Sun Sets on REDBAND


“The only thing constant in life is change.” – François de la Rochefoucauld

“The only thing constant in life is change.” – François de la Rochefoucauld

Three years ago REDBAND was formed as a home for the unique voices in the AV industry to publish work and ideas that might not have been accepted by traditional media and publications.  REDBAND became the platform to push the envelope past the comfort zone of those publications and to challenge the status quo in every possible way. To date, the group has been successful in doing just that.  How can we tell? We saw the changes happening right in front of our eyes.

Within a few months of forming REDBAND, our members became guests on AVNation’s AVWeek podcast which led to calls from other shows. As members of the collective continued to write and appear regularly on AVNation’s network of industry shows, the publications started to take notice. The unrelenting work and hard edge style of REDBAND began to crack the armor of the traditionalists, many of which were on the lookout for just such voices.  The result? Several members of our group received the call to write for industry publications with 6 of them recently receiving the honor of being placed on Commercial Integrator’s 40 most influential AV Professionals under 40. Many of you reading this may be thinking “That sucks, you’re losing your writers.” The fact is we were evolving while still keeping our edge.

The REDBAND crew all work and operate on a volunteer basis. All the blogs you have read, enjoyed, or argued with were written and shared using REDBAND as a platform to help the message reach beyond that of the individual. There is a huge sense of pride and accomplishment to see our group of friends appear in the various media outlets.

The use of the word “friends” was not by accident. We all have a great amount of mutual respect for one another that carries well beyond our working relationships, with Infocomm 2014 being the prime example. Regardless of what our Infocomm show commitments were during the day we always found a way to get together in the evenings. Some of the best ideas, challenges, and discussions came from the afterhours get-togethers. One of those ideas quickly evolved at a pace that we could not have foreseen and has led us to the point where the following announcement was necessary.

It is a crowded landscape in the world of audio visual media content. While the individual members of the collective have gained support for their work and ideas, the majority of that recognition has taken place through avenues beyond just the REDBAND site. It is with that in mind that, together, the REDBAND crew has decided that it can no longer continue to operate in its current capacity and it is time for all the members of the group to evolve and move on to the next phase. Our last event as REDBAND will take place at CEDIA 2014 with AV Nation in support of their efforts covering the expo and the #AVselfie video.

There is nothing but gratitude for the supporters and followers of what we at REDBAND have been able to accomplish since we started. We look forward to the chance to share new ideas with you in the future as we explore some exciting opportunities that lie ahead for us. With that in mind, we will pull our final words from Winston Churchill, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Thank you again so much for all your support. It’s been a great ride.



3 Tips for Overcoming Open-Space AV Challenges

ScreenHunter_107 Feb

My  latest article for Commercial Integrator:

3 Tips for Overcoming Open-Space AV Challenges.

One of the many challenges facing commercial audiovisual professionals today is the lack of space for installed equipment. The move to open space in the corporate world has burdened many design engineers with the challenge of where to put the gear… 

Continue reading by clicking the link below:

Redband Radio: Live from the Crestron Design showroom in NYC with Sapphire Marketing

I just realized that I never posted the Video from our LIVE event with the AV Nation crew At the Sapphire Marketing Holiday Party at the Crestron Design Showroom in NYC on my AVshout Blog.  A big THANKS goes out to both Sapphire Marketing and Crestron for inviting us to videocast the event! I also want to thank all the guests who came on the show.

Thank you again!


Improving the InfoComm Show Experience



Here is my Latest Article for Commercial Integrator… How to Improve the Infocomm Show Experience.  Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas of How to improve our annual pilgrimage to show. Click the image above to read the article or the Link below:


New Commercial Integrator Article: What’s in your Bag?

Latest article for Commercial Integrator. Click the picture or the link below to read the full article:

“What’s in the Bag: 8 Must Haves for Your Site Survey Go Bag”

ScreenHunter_101 Oct

REDBAND: The Unintelligible Argument by Josh Srago

The Unintelligible Argument Pic

There is something brewing underneath a lot of our recognition in the commercial audio industry.  Many of us have heard about it, read about it, been asked for a reaction to its presence in the marketplace, taken informational courses on it, and maybe even gotten to the point of implementing it.  What I’m talking about is Emergency Communication Systems.

Over the last several years the term MNS (Mass Notification System) has crept into our normal industry vernacular.  Mass Notification can take many forms.  It can be visual, audible, or, as many of us recently experienced on the western coast, it can take the form of a government issued Amber Alert text message at 2 am.  It has very quietly become a part of our daily lives.  But there’s one specific portion of MNS that has been going through an interesting game of ping-pong behind the scenes.

This back and forth that’s taking place under the radar starts with the fact that every building out there has a fire alarm system.  These systems have become more and more sophisticated with their ability to notify both locally and remotely, sense not just heat but smoke and even carbon dioxide.  The part of the system that hasn’t improved, though, was the audio broadcasting device.  Sure that signal will set the SPL meter ablaze, but when the spoken word tries to come through those speakers, all is lost.  The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) tried to rectify this back in 2010 with the release of the NFPA 72 code book.  This code brought out a whole new possibility for complete Emergency Communication Systems that would work in conjunction with, and addition to, fire alarm systems.  One of the key elements that the NFPA code brought to the forefront was the idea that these emergency communication systems would be required to take intelligible speech into account.  The code book even laid the ground work for what that measurement would entail.  However, it was far from a hard and fast rule and the majority of the code was prefaced with the concept that what parts to enforce was at the discrepancy of the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).  So whomever the local AHJ was got to determine if that portion of the code applied to the building at hand.

To be honest, this was a good jumping off point for the idea of mandatory intelligible audio for emergency communication systems.  It opened the door for A/V contractors to enter a whole new market where their skills in providing not only proper SPL coverage, but also proper intelligible sound coverage could now work with the integrators providing fire alarm solutions.

Cut to 2013 and the release of NFPA 72 for 2013. Over the last 3 years the audio industry has prepared courses in understanding what the new Emergency Communication Systems are capable of and how they are designed.  UL has introduced new product certifications to ensure durability in emergency systems and integrators and consultants alike saw the need and benefit of ensuring this intelligibility was present in all their systems as required by code.  That is until they read the 2013 code book.  The NFPA 72 code book did a complete 180 and actually makes the statement that a quantitative measurement for intelligibility is no longer required.  They still provide the guidelines for how they recommend taking the measurement, but no longer require it take place.  In essence, leaving the decision up to the subjective hearing of the AHJ on a project by project basis and cutting the potential involvement of a qualified audio contractor out of the project.

Emergencies happen across this country everyday and the ability to understand information to keep yourself and those around you safe is critical in those instances to the point of potentially saving lives.  I’m sure there are many reasons introduced that caused the removal of the required intelligibility measurement, but this is definitely something we as an industry need to be watching very closely.  It’s an opportunity for us where we excel as a group and another avenue of business for those always looking for a growth market.  The real question is at what point will some area of this country suffer a massive tragedy, again, due to the fact that people couldn’t understand the message that was being delivered to keep them safe?

Josh Srago


Josh Srago is a seasoned audio professional with a musical background, like so many others in this industry.  With experience in studio production, live sound, commercial A/V, and broadcasting, if sound was involved he chased the opportunity to be a part of it.  Having worked as a national trainer he adopted the philosophy that the best way to help people with A/V is to help them understand A/V.  He currently works for an A/V contractor in the SF Bay Area as a PM and handling their social media.  Connect with him at @JSrago on twitter.

REDBAND: Technology Leadership Series: Self Awareness by Mike Brandes


Leaders at any level, whether CIO, CTO or even lower management, need to have a firm grasp of their team’s pulse, as a result it is important for all leaders to have tremendous self-awareness. It is important for a leader to have a good accounting of their own strengths and weaknesses drawing on strengths when necessary and avoiding pitfalls of their weaknesses when confronted by them.

Leaders must be able to take a complete inventory of the perception of themselves within their team(s).  All too often leaders don’t take this important step, preventing them from being as successful as leaders who accurately utilize introspection and awareness. Without being insecure, leaders must be able to use this inventory to ensure they are providing their teams with meaningful leadership, direction, vision and emotional intelligence; guiding them towards success and solidly supporting and empowering employees.

Another key component of leadership having exceptional self-awareness is to always be cognizant of ensuring leaders never blame others for team or department failures. I’ve heard it said one of the simplest keys to being a great leader, and having highly performing teams, is to avoid personalizing failures and actively share successes with your team. Self Awareness is also integral to another key concept previously discussed: building successful teams.  A leader needs to be aware of their deficits to ensure they build teams with complementary strengths, in order to be as complete and diverse as possible. Leaders who are not-self aware, or actively taking inventory of their strengths and weaknesses are susceptible to failure in the blind spots. It is crucial to constantly be aware of how your attitude, actions and leadership affects others.

For the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

Mike Brandes


Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT; and previous experience in Pro Audio including full-time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council and the Certification Committee. Check out Mike’s website and Follow him on Twitter.

REDBAND: What I Learned From the New Steve Jobs Movie by Todd Anthony Puma

I hear it all the time: “My business is slow, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s the economy.”

In fact, there is something you can do about it. Evolve, change, learn, and grow. It’s the static company and entrepreneur that is struggling to find business. As I was reminded while watching the new Steve Jobs movie, “Jobs,” that those who constantly move with the times and expand into different product classes or product categories are the ones that grow.

In the NYC area, we are seeing a huge surge in demand. This is demand that I didn’t expect for the typically quiet third quarter when wealthy New Yorkers tend to go to the Hamptons or on European vacations. While this may not be true across the country, real estate seems to be picking up across most major markets, so our businesses should be doing better than a few years ago. However, don’t get complacent. Get ready for the next bump in the road.

1. Expand Your Product Class
The ultra high net worth individual that my compatriots John Sciacca and Ira Friedmanhave written about is a client that often isn’t affected by economic downturns. At least not as much as the rest of America. The one percent stays the one percent, so take time to learn about the products and brands that these clients need and want.
a. Train on a full control system like Crestron, AMX, Savant, etc.
b. Get familiar with great outdoor systems that are more than a few rock speakers and under-eaves outdoor speakers
c. Train on media servers like Kaleidescape, Fusion Research, Mozaex, or S1 Digital.
d. Explore higher end projector lines like Digital Projection, Wolf, Runco, or SIM2.
e. Learn about enterprise-grade networking products from companies like Access Networks, Pakedge, or Luxul.

To continue reading click Here


Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: 8 Tips For Google Hangouts On Air by Nate Schneider

It’s one thing to use Google Hangouts the same way people use Skype for a private video chat with friends.  It’s another thing when you decide to experiment with the “On Air” feature to make your video stream public on YouTube and beyond.  I’ve learned through experience there are some important things you should consider.  A few hours of planning prior to your live event will go a long way.  Hangouts On Air is a free feature offered to Google+ users that allows you to use the internet to broadcast with nothing more than a webcam and web browser.  It could be a church service, town meeting, little league game, live performance or even a wedding.  If you want to have a good laugh you can watch my first attempts at participating in a couple live video streams here.  Here are 8 live streaming tips for Google Hangouts On Air.  Hangouts On Air will be abbreviated as HOA.

1. Maximize CPU Power

There’s a reason why stock cars don’t have head lights or air conditioning.  They’re built for speed.  When you’re doing a HOA you need to use the best computer you have access to with the fastest CPU (Central Processing Unit) otherwise know as a processor.  That computer needs to be dedicated to the HOA only.  No web surfing or other programs going on in the background so that you can conserve your computers horsepower.  Encoding live video into ones and zeros and sending time sensitive packets of data all over the world for real-time communication requires power.  Make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your computer dedicated to the live stream.  If you have access to two computers dedicate one to the HOA and another to monitoring the live feed and moderating comments.  You’re already at the mercy of your internet service upload speed and Google’s encoding & decoding methods.  Don’t sacrifice quality by stealing CPU power to play Snood or Words with Friends in the background.

2. Do A Dry Run

Test everything before the event, then test it a second time.  Keep in mind Murphy’s Law will be hard at work.  If something could go wrong, it will.  In the world of theater and live events they have these things called dress rehearsals.  It’s remarkable the number of issues that can be caught and prevented by doing a walk through the day before.  Once you get your HOA team on the same page and comfortable with the technology things will go more smoothly.  I just did a HOA with the Redband crew and our dry run was very helpful.  That said, Murphy and his law manifested itself in various ways that no one could have predicted.  One example was that my lower thirds were not functioning after we went live.  They worked perfectly during the dry run but when it came time to go live all I could get were some silly mustache overlays but no lower thirds!  Oh well, you get what you pay for, we still had a blast doing the live show.  Speaking of Murphy’s Law – I believe George Tucker (one of my Redband blogger buddies) actually experienced a blue screen of death minutes before Redband Radio episode 2 went live!  Redband Blogger Buddies will be abbreviated as RBB.

 3. Define How People Should View & Participate

This may seem redundant but I’m serious.  You need to understand what’s happening behind the scenes and spell it out very clearly so that your audience of eager participants knows where to interact and leave comments.  Define your live stream headquarters.  This is important because there are at least three ways people can stumble across your live video feed…

  • Google+ (initiate the HOA here)
  • YouTube watch page (copy the embed code from here)
  • Custom webpage (paste the embed code here)

As the person running the show it’s important to know where the HOA lives so you can promote it properly.  Whether you realize it or not YouTube has its own thriving ecosystem.  You may have a number of viewers commenting on the YouTube watch page while you are focused only on Google+ or your website.  You can either designate a moderator to keep an eye on all the incoming comments from Google+, YouTube, and a custom webpage or you can direct users to a central location for live interaction.  Personally, I like the idea of using a specific twitter hashtag that corresponds to your live event.  You can designate someone to keep an eye on the hashtag using TweetDeck and bounce back and forth from the topic of the show to live audience interaction every 5 minutes or so.

 4. Social Media Should Be Social

Mention viewers and their comments on the air!  Interaction is key!  If you’ve ever called into a radio program and had the chance to hear your voice on the air it’s a very cool feeling.  Maybe it’s just me but there’s some sort of magical thrill about hearing your name and remarks live on the air.  Doing this will not only foster loyalty among regular listeners but once your show becomes a scheduled occurrence and your audience begins to grow to thousands of viewers from around the world you will have a unique interactive experience that traditional broadcast mediums simply do not have – yet – for the most part.  Traditional broadcast is starting to become more social media friendly.  The best part about all of this is that you don’t need $500k of video equipment to broadcast live.  If you’re a true social media pioneer, you can start a podcast from your basement and be pretty successful without taking on any risk.  Plus it’s fun.

Click here to continue reading this article.

Be Social.

Nate Schneider


Nate Schneider has worked in the AV Industry since 2005 in both Live Sound and Commercial Integration. Currently he is an AV Designer by day and a YouTube Partner by night. Visit to learn more about Nate and check him out on twitter at @BigNate84Howto

REDBAND: Technology Leadership Series: Vision by Mike Brandes


Successful leadership always starts with a vision. Compelling visions have led to several of the greatest moments in human history. President John F. Kennedy’s vision to place a man on the moon forever changed the way we look at a nighttime sky. Likewise, every CIO, CTO and technology manager must have a far-reaching vision of where their department must be in twelve, eighteen and thirty-six months into the future. Without a vision, or any concrete direction to move in, IT departments become stagnant and obsolete virtually immediately. A leader must be able to see where the organization is heading to position their teams in the best possible way, in order for the company to be successful. For a vision to be successful it needs to be:

Clearly set with the organizational direction and purpose. Visions must be in line with company core values an directives. Contradictory directives can derail any successful, high-performing team.

Help employees believe they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work. Everyone wants to be part of something larger than themselves. Vision empowers employees to make their daily work more than just a task list, but a series of steps in a much larger, more important, journey.

Flexible. This is the most important part of any vision, and probably any leader. Flexibility to change, adjust and adapt a vision is vital. As often as technology and technologies change, every vision must be adapted or they will quickly become anachronistic

Vision is imperative to the success of an organization. Leaders can be good, even great, without possessing some of the qualities previously discussed. However, a leader must have a vision and a direction as to where to lead their teams. Without a direction and a vision, any movement is controlled chaos at best and a complete disaster at worst. Take a step back, solicit feedback and constantly re-evaluate the direction and effectiveness of your vision. Don’t become too committed to the vision to be flexible and adapt when necessary.

For the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

Mike Brandes


Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full-time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’swebsite and Follow him on Twitter.