All posts by Lacey Foss

Top 4 Trade Show Technology Mistakes


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – July 16, 2015
Most marketing professionals, business owners and industry experts have attended at least one trade show or industry event.  The goal of those presenting at these events is to show how and why they are leaders in their industry.  It is crucial to put your best foot forward at these events and show your target audience what you can do for them and their business.  One way to show this is to have the latest in technology and innovation working for you.  Be sure to take the steps to avoid costly technology mistakes at your next event.


Top 4 Trade Show Technology Mistakes

1) Not Using Any Technology At All

When promoting your business print will only get you so far.  While it is important to have a take away flyer and a nice banner with your name on it, that will hardly set you apart from the booth next to you with 3 – 70′ monitors with custom videos on screen and a couple speakers with a microphone.  Even if your work truly is the best, it is important to look at least as good as the person next to you to attract the potential customer so they allow you to show them how and why you’re the best!

2) Using Outdated Technology

Everyone has that old laptop or tablet lying around.  Yes it works and it may be practical for daily use, however it doesn’t set you about from anyone else in your industry.  If you bring your outdated equipment to display how you are at the best, your potential customers may assume that you undervalue your work.  If you have the latest in equipment and technology, it shows that you value your company and are willing to invest in the latest and greatest.  Don’t have the latest in equipment? That’s okay, rent it! At LCS you can rent laptops, plasma screens and more!


3) Not Engaging Your Customer

You can use all the technology in the world, but if you’re not using it properly or optimizing it to accomplish your goals you are probably wasting your money.  If you’re running a slideshow of images on the screen and only using the laptop to run the slideshow, you’re not doing much to engage your customers.  It is important to have as many elements as you can reasonably manage to attract the widest audience possible.  Try having a custom video running while scrolling through examples of your work on an iPad, that way you can be engaging multiple customers at the same time.

4) Going Too Big (Or Too Small!)

Your set up should match the message you are trying to convey to your audience.  If you have a staff of 3 then it probably doesn’t make sense to have 4 iPads and 2 laptops.  If you are advertising your exceptional personal service, it is important to make sure that you do not go over the top with your visuals.  The same applies in reverse.  If you are trying to set your business apart as a leader in the tech industry, it is important to have a large presence with multiple displays and the latest in technology and content.  Make sure the scope of your display accurately conveys YOUR message to YOUR audience.


It is important to always plan and be prepared when presenting your company to potential clients.  It is very easy to recognize an ill-prepared presenter and may reflect poorly on your company.  By consulting with professionals when organizing your display you can be assured that you will be putting your best foot forward.  Let a company like LCS help you to show your business in the best light.  Invest in the future of your business and your clients will see what sets you apart.

Independent AV Professionals or In-House Support?

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – June 31, 2015
Most seasoned event planners know that there are definite positive and negatives in deciding whether to use a venue’s in-house A/V company and equipment or work with an independent A/V company.  Sometime a venue requires you to use their in-house team, which further limits your options and may even have you considering a change of location.  This decision could greatly affect your event, whether that means changing venues or re-organizing the flow of the event itself based on the capabilities of the team chosen.

In-House A/V

ballroomOne of the biggest plusses of using the in-house A/V team at a venue it that it is “their” venue.  They (should) know the structure, layout, size and capabilities of this venue better than any outside team you could bring in.  They should know where every electrical outlet is, whether you will need additional power, how high the ceilings are, how bright/dim the lights can be and much much more.

Another positive in using the in-house A/V is that their equipment and staff are on site.  If their equipment inventory is large enough, they should have back-ups of all essential pieces, so if there is a problem during your event the fix should be quick and easy.  This also applies to staff, because the staff is familiar with the venue, they know how long it will take to put together their equipment and in what configuration.


One of the negatives of using the in-house A/V team is that they do not have to have competitive pricing.  If you are limited to one option, and one option only they essentially have a monopoly on their service at that location.  This means that if you have no other venue options, you will be forced to pay whatever their quote is.
*There are sometimes ways to work around this, call if you would like recommendations of how to best work with an in-house team

Another negative in using the in-house team is that you are limited to the equipment they have in their inventory.  Some may rent from outside companies when the need arrises, however many will use the “good enough” approach, if that sound system was good enough for the last event, it will be good enough for yours too.

Independent A/V Professionals

Vera_Project_12One of the greatest positives of working with an independent company for A/V support for your event is flexibility.  Independent A/V professionals are able to bring in support specific to your needs.  If you need amazing audio they will bring in the “audio guy” – And if you need something specific they do not carry, they are typically more than willing to go out, find it and bring it to your event.  Independent A/V professionals also will be at your venue specifically for you.  They will now have to spit their time at one location between your program and the one running in the conference room down the hall.

Independent A/V professionals do most of their work based off competitive pricing.  We know that our clients are shopping around, so if our quote is 25-50% more than our competition we will probably not get the job.  For this reason, it is in our best interest to price our services appropriate of the market.

Another benefit of working with an independent A/V company is that if you have worked with them before, you know their services, their staff and their capabilities.  You trust them and their services, which means that there will be less stress when it comes to planning and preparation for your event.  Also, in having a personal relationship with your A/V team you can feel comfortable calling them at any time to discuss changes or concerns.


The main negative of working with an independent A/V company is that if they do not understand the location you could run into problems.  If you event was planned last minute, or if for some reason your outside A/V team was not able to do a site survey of your event space, there is a chance that they are not fully prepared for your needs.  If they have not been given the opportunity to understand the venue, from the heights of the ceiling to their power capabilities, there is a chance that something will be overlooked.

In conclusion, there are a number of reasons to use either an in-house or independent A/V team.  It varies greatly on whether you already have a relationship with a company or if you are flexible with the venue.  If you have excellent contract negotiation skills, that may also be a determining factor in your choice.  Either way, it is very important to know what you want, have a team you trust and do your research beforehand.

Four Costly Production Assumptions (and How to Avoid Them!)

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – June 16, 2015
It’s a known fact of life
.. We learn from our mistakes. (or at least we should!) You burn yourself when you’re a kid and learn not to play too close to fire, you assume that you can jump from the trampoline to the pool and break your arm and realize you aren’t invincible… These life lessons continue as we get older and no one knows these better than event producers and others involved in the events industry.  One must learn quickly to have a plan B, C, and even D if everything is going to run smoothly.

1. Assume that the last person to do the job did it correctly

CablesThis applies to event planners, producers and definitely audio visual technicians.  We are often called into a location that has some of it’s own audio visual equipment and we simply add to it with our own.  We then network it all together for a seamless event.  The problem arises when the A/V team does not properly do it’s research regarding the in-house equipment and simply reads over a list of needed equipment in preparing the order.  Many pieces of equipment simply are not compatible (like Macs vs PCs in the “old days”) and some others simply need the correct cabling.
This also applies to simpler aspects of the event such as confirming that the volume of the speakers are turned down before they are plugged in, the ratio of the projector to screen is correct for what is being presented and the wireless microphone has fresh batteries!

2. Assume there is enough equipment/space for the job

As with the previous assumption, it is common to get a call from a planner at a venue telling you exactly what they need. “We need a projector, no screen, a cable for a laptop, and a technician to set up and run everything“.  This frequent request can be very dangerous to your reputation if you do not already know what the venue has and what is expected of your technician.  If the event begins and the venue only supplied 2 speakers for a 300 person conference, everyone in the back of the room is going to be looking to your technician to resolve the issue when they can’t hear the presenter.  If you investigate beforehand the type of event, location, number of attendees and in house equipment, you can suggest to the planners ways to fix these issues BEFORE they arise.Behind the Scenes Tech

A few weeks ago we received a call for a projector and screen for a private meeting space in a restaurant.  The call was last minute, so we did not have time to check out the space beforehand to determine the proper size screen needed.  Because we have years of experience and all of our guys have “learned the hard way” in one way or another, our tech knew to bring 2 different screens to adjust for the size of the room.. Sure enough, the larger screen that he was planning on using was too big and he had to swap out for the smaller screen on location.

3. Assuming any guy with production experience is right for the job

confusedTo explain how we work, I often compare us to a general contractor.  If you want someone to install some drywall and expand your closet they can probably do it all.  The same is true for us, if you want a couple projectors, speakers and microphones any of our technicians can “do it all”.  However, if you want to do a complete remodel of your bathroom, the contractor will probably do most of the work, but call in a plumber when the major pipe work needs to be done.  If you call in the painter to repair the pipes, you’re probably going to have some major plumbing issues!  Again, the same is true for us.  If you need the projection/audio set up AND an LED video wall, we will call in the “video wall guy” along with our general technicians.  We’re not going to call our our lead audio technician to set up the video wall.  We know our strengths which means we also know when we need specific additional support for bigger or unique productions!

A few months ago I was on a job supporting the production team in the tech booth at an event.  The producer had called in some technicians with dozens of years of production experience who were supposed to create an amazing technical experience.  The problem was, all of their experience was working with a certain set of equipment and we had provided some different,  very specific equipment for a very unique job.  Even with three guys with 15+ years each of experience it took them hours to figure out how to set up and run the specific equipment because they were not properly trained and experienced with it. 

4. Assuming you can achieve any concept on the client’s budget

Everyone in the event world (and most people out of it) know that for every event or production there is a budget.  Sometimes the budget is flexible to meet the concept and other times the concept is flexible to meet the budget.  An event production team tends to run into problems when neither the budget nor the concept is flexible in the eyes of the client.  This is when producers tend to start cutting corners with their vendors.  Some cost cutting changes won’t have a major effect on the overall experience of the event – chicken instead of fish, simple cotton tablecloths and smaller floral arrangements.  Other changes can majorly affect the ambiance, such as one projection screen instead of two or half the number of speakers.  A great rule of thumb is to never promise the client something BEFORE you know the entire scope of the event.

There are a great deal of variables when planning an event and it all starts with having a great plan and a great team to execute that plan.  Analyzing the good and the bad after each event will always help you be more prepared for the next time, and the more you do this, the fewer problems you will have.  In conclusion – trust your team, learn from your mistakes, and always have a back-up plan up your sleeve!


5 Steps to Prevent Microphone Feedback


 you have never attended an event and been forced to experience feedback from the presenter’s microphone, consider yourself lucky.  I attended an event yesterday where the speaker had to change the entire flow of his presentation mid-way through due to terrible feedback.  In addition to his inability to move around, he was faced with another dilemma.  The AV techs (thankfully not ours) had placed only 2 speakers in the front of a room with a conference set up that was more than 20 rows deep, this means that the back row could barely hear him.  If he turned up the front speakers to compensate, he was going to deafen himself and the front rows.  Even this problem was worsened by the continual feedback.

What is microphone feedback:
In laymen’s terms, microphone feedback (from a small to medium sized speaker/PA system) is typically characterized by a loud screeching sound whenever a live microphone is moved in a particular proximity to the speakers. It is typically caused when a speaker is able to pick up a signal from a microphone, takes in that sound and causes a loop where the signal runs from the microphone to the speaker and back to the microphone again.

Here are 5 useful tips for helping prevent microphone feedback at your next event! (Without using a mixer or other audio control device)

1. Place the microphone behind the main speakers and in front of the monitors

Feedback LoopIf the microphones are directly in front of the speakers your odds of having feedback increase greatly.  To help with this, place the speakers closer to the audience so that the presenter is most likely to be standing behind them.  If the presenter is behind the speakers, then the odds of them picking up the frequency of the microphone greatly decreases.  The problem can also occur when the presenter is off to the sides of the speakers, so beware of this as well in your positioning.

2.  Speak (or sing) close to the microphone

MicrophoneBy holding the microphone close to your mouth (without touching it) you will get the most natural volume, which means that the sound will not need to be as high and will naturally help prevent feedback.  If the microphone only has to “focus” on your voice it is more likely to only pick up your voice and you will get the clearest audio quality.  Also, make sure to hold the microphone by its stem, do not cup the metal (or foam) cage around the device.  This can also contribute to a higher potential for feedback.

3. If you’re not using it, Switch It Off!

A live microphone not in use is just WAITING for some kind of sound or frequency to pick up.. And if it’s not in use you’re likely not going to like whatever it is going to pick up.  If you have multiple microphones in use for an event, make sure only one is on at a time unless there is a dialogue happening.  If the host introduces the presenter and they have separate microphones, turn off the host’s the moment he or she is finished!

4. Analyze and treat the room accordingly

Feedback LoopPicture the walls of your venue as mirrors, if they are hard walls then they are bouncing the sound back in whichever direction the speakers are pointed.  This means that you should have speakers angling toward your audience and away from the walls whenever possible.  Also, the “softer” the walls are, the less the sound will bounce around and it will be less likely that the frequencies will cross back into the speakers and cause feedback.  If sound is very important, foam walls, carpeted barriers and pipe and drape are always good potential options for dampening the sound and preventing frequency feedback.

5. Allow yourself time for a professional to analyze the room

Speaker vs. MicrophoneMany companies will send a tech expert to walk your venue with you well before your event so that you can plan the logistics and set up for your venue.  This will allow you to know what type of equipment and set up you need before you even arrive at the venue day-of.  Also, make sure you know how long your tech needs to set-up day of and confirm that the venue will allow you to have the space beforehand.  With ample time to set up for an event, the proper equipment and enough time for testing, issues like feedback can be almost entirely avoided.


As with most things these days you may be able to do it yourself if you watch a few YouTube videos and read a couple blogs, however these tips alone may not fix all of your feedback issues.  If you are working with a very difficult set up or venue, you may need to involve a mixer or other audio control device, which most often means you will need a professional to control it.  If you have a simple enough event, you just became a HERO and can now save your audience’s ears from unnecessary damage because you are now an audio semi-professional!


Why do I need A/V?

Many people who plan events do not actually considered themselves event planners.  These are the individuals who sit on the board of a non-profit and volunteer for the role, they are the office assistant who is delegated the responsibility of planning the company’s once a year conference or even the friend who decides to try their hand at event planning by signing up to plan their best friend’s wedding.  These people must learn on the fly where to allocate funds and what the cost of many event services really are (gasp!) because GREAT EVENTS CAN BE EXPENSIVE!!

Unknown-4Although you can rent a microphone and a couple of speakers for a couple hundred bucks, this doesn’t typically include the cost of delivery and set up.  When you factor in labor prices tend to increase quickly.  Then add on projection, an operator, maybe even a camera and you have a production!  Good technology can be pricey, often because companies must maintain the must current systems and equipment in their inventory, and technological equipment gets old FAST.  According to a recent article by a software company, the average lifespan of a computer is only 4-5 years.  Translate this to audiovisual equipment and the lifespan isn’t much longer.

Old VideocameraThe quick evolution of event technology is one of the primary reasons for renting equipment over buying, which is why regardless of what a venue already has in place, a planner should ALWAYS get a quote from a rental company.  By having a representative from a rental company come to the venue for a tech walkthrough (aka. site survey) they are able to best assess what the venue has, if that is optimal for the type of event being planned and if the rental company’s equipment can be used to compliment it.

When it comes to LCS, I am known for saying “we play well with others”.  What I mean by this is that we frequently work with in-house equipment (if it is compatible with our own), pairing it with our equipment so that we can save our clients money.  **Although we do not take responsibility if the in-house equipment decides to not work during show time!  Regardless of the warning, typically this pairing works very well if everything is planned in advanced.

Apart from perhaps food, A/V is one of the most important aspects of an event.  Despite this fact, it often left for last in the planning process.  Behind the Scenes Tech(Which is why we are used to it and great with the last minute planning!)  If after an event no one mentions any part of the audiovisual support, chances are the A/V team did a very good job.  Hardly anyone every says “Wow, I didn’t hear any feedback from the microphone” or “Did you see how clear the projection was?”  It is the job of the tech crew to make sure all electronic aspects of your event are successful so that the focus of the event can remain on the cause, because every event has a purpose.

Without appropriate audio AND visual support, you will have a much more difficult time communicating with your audience and your cause will suffer.  If there is not proper sound, the audience won’t be able to hear the speaker.  If your projection is not clear or big enough, your audience will receive no value from the presentation or video shown.  These details are often overlooked, however their value is truly immeasurable.  In conclusion, make sure you work with an A/V team you trust, and if you don’t have a preferred vendor, get multiple quotes and compare!  This is the only way to find the QUALITY and VALUE necessary to have a successful event.

How Much Does That Cost?

It’s happened to us all.  We have chosen cost over quality and been burned.  You have your friend build your website for “half the cost” of the other guy, and 3 months later you have (maybe) half a website, that you hate, and have to start all over.  You use a coupon some guy on the street handed to you to buy lunch at “half price” at the burrito shack and have to call out the next day because now you’re violently ill.  Sometimes “half price” ends up costing you more than you save.

Conference SpeakerApril 24, 2015 – 6:30pm
A client calls our main line, we are out of the office and the line rings through to Randy, one of our owners.  This client is in a panic, their friend of a friend who was supposed to provide the audio equipment for their event is no where to be seen and the event starts at 8pm.  Randy jumps into action, goes to the shop and gets everything packaged and to the client by 7:30, just in time to be set up by 8.  How much does that cost?? Translated.. What is the value of that service??
At this point, the $100 that the client saved by relying on their friend is now worth nothing but a headache.  The friend does not have the reputation of a business to maintain and therefore their priorities may be elsewhere.

Mixer at Outdoor ConcertWhen working with a small to medium sized company such as ours, you come to expect a more personalized level of service.  When you call the office, you know the name of the person answering the phone.  You trust the business to provide you with quality goods and/or services because you have a personal connection with them.  You know that if you have an issue, you won’t have to call a 1-800 number and listen to a phone tree before speaking with someone to resolve your issue.  Here at LCS we always say that although we may not be in the office 24/7, we are available around the clock.

So how much DOES that cost?? What is the real value in knowing and trusting the people that you are working with??  We have learned from first hand experience that there is often no way to measure the value of a successful event, whether corporate or personal.  The value is all in the perception and we are in the business of creating amazing perception.


A Quick Guide to Understanding Projection

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – April 9, 2015
In the past weeks I have heard a number of questions about projectors.  Which kind do I need? What are the differences between those that we carry? How much do they cost to rent?  I quickly realized that many people who are not in the events industry do not understand the broad spectrum in quality and type of equipment, and what differentiates one piece from the next.  Here is a “quick guide”  of projectors based on a few of the models we carry.

f3-6RCsY27zN3xO9gISZwoKEYhiffF1j-IrqV4vfaDAFirst, in determining what type of projector you will need for your event or venue you must take into account a few different factors.  Brightness, adaptability, size of screen/resolution, and portability are just a few.  The brightness of a projector is determined by a number of lumens, which is the primary way of measuring the brightness of light emitted by a device.  Our projectors range from 1,200 to more than 12,000 lumens, in comparison the flashlight of an iPhone 5 is around 10 lumens.  Adaptability of a projector is key when determining which type you will need, however that also means that you must know what your playback source will be.  Once you have identified your playback source (DVD player, MAC desktop, PC desktop, Blueray, etc..) you will be able to determine what type of input you will need to connect to the projector.  Size of screen and resolution are determined by your venue and what you will be projecting, the bigger the screen and/or the higher quality you need will require a higher level of resolution.

NEC Tabletop Conference Projector

Our most “basic” projector, this model has 1,200 lumens and is perfect for a small space such as a conference room and an audience from 2-30.  Sometimes referred to as a “lunchbox projector”, it comes in a small case and is easily portable.  It is a standard definition LED projector and has 2 inputs, composite in and VGA (for computers).  This model is our most simple to operate, which is why it is very easy and convenient in last minute emergency situations.  It typically rents for around $75.

BenQ DLP Projectors

Matching ProjectorsOur matching set of BenQ projectors is one of our most common projector rentals.  These are great for placing on either side of a stage for mirrored images in a large ballroom or indoor venue.  They have 4,000 lumens a piece, have all major inputs and are high definition.  These can also be used outdoors after sunset and are great for a small movie night.  They rent for $150 a piece.

Panasonic 7700 – Production Projector

This production level projector is designed for large, high level events and productions.  It is often used to project a large image or show when that image or show is the focal point of the presentation or the audience is over 300.  These are also great when the projector needs to be placed far from the screen, as it is more powerful. This projector runs for about $650 for a day rental.

Panasonic 12k & 13k DLP Projectors

Panasonic Production ProjectorThese projectors are some of the highest level production projectors you can rent.  They boast 12,000 lumens and are the most powerful in our inventory (although we have access to even higher level models).  These professional models are idea for film screenings, large venues and distance projection.  These projectors will cost you $1,500 per day plus the cost of lenses.

If you’re still reading, you probably understand now why it is difficult to quickly give a quote for a projector without knowing the use.  This same idea applies to most of the A/V rental industry as there are basic and high-end versions of most of our equipment.  This also helps to show the importance of speaking with professionals prior to finalizing your event so that they can ask the important questions regarding the size of your audience, the floor plan of your event as well as preform a walkthrough of the venue.

*All quotes are estimates and do not include the cost of a screen.  All necessary cabling is always included in the quote.  All of our projectors have both front and rear projection capabilities.

Looking Into the Future


LOS ANGELES, CA – March 12, 2015

Advancements in technology have been a hot topic since before “trending” was “trendy”. We learned this early on and have constantly been evolving to keep up with event technology.  Nowadays, event technology often refers to software, different types of mobile devices attached to a network running the latest app, but what about the hardware? What about the screen that’s displaying your tweets? The wireless microphone that is on the presenter?  This is how WE define event technology.

One article by well known online technology news source, TVTechnology, goes as simple as to say “Being tethered to a cable is so old school.”  This article explores the very real future of wireless sound at events, citing the 2015 Superbowl halftime show as one of the most complex of its time.  Not only did they have to ensure that the sound could be heard throughout the entire venue uninterrupted (including all 120+ yards of the field as well as the airspace!) they also had to counteract the interference of the stage comprised entirely of LED lights. Ensuring that a venue is properly prepared for its audience in regards to audio is no small task.  Quality audio is one of the things that separates the big events from the small, regardless of actual size.

Tectonic-1The authors at Design Dawgs, an online source for all things design, event and lifestyle, are constantly looking for the next big thing in event design.  Their latest discoveries do not disappoint.  One of these are newly designed and recently released event speakers, which are about the depth of a plasma screen TV and produced by Tectonic Audio Labs.  This is the kind of technology that gets us excited for the future.  No more trying to dress up and disguise bulky speakers around the venue, soon we will be able to incorporate them more completely into the decor.

Another aspect of event technology that this article looks into is an amazing marriage between software app technology and hardware technology called CrowdMics.  This app essentially turns your smartphone into a microphone, live at any event.  Once it is set us properly, any member of the audience is given the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter from their seat, without having to play “pass the microphone”.

A final way in which technology is changing the way we look at event technology is through the popular platform, Skype.  This is something that we in the office have begun to really dig into in the last 6 months.  We have begun to use it not only for it’s original intent of video chat, but also for live streaming on multiple platforms and recorded interviews.  We have navigated through the app, online platform and every common extension to truly understand the benefits of using this complex free platform.  Here is a short, simple video of our resident “Skype expert” (Matthew) streaming a recorded concert on multiple devices.

If you’re looking to incorporate new technology or a unique idea into your next event, then give us a call and let’s get creative.  We’re always looking for new challenges so that we can continue to evolve with ever-changing technology.

Benefits of an All-in-One “Turnkey” A/V Event Package

Church Service w/Projection


WhrDm54JUguaxaPQTJZRb0zLpBirMgTwQQiQdKvK7u-Me recently had a customer call us and ask for a quote of what the cost would be to video record her event.  During the conversation, our technician asked her who would be providing the audio support for the event – She replied that the in-house team would be responsible for event audio.  This is often the case when someone decides to “shop around” for each individual part of their audio and visual needs.

Sometimes shopping around for the individual aspects of your event production has its benefits, however are each of these companies getting together before your event to make sure that all of your needs are covered?? In this case the predicted benefits did not outweigh the problems with the outcome.  We had explained to the customer beforehand that by only producing the video, we would have no control over the quality of the audio for her recording.  Sure enough, during the presentation there were constant interruptions with the audio and the microphones had to be switched out multiple times which greatly affected the quality of the video.  Now not only can the video not be played continuously, the editing costs could potentially be greater as well as it will take some creativity and additional effort to cut out low quality portions.

1LFB3o9ndmHfHovW5kmu3xt_OKvmlGwYjlvtjNhKXPMThis example can be applied to almost any type of event.  If your lighting guy is not in communication with the person providing the projection prior to your event then the quality of the projection could be seriously affected.  If your staging person hasn’t spoken to your audio portion the stage may be too far to connect to an appropriate power source.

IMG_1827This is why we at LCS pride ourselves on our turnkey event solutions.  We will build what you need, specific for your event and venue from the ground up.  We know that no two events are the same so we won’t give you something designed for someone else!  We can also be your one stop shop for everything that plugs in at your event.  We will also walk through your venue and help you plan the most ideal set up and make sure that there are no missing elements & everything works together at your next event!

Immersive Sound: The Future of Audio – via. TVtechnology

As technology develops new ideas and concepts are discussed to determine the practicality, adaptability and implementation of this new technology.  I recently read an article that was forwarded to me which discusses “the next-generation of (the) broadcast transmission standard”.  Simplified, it explores the next generation of audio quality and how it will affect our lives.  This is a great article for anyone interested in exploring the future of audio technology!

WASHINGTON—The next-generation broadcast transmission standard typically evokes discussions about mobile distribution and interactive functionality, but it will also include an emerging type of audio that places discrete sounds in a specific space. Think of it as all-around sound versus the 5.1 channels most often associated with surround sound. The Advanced Television Systems Committee issued a Call for Proposals last month for the ATSC 3.0 Audio Standard. ATSC President Mark Richer provided an overview of the developing standard in a back-and-forth with TV Technology’s Deborah McAdams.

TV TECHNOLOGY: How big of a departure does the developing ATSC 3.0 Audio Standard represent from broadcast audio as we know it?
RICHER: Immersive audio for ATSC 3.0 is composed of two different sound enhancement over the current ATSC 1.0 system; first, personalization and the ability to customize the audio program based on the viewer’s unique needs, environment or device and second, enhanced surround sound, bringing a much more enveloping experience to both the home theater and headphone listener.

Personalization includes enhancement to the control of dialog level, use of alternate audio tracks and mixing of assistive audio services, other-language dialog, special commentary, and music and effects. Plus, the system will support both the normalization of content loudness and contouring of dynamic range, based on the specific capabilities of a user’s fixed or mobile device and its unique sound environment. All of this is done in a much more bit-efficient manner than possible, if at all, by current DTV standards. Enhanced Surround will bring 7.1+4 to home theater enthusiast, supplying four overhead channels in addition to 7.1 surround.

TV TECHNOLOGY: The CFP includes stereo, 5.1 surround and 11.1 immersive. Are there speakers and systems that now accommodate immersive audio?
RICHER: At the 2015 CES, major consumer electronics companies were already demonstrating A/V receivers and speakers capable of immersive surround using a consumer version of already developed cinema technology. We know of plans for soundbars as well.
TV TECHNOLOGY: Immersive audio for headphones? It sounds like an audiophile’s dream.
RICHER: Immersive surround on headphones is a requirement of the ATSC 3.0 system and can be a great sounding experience with the right content.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Is there a reason to expect TV manufacturers to enable immersive audio as much as they’ve embraced 4K resolution?
RICHER: Just as 5.1 surround sound is a an important part of the HDTV experience, immersive audio is a great complement to UHDTV (4K).

TV TECHNOLOGY: The ATSC 3.0 Audio Standard Call for Proposals defines four receiver types: Fixed, handheld, vehicular and portable. How will these platforms affect the way broadcast audio is delivered?
RICHER: The ATSC 3.0 audio experience will adapt to the user’s unique needs and environment. The adaptive dynamic range control feature, just to name one, will be able to contour the range of a program to make sure the listener’s soundtrack is presented without the need to “ride the volume control” regardless of the listening devices capabilities or location.

TV TECHNOLOGY: This implies that tablet and smartphone manufacturers will add the necessary decoding chipset, correct? What stage is this in?
RICHER: : Consumer electronics will require a published standard before products are rolled out. The new 3.0 audio standard is still in the developmental stage.

TV TECHNOLOGY: The CFP calls for “scalable” audio that’s responsive to reception conditions, connection speeds and device types. What’s the inherent challenge here?
RICHER: We are in the process of considering the benefits and challenges of scalability, which include efficiency versus complexity. Scalable coding could be used to provide a very robust base layer audio to all devices including TV’s tablets and phones. The enhancement layer could be used with the base layer to provide more sophisticated and complex audio services.
TV TECHNOLOGY: The CFP defines a “sweet spot.” Will I have to sit on top of the back of a chair in the middle of my living room to find it?
RICHER: All audio systems have a “sweet spot” where the listening conditions are optimal. New capabilities of the 3.0 system will enlarge the sweet spot and increase immersive soundtrack quality over a broad range of speakers that may not be placed in ideal locations.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Does the CFP define object-audio for broadcast TV?
RICHER: Objects are a method to increase the sonic elements of the soundtrack and minimize the necessary bandwidth to do so. A static object may be an additional language track or video description. Dynamic objects will contribute to the enhanced surround sound experience by eliminating “channel” restrictions. Objects—effects like a bird twitter or a canon blast—appear in precisely in the correct position in the sound environment regardless of where the speakers are located.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Is that a “yes?”
RICHER: We anticipate an accompanying Recommended Practice for audio that will describe best practices for the 3.0 audio standard. We would expect objects to be well defined in that documentation.
TV TECHNOLOGY: What else should we know about it?
RICHER: In addition to the features that have been mentioned, the ATSC 3.0 audio standard will be more efficient and robust compared to first generation DTV systems.

TV TECHNOLOGY: What is the timeline for completion?
RICHER: We expect the ATSC 3.0 audio Candidate Standard to be published in October of 2015.

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