server during shooting.
The low-power (22W) camcorder PXW-X400 uses a 2/3″ 3-chip CMOS image sensor and supports several HD and SD formats including XAVC and will come in three versions.
List prices for the different models are:
- PXW-X400; body-only, no lens or viewfinder; $16,500
- PXW-X400KF; a 20x manual focus lens, viewfinder and stereo shotgun mic: $20,600
- PXW-X400KC; a 16x auto focus lens, viewfinder and stereo shotgun mic: $21,100
More information is here.
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|AV Stumpfl Opens New CampusAV Stumpfl, known for their show control products, is aiming to grow.|
“The industry recognises us for our reputation in engineering design, innovation and return on investment,” says Tobias Stumpfl, CEO. “Our aim is to become the preferred supplier to more companies, in more regions and in new markets. To achieve this, we need to be faster to deliver products to market, offer even higher levels of localized support and well as offer the industry’s best technologies, expertise and manufacturing.”
Ambitious plans for global growth have resulted in the opening of the AV Stumpfl Campus. The 7 Million Euro Campus reflects their growth and the official opening took place on 30-31 October 2015 and was attended by local dignitaries as well as ProAV technology partners.
In celebrating the opening of their new campus, they transformed it into a giant mock-theme park showing 270-degrees panoramic projections, 3D mapping onto a Porsche Macan and projection mapping onto the façade of a giant replica of Wasserschloss Parz, a nearby 16th century historic castle. These interactive displays welcomed guests as well as they were given a glimpse of the future of show control via AV Stumpfl’s future product pipeline.
Located in Wallern, Northern Austria, the Campus provides room for growth, manufacturing expansion and support to AV Stumpfl’s growing partner base.
CEO, Tobias Stumpfl says: “We are thrilled to have opened our doors to the AV Stumpfl Campus. It represents our corporate profile and is a great forum for our customers. Our doors are open for those who want to consult with us on the best approach to take with a project and for those who want to see our cutting edge technologies and research and development. It also provides staff with a location to take on even more operations and to better service our existing clients worldwide.”
AV Stumpfl recently made several strategic appointments, which lays the foundation for an ambitious programme of global growth and development. Tobias Stumpfl is appointed CEO of AV Stumpfl GmbH. Company founder Reinhold Stumpfl will stay on the Board of Directors.
Reinhold and Ulrike Stumpfl’s younger son, Fabian Stumpfl has completed his studies and takes up a new position in Sales and HR at AV Stumpfl whilst daughter Hanna Stumpfl is making and restoring violins in the UK.
“During this time of growth and transformation, it is our aim is to stay flexible for as long as possible. During the past three years we have accumulated many new inventions in technology, which we now will form into products piece-by-piece. These new technologies are both within our mechanics design and manufacturing as well as in electronics and software,” says Tobias Stumpfl.
Since it’s launch in 1975, the company has achieved several world firsts including: revolutionary surface attachments and frames for projection screens; first PC based multi-display software and control systems; set a new standard with Monoblox mobile projection screen; MP3 based show controller; the world’s first uncompressed high-data rate media servers; and, roll up electric screens with virtually noiseless motors.
Over the next twelve months, AV Stumpfl plans to develop its global partner network to grow its worldwide service network.
“There are several milestones coming up this year which will develop our business in new regions and market sectors. We are moving into Simulation and Training, Event and Trade Show as well as Visitor Attractions. To support this we have also unveiled a brand new website to support our new partners,” adds Stumpfl.
Several staff are appointed to support the growth including dedicated product marketing and product management and marketing teams.Leave a Comment
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|GLP’s New Entry Level X1 Moving Head LED ShipsGLP’s tiny, lightweight and budget-conscious impression X1 is now in production. The X1 marks a departure from other products in GLP’s X range, featuring four high powered, 15-watt RGBW LEDs, with a narrow fixed beam output that offers continuous pan and tilt motion in a compact housing; it’s this continuous motion that gives the product its unique twist. When in this mode, the pan and tilt can travel at rates of up to 75 rpm (at their maximum speed) yet can also maintain continuous movement at their lowest speeds (as little as 0.6 rpm) — all the while maintaining an even, smooth rotation.|
Weighing just 6.8 pounds (3.1 kilograms) and smaller than the X4 S, these unobtrusive fixtures can be deployed discreetly in large quantities to achieve stunning effects.
Using the same LED platform that is common to all X4 products it will work seamlessly with other fixtures and achieve identical color mixing and dimming performance. The fixed beam optics are interchangeable between different angles, starting with the standard 7°. The compact base of the impression X1 houses Neutrik powerCON in and thru connectors for easy daisy chaining of multiple fixtures, whilst the power supply is fully auto sensing from 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Yamaha HPH-MT7 Studio Monitor Headphones Claim Fidelity for Audio EngineersYamaha today announced the release of the new MT Series professional studio monitor headphones, the HPH-MT7. The MT7 headphones feature custom drivers equipped with CCAW voice coils and powerful neodymium magnets to achieve precise definition and control even at the highest output levels. Made from aluminum wire coated in highly conductive copper, the lightweight yet powerful drivers deliver a broad frequency response of 15 Hz-25 kHz. The sturdy design features a closed-back, circumaural configuration that provides a comfortable fit and the solid ABS housing, die-cast aluminum support arms and sweat-resistant headband ensure that the MT7 models have the durability required for the rigors of road travel. The large ear pads are made from a smooth synthetic leather and low-resistance cushions that absorb excess vibrations and reduce sound leakage, providing outstanding isolation and stress-free wearability over extended periods of time. A three-dimensional arm pivot construction and highly adjustable slider length allows the angle of the ear pads to fit the shape of the wearer’s head perfectly, helping to|
alleviate fatigue. MT7 headphones also feature steerable earcups for single-ear monitoring and a straight, lightweight three meter cord that comes equipped with a corrosion-resistant gold-plated stereo mini-plug and a gold-plated 6.3 mm stereo adapter that allows them to be used with professional audio gear and portable audio players.Leave a Comment
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|Roland Debuts Its V-1HD Switcher/Mixer ComboRoland today announced the introduction of its V-1HD Video Switcher — a four input HDMI switcher integrated with a 12-channel audio mixer for mixing stereo audio from HDMI and external stereo audio sources and its dedicated microphone input. The V-1HD includes two HDMI program and preview outputs and a stereo audio output.|
The V-1HD allows for picture-in-picture and keying, graphic insets plus titling and green screen capabilities. The V-1HD is ideal for live event video switching, thanks to its advanced transition and filter effects — more than 30 effects and transition types including mix, cut, full additive mix (FAM), non-additive mix (NAM), wipe and other performance effects. The V-1HD also has output fade, BPM Sync and Auto-Scan functions. The A and B video busses each have controls for effects assignment and parameter control. The output can be switched A/B or in PGM/PST mode where the B buss is used for signal preview. The preview output can be set to a multi-view mode, where all inputs are displayed with colored borders indicating the program and preview selections, or in a full-screen mode. The preview output can be used for additional, menu-driven set-up control, or as a second output for applications such as a simultaneous webcast or recording output.
The 12-channel audio mixer offers three-band parametric EQ, reverb, up to 500ms delay for accurate lip-sync, a compressor/gate on the mic input and level/multi-band EQ on the master mix. A headphone output facilitates audio monitoring and the V-1HD supports mono or stereo plug-in-powered microphones. The V-1HD features a clean, intuitive control layout with multi-function buttons and knobs and a large T-handled T-Fader for key and transition operations. Its rugged construction ensures long-term reliability even under the most demanding conditions of portable and professional use.
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The Roland V-1HD High-Definition Video Switcher will ship in December 2015 and list for $995. All the specs are here.
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