Why do I need A/V?

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – May 20, 2015
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?

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – May 5, 2015
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

Mixer

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.

Read original article HERE

Top 4 Reasons to Video Record Your Next Conference

Small Conference in Thousand Oaks

 

Today it is nearly impossible to go through your day without seeing something that has been previously recorded and shared with you via technology.  Why is that? Why is our primary way of receiving new information and entertainment via pre recorded media and production? There are many reasons for this in our current technological age and I would like to share with you OUR top 4.

Future Profit

If you are conducting a one-day 8 hour conference and charging $100 per seat, in a 100 person auditorium you have the potential to earn up to $10,000 (before the costs of the venue, meal break, etc..)  What if I told you you could more than double this revenue by only spending a couple thousand… Would you be interested? If you have done the math right I am going to assume your answer is yes.  What about the 30 more people who wanted to attend and the conference was already full? What about the 20 additional people who had scheduling conflicts? With these people alone, you could spend 0 marketing dollars promoting your event and sell the recording or your event to these 50 additional people and earn another $5,000, and chances are that recording cost you less than $2,000 to produce.  That’s an additional $3,000 revenue with little to no additional work.

Marketing Value

Say you already did Step 1 because you saw the value and followed through.  Awesome.  What about your next event? Think it’s worth booking that 250 person venue? How are you going to show these new potential customers the value of what you have to say? You are going to use the footage from the first to create a short “teaser” roll of your top one or two points to bring them in the door.  This may not earn you money directly, however if it brings the additional 150 people in the door it has more than earned its marketing value.

Professional Expert Credit

Today’s media driven culture teaches the consumer that anyone who who is confident enough to stand up in front of a crowd and share new information must be an expert in their field.  For those conducting and recording these conferences, this is a major benefit.  By being able to display a high quality video of you sharing your knowledge of your field, you can be immediately perceived as an expert.  This credibility can go a long way when it comes to getting people to “sign-up”, “register” or “buy” whatever you have to offer them.

“Share” Value

Going back to Step 1, you have completed your first conference which is a total success.. Where do you go from here? Half of the people who attended have now shared your program with their friends and half of those friends are now contacting you asking when is your next event and how can I learn what you have share? Instead of going into a panic and trying to plan an event right away or sit down and have one-on-ones with 25+ people, you can refer them to your website where they can purchase a copy of your presentation for only $xx.99.  And you can’t overlook the benefit of the social media share.. That teaser roll you created in Step 2? Time to share!

Lastly, you have to know when it is the right time to call and hire a professional.  Yes you can have your friend with a nice videocamera in the back recording your conference, however are they going to be double and triple checking to make sure the lighting and sound are correct? Probably not.  And this may be the option for you if you would simply like to use this recording as a playback tool for your personal benefit or to share with friends, however the production value will most likely not be up to par for resale.

Call professionals like the guys here at LCS and let them take care of all Lighting, Audio, Visual and Recording needs from start to finish so that you can worry about the important things, like how to fill the room.  #Ready

Below is a little sample of a couple different event recordings, from Conferences to Concerts we’ve got you covered.

New Equipment to Kick Off 2015!

 

At the end of the year most companies sit down and look over what they did right that year and how they can make the next year even better.  LCS is the same – with one major difference.  We get to buy new toys.

Each year as we produce the technology for event after event we learn what is trending in the event technology world.  This allows us to cater very specifically to our audience and their needs.  In 2014 one of the rapidly growing trends for events was projection… and not just standard front projection.  Projection came into play in a number of new and creative ways, we got creative, and now we are adapting.

To kick off 2015 here are a few of the new pieces we will be adding to our inventory!

Matching panasonic PT-DZ13k Series 12k DLP projectors

From their compact size to their 12,000 lumens of brightness, these new Panasonic projectors are ideal for large-venue applications such as auditoriums, museums and rental and staging.  Having a matching pair is especially ideal for large-venue conferences and events where content is shown on either side of a large staging area. This matching pair adds another facet to our already large and diverse inventory of projectors.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 3.04.11 PM[1]

AV Stumpfl MonoBlox front and rear projector screen kits

These new front and rear projection screens are made by AV Stumpfl and are both simple enough for the average user, looking for a one-time rental and also possess the level of quality needed for a large-venue production.

AD459E48-BDB5-4EE1-99A3-E1C0819DCFFD

Sony PMW-FS7 XD Camcorders.  4K resolution and a Super 35mm sensor

Adding to our already extensive inventory of camcorders, we now carry this new model by Sony which boasts a superior adaptability and flexibility due in part to it’s new ergonomic grip design.  It also has a number of other featured ideal for a number of different situations which you can read about HERE.

7930C445-57DD-4F9D-B965-2B81FD6A1456

Make the Most of your Meetings

 

From big to small, Americans sit through an estimated 11 million meetings every day.  Are all of your meetings productive? Whether one on one, a small board of 12 or a company wide event – Here are some tips to helpmeeting-83519_1280 you make the most out of your meetings.

Know when to have a facilitator
  If you don’t have someone in charge of your meeting details, who is going to ensure that everyone has received the same information, from arriving on time to the points which are going to be discussed?  This is exceptionally important for larger events, as everything from seating, staging, presentations and timelines are key to making an event successful.  Your audience is much less likely to pay attention if they feel that the event is unorganized.

 

Know how to have a proper Conference call/Skype chat/Webinar/Telepresence
Research the proper etiquette for your conference call or other form of non-present meeting.  Make sure that all parties are on the same page and know the system you’re using! If you have doubts or can’t figure it out, call the company’s tech support or if your meeting is big enough hire the professionals! Explore your telepresence options.

Break down typical meeting barriers!
Opt for extra wireless mics so the moderator can do his/her job from the audience! Also, keep enough on hand so that for Q&A you don’ t have the awkward pause while the audience passes the microphone from one end of the room to another.  These are just a couple of exaples from this great article, which shares a number of awesome ideas to help break down these barriers.

All in all, conducting a meeting is about knowing your audience and their needs.  Make sure you are prepared, whether you coordinate the event or are a master delegator.  Know the best technology to make your event a success and if you have any questions, call the professionals!

 

 

The Many Slides of Projection

When most people think about a projector and a screen they get a flashback to high school, the AV team rolls in the cart and sets up in the middle of the room so you can watch that incredibly boring film about cells, yay.. Or what about that exceptionally boring conference last month with all those black & white slides flashing by one by one.
This does NOT need to be the case! There are dozens and dozens of opportunity to use projection in a fun and effective way! What about a drive in movie? An inspirational video at your favorite non-profit’s fundraiser? That awesome life-sized video game?
It’s our goal to change your way of thinking and see the possibilities of projection!

Click the picture below to watch a video we were recently a part of, make sure you watch until at least 1:20!

Nissan's YouTube Video - Projection by LCS

Nissan’s YouTube Video – Projection by LCS