REDBAND: Summing Up AV in one scene by John Sciacca

Summing up AV in one scene by John Sciacca


We were watching TV last night and the opening dialog from the show Up All Night was just so full of spot-on, brilliant amazingness that I had to share it for all to enjoy.

So, I’ll set the scene; married couple Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) are sitting on their couch eating and watching TV. (I think it is an episode of Real Housewives of Something-Something they are watching.) When – poof! Suddenly the TV goes out…

Continue reading by clicking the image below:

REDBAND: The Shock & Awe Playlist By Christopher Neto

What you will read may shock you. 

Chances are it will appall you. 

But the fact is we all do it when no one is looking.

Admit it!

We all play our music on someone else’s soundsystem.

Typically you try not to bring your musical stylings into the mix. So we find ourselves buying Smooth Jazz CDs or Bland Music that may/could be technically solid  to play while at a customer location. But Every so often we get a window of opportunity to put our own tunes into that freshly installed soundsystem. To tag it with “I was here” !

So Last week I put a call out to REDBAND to send me a playlist that they would use to drive a soundsystem (sans customers) and leave it gasping for air. It’s a new system and let’s see what it can do. It’s like test driving an italian sports car in at rush hour. You know what you’re working with and you want to go full throttle.

You kindly and professionally wait till none is around. You check the halls and the parking lot and rush back in to get your MP3 player connected. You file through your playlist and find that Special Mix and not the mix tape you made in High School for your sweetie. No disrespect to your  Sweetie, your formal audio training or your well-trained ear. This is unadulterated Ear Candy so hit the gas!


Underworld – Born Slippy (Single)

  • From the Trainspotting Soundtrack will build into a 100 mph Dance Anthem. Searing describes it well.

Rage Against the Machine – All 4 Albums.

  • Songs like “Killing in the Name“ , “Bulls on Parade”,  “Pistol Grip Pump”, “Renegades Of Funk” will make want to keep an eye on the speakers and their warranty.

Guns N’ Roses - Appetite for Destruction

  • Start to finish it’s one of the greats.

Gipsy Kings - The Best of the Gipsy Kings

  • A change of pace and a personal favorite of mine . Anyone who can appreciate Spanish guitars plucked away with a pulsating beat will enjoy their music.


  • I love everything this band has put out. The rhythm and the horns are infectious.

The Cult

  • Electric and Love Albums are 2 of the best and very high on my most played list.  The Riff just flood the room with sound.


As I have gone back to my roots and re-entered the  Event Staging world I do not have many opportunities to tune up and perform test drives on media room systems these days.

I do not hate surround sound  -(regardless of the fact that I once caused a virtual right in 1992 on a BBS board by calling it “… Quad without the thrill nostalgia…” ) – but I am ostensibly a two channel guy with romantic tendencies toward the lo-fi genre.

Still there are times I am asked by a friend to help out for a few beers and dinner and when the manufacturers bring over a new system to test I have a few discs that I know all too well and provide a means to show off the capabilities:

The Creatures – Boomerang

  • Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie from Siouxsie and the Banshees side project of evocative middle eastern rhythms and instruments all bundled into a post punk tent revival.  The ,music swirls up into crescendos only to build up again and again  layering in goth inflections with dance beats, electronic pace and arabic prayer like calls.  While this does have a rock bottom heavy sound it is not so deep as to overwhelm the intricate sub melodies nor counter the subtle lilting opposition beats that crash around the songs like a tipsy musically adept  conductor stumbling his way around the brass section.  This is my go to desert island disc.

Black Pearls

  • John Coltrane – Hackensack NJ 1958.  While not considered one of the best Coltrane records it is  remarkable for the space and presence of the pieces.  Long before surround sound was a pipe dream and Quad was losing out to the long play records, Black Pearls achieved a sense of transporting the listener into the room.   The album, recorded by the renowned Rudy Van Gelder -(if you do not know of this gentlemen I suggest looking into him, his work is a revelation)- on a three track wire recorder dubbed ‘bandsaws’ by engineers at the time. A quartet Be-Bop band recorded live with three microphones onto a three track wire recorder -  If this cannot be called F’n brilliant then nothing can.

Tori Amos Crucify: Smells Like Teen Spirit

  • Tori Amos’s cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’  is what will make the original stand the test of time.  The cut from the limited EP ‘Crucify’ lifts the veil of noise from the song and exposes the sheer craftsmanship of songwriting – the lyrical playfulness and dexterity Kurt Cobain had.  Recorded with only Piano and Voice the song is all about the quiet, the space.  Ms Amos’s version can give me chills each time I hear it but in a good room my skin flashes into goosebumps and knees literally grow weak.  Audiophiles may rave on about capturing transients of the strings but I thrill at how a system handles the empty spaces just as well.

Gogol Bordello

  • Crazy gypsy dance music – crash, boom, bang music.  but that voice is recorded BeAuTiFulY!  Modern rock recordings tend to subdue and strangle the vocals. Granted this could have a lot to do with the quality of modern singers (need I say more than Auto-Tune?).   The vocals in the Gogol Bordello songs are pushed right up into the forefront with a sound that I have only heard on the great Frank Sinatra albums.

Lucero – Nobody’s Darling

  • Think of a genetically modified love child of Hank Williams junior and John’s Children and you might come close to describing the sound of this band. The sound is raw and jangly with harmonies and harmonics that shift from Sonic Youth squeals to the band X channeling Patsy Cline.  Nobody’s Darling starts hard and flirts with being swallowed up in a rain of distortion but keeps the breakneck pace. Ben Nichols raspy voice is so present cutting through the chaff and providing a steady hand to the music which fills the room and leaves no corner untouched.

Metallica – S+M with the San Francisco Symphony (DVD surround)

  • I have to admit that I am a secret Metallica fan.  Despite some of the anti digital rhetoric  from Lars Urlich the band knows how to nail down the accelerator.  Metallica has always had fantastic production of their material, sometimes running right up to the line of too much but never over.

Sitting down to listen to S+M is a good surround system is an experience not soon forgotten – When Phil Spector talked about the ‘Wall of Sound”  I am dead sure this is what he was hearing in head.  (the disconnect between what he created and what he wanted may very well be what unhinged him.  It’s a personal theory at least).    This concert DVD does not envelop you in the standard sense but brings you right into it. The sound is raucous but never shrill , it is warm without being cuddly.  The Strings pop right out, the vocals are direct and clear,  the audience is with you.   Play this loud and no one will be free of its draw.

The Video Vandal

The Sugarcubes – Birthday
Massive Attack – Exchange
Neil Young and Crazy Horse -  Oh Suzanna
Frank Zappa -Watermelon in Easter Hay
Jefferson Airplane -Embryonic Journey

Play’em if ya got em. Rock on!

John Sciacca

The Crystal Method - “High Roller”

  • Has an awesome bass line that can be completely missed or turn to mush on poor systems.

Talking Heads “Love (Building on Fire) – Live”

  • I just love the energy of this song and the horn section

Fiona Apple “Get Gone”

  • Soft, brush strokes on cymbals, piano and Fiona’s great, sultry voice…

REM “Nightswimming”

  • I just love the lyrics and pain in Stipe’s voice

John Mayer “In Repair”

  • Awesome.

What’s on your personal Playlist? Share with us your personal mix in the comments below!


Since you got this far into the Post let’s commend your patients and provide a well deserved bonus.

Utah Saints – Something Good 2008 (Single)

  • I  included this song in the list not so much for its sound quality but its funny video that surely will give you a good laugh or have the song echoing through you head all day. ENJOY! … Click Here - Chris

REDBAND: Taking Names and Saving Service Contracts by The Video Vandal

Taking Names and Saving Service Contracts by The Video Vandal


Video Vandal… hmmm (insert evil voice) Videeooo Vaandaallll. I think A/V Bounty Hunter is much better suited for a person of my caliber. Neto suggest Video Vandal as my shroud of secrecy. I should be grateful that he saved me from the grasp of Corporate the Hut and my entombment in the carbonite slab. I now may once again roam free and bring the battle to the next chapter of the saga where I land on technology planet populated by furry AV techs looking to fight the evil empire with Cables and Pliers. That said please join me as I fire my first volley.

MANAGED SERVICES…. AAhhh….Managed services sounds simple.  Actually it sounds like it takes care of itself doesn’t it. Well friend nothing could be further from the truth as a matter of fact it takes countless dedicated individuals to ensure that large networks of videoconference end points are in a constant state of ready. The individuals who are the first line of defense are Tier 1 supports. The grunts.  Sounds Easy? But let me tell you a thing or three about the skill set that one must have to get this done.

  • First and foremost is the ability to remain calm and poised for action with your greatest asset at the ready while chaos and pandemonium reign supreme!
  • Second – You will walk into conference rooms and be received as the enemy. Regardless of your Cool tech Swag or Superhero styled gadget belt Your It! You’re the Saboteur! You were just left standing there while your friends rang your neighbor’s door bell and ran. That’s right you are the one responsible for the Panic that has been set off the room because the display did not switch to HDMI 1. I know it sucks but someone has to pay for this inexcusable failure. Nice to know to ya.
  • Third – You better know something other than your name and address when you walk in. Do not walk into a conference room without a good grasp of the problem and at least 3-4 possible ways to deal with it. You have 5 minutes to make your move and the clock started ticking 15 minutes before you walked in. Got it?  Now get in there and make us proud!

Onsite technicians have developed a thicker layer of skin. One that cannot be penetrated with your run of the mill shoulder fired trouble ticket machine. A site tech has to be smart, creative and technically proficient.  But if you do not have the stomach to have 50 sets eyes depending on you to disarm a Videoconference “bomb” then I’m sure there is plenty of work in calmer settings such as crab fishing on the Bering Sea.

Now how many of you still reading this can say they have walked into that room a la Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction and demand to be shown the car with a headless corpse?  You fear no gear and your greatest asset is the ability to remain as cool as “The Wolf” while re-establishing a bridged call with one arm tied behind your back and your gadget belt ringing off the hook.  If you’re that “Person” I guarantee that the you’re currently employed, underappreciated and will have no trouble find future work as “The Wolf” in any other organization.

Once the problem is resolved it’s back to the secret liar where your asked to Fill in Paperwork , reports, work orders, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Until the AV “signal” is lit again and your off and running. I’m shining that light onto the “tier 1” technicians that roam office buildings campuses across the world.  They are the unsung heroes who, without regard for themselves, walk into hostile territories to do the dirty work.  They are the true Account managers for the managed service contracts. They become the reason why contracts are renewed.

I may no longer fight the good fight on a daily basis but I surely have earned the “Street Cred” to say that Onsite technicians are different breed of Tech.  It’s not for everyone and not everyone can handle the job or do it right. So Rulers of the AV world take note. The little people in this industry do a lot with very little. We don’t demand respect; we earn it every day that we keep service contracts from falling into the abyss.

Yeahhhhh…. I went there.

Video Vandal.

REDBAND: Get a job! 10 steps to becoming an A/V Pro By John Sciacca

Get a job! 10 steps to becoming an A/V Pro By John Sciacca


It doesn’t happen as much anymore, but there was a time when one of my top “Questions from Readers” was, “How do I get a job in the Custom Installation industry?”

And it’s easy to see why people are interested in this industry.  You get to meet tons of interesting people, nearly every project/day at work is different, and you’re constantly working with the newest technologies and coolest gadgets. Arrive at a house in a van loaded down with high-tech goodies, be viewed by your customer’s as some mash-up between a computer genius, wizard and super hero, and then at the end of the day, press a single button and make…magic. Unlike any other trade – electrician, plumber, HVAC, cable/telephone, gardener – A/V installers are generally celebrated when they come to a house. They bring with them a head-full of knowledge and make a house a fun place to live.

However, it isn’t all just sitting around hooking-up amazing systems and watching movies, oh sorry, I mean “calibrating video” all day…

To continue reading click Here.


John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog



REDBAND: The Video Vandal leaves his mark – The 10 spot

The 10 Spot

  • The display designed for the application will never be better than “that guys” TV at Home…you know who you are.
  • “It’s not loud enough” & “it’s not bright enough” are now both universally accepted technical terms.
  • All AV equipment is unsightly and will always need to be hidden in remote areas where unsightly devices go to be forgotten. Thank goodness distance limitations do not exist.
  • AV drawings that have device locations labeled as “future” is code for “not happening”
  • The true value behind the art of Value Engineering is to kindly tell you that your site survey and needs analysis were never really necessary.
  • AV equipment is always at fault regardless that the presenter was presenting while on a  “pay as you go” Mifi connection and on a moving train in Eastern Europe.
  • IT “speaks” three distinct languages…PC, MAC & IP. While AV is more like a Nomadic tribe with over 100 distinct languages & dialects and few dead languages. Rabbit Ears, Cassette Tape & Reel to Reel Rest In Pieces guys!
  • Audiovisual can really impact a Presentation, Meeting or Conference so expect your first introduction/meeting to start 10 minutes into the event.
  • Using bigger fonts and more slides in a presentation is much more costly than re-engineering the presentation system.
  • 10 remotes on a table is a great alternative to a control system. Even the end-users would agree with the savings.

Video Vandal.

REDBAND – Customer Service: One Bad “Apple” Can Spoil The Bunch by Ward Hails

Customer Service: One Bad “Apple” Can Spoil The Bunch by Ward Hails

About a month ago, my 15” 2008 MacBook Pro booted normally and I began my Sunday as I would any other. After briefly checking the headlines I closed the lid, and made myself a pot of coffee. Upon lifting the lid to write an email…

… a brief white flash, and then nothing. This was a first, and although I am quite capable around a computer, this was a different scenario altogether.

I held down the power button, and the machine seemed to power off. Yet no matter what I tried (PRAM, battery out, etc.), the laptop simply wouldn’t reboot. It seemed stuck in a zombie like state. Disheartened, I made an appointment online and prepared to haul my brick to the nearest Apple retail location (Yorkdale Mall, Toronto, Ontario).

In the interim, I did a little research – and what I found was encouraging. After viewing a forum on Apple’s main support site, I found a link that seemed to suggest a repair would be covered – free of charge! Apparently, Apple had been “investigating” problems with Nvidia’s GeForce 8600M series graphics chips, and they were found to be defective.

From the link, above:


In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within four years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

What to look for:

  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on

Specific products affected:

  • MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors
    • MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (Early 2008)
  • These computers were manufactured between approximately May 2007 and September 2008

I felt confident that Apple would help me sort out this unfortunate failure, and I’d be on my way in a couple of days. I had a bad chip, it was covered under an extended warranty (I was two months inside of the four-year date-of-purchase cutoff, and remain within the cutoff as of this writing), and there ought to be nothing to worry about. Apple’s service was renowned, after all.

Not so.

I arrived at the store, surrendered my laptop, and waited patiently for about ten minutes. The first “genius” to look at my computer determined that the logic board had failed, and that I’d need a new one, and it would be $600, plus taxes. I was a bit confused, given that a free warranty replacement had been offered to all customers experiencing this failure.

“Were you thinking of buying a new computer today?” he asked. Wait – what? I was totally stunned.

I attempted to explain what the problem was and how I was entitled to a free repair. I did this more than once, and short of drawing pictograms this “genius” seemed unable or unwilling to understand.

I left and fumed while I ate breakfast. I decided that my best option was to leave the computer with Apple, and speak to a manager when things were less hectic. Bad decision.

Apple Yorkdale held on to my laptop for a week, and despite numerous conversations with a manager, (who had no technical expertise, a point she admitted) the response was the same: I’d have to pay for a repair, and I’d have to pay a lot. The manager finally offered a discount, and although not much – I took her offer.

I had been stonewalled.

By now, I was more than a little frustrated. After doing a bit more research that evening, I became livid.

There were thousands of postings online, from literally all over the world, from users experiencing the exact same problem. One blogger had even resorted to a lawsuit – which he would eventually win - when his $5000 17” MacBook Pro failed due to a faulty Nvidia chip. There were plenty of customers (including friends of mine) who’d received the warranty replacement without so much as a second thought. Yet I was being told to pay, and pay full price. This whole process seemed to be totally arbitrary. What the hell was going on?

I cancelled my repair the next morning and accused the manager of running a scam. I have never experienced more dishonest service, anywhere, at any point in my life.

I reclaimed my bricked laptop from Apple, and took it to a third-party Apple repair centre. The tech quickly confirmed that the problem was related to the Nvidia chip issue and further – I didn’t require a new logic board, as Apple had so fervently insisted. I was furious.

I have already ordered a replacement for my MacBook Pro. It’s a Lenovo. And it was less than half the cost of a comparable MacBook. And I can upgrade it – not something that can be said for the new MacBook Pro.

With the near-constant hype surrounding Apple’s every move, I’m sure that quite a few breathless sycophants will continue to propel the company’s success. But there is no doubt things have changed. The stumbling release of FCPX, the lagging uncertainty surrounding the MacPro line-up, and articles like this one make me think that Apple is not the same company it was when I originally purchased my laptop.

Tim Cook’s focus as a CEO is fundamentally different than that of the late Steve Jobs. Where Jobs seemed willing to interact with (even angry) customers directly, Tim Cook is undoubtedly aloof. Jobs placed incredible emphasis on design, whereas Cook seems to find his strength in lowering the average cost-per-unit. Apple may continue to be a behemoth in personal electronics for years to come, but after the Kafkaesque experience I’ve had with the “new” Apple I feel pretty sure that the company has already abandoned the principles on which Steve Jobs re-built the company. The consequences of that decision may take years to play out, but if Apple has become arrogant enough to believe that customer service no longer matters, you can be sure that the consequences will be severe.

Ward Hails is a multimedia technician at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, in Toronto, Ontario. His role involves A/V system design, implementation and maintenance – in addition to videography, photography, post-production and motion graphics. Previously, he has worked in Marketing, IT, and Application Support, and has a strong background in music theory and the recording arts. You can check out his Linkedin profile HERE.

REDBAND: Licensed To Fail: A precautionary tale for the aspiring AV Tech by Ward Hails

Licensed To Fail: A precautionary tale for the aspiring AV Tech by Ward Hails

All too often I come across young, aspiring A/V technicians who are simply unable to land that first gig, or first job, despite submitting applications for countless postings. They may be perfectly suited to the job requirements and possess the requisite education, but increasingly it seems that this is not enough.

After applying for positions in a variety of industry sectors (television, live events, music studios, post houses), I lost count of how many applications went unanswered. I resigned myself to seek employment opportunities outside of the Audiovisual Industry, and although I landed a “job,” I was not happy. The environment was caustic, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with my professional life until I was using my skills to their fullest extent.
Finally, a company (which will remain nameless) wanted me to interview for a technical position, and I was thrilled. I felt that the difficult part was over. I had finally been noticed, and I genuinely believed that I would be considered for my ability and my potential contribution. Not so.

I arrived at the interview and proceeded to fill out all of the redundant paperwork. I waited patiently for half an hour, and was finally greeted by a senior technician. We took a quick walk down the hall, and the interview began. Initially, everything ran smoothly, and I felt that the interview was very positive. I let them know that I was eager to learn, and willing to work the long hours they both insisted the position would require. No problems. And then I was asked what I thought was a throwaway question.

“Do you own a vehicle?” one of the interviewers asked. I thought little of it at that moment, and I answered honestly.

“No. I have a valid G-class license, and I have lots of driving experience, but I don’t own a car.”

The interview came to a grinding halt, and the two men paused for a moment. They seemed to share a genuine mix of disappointment and confusion, as though they had expected an entirely different answer. After a few cursory questions about Microsoft Powerpoint, they thanked me and the interview ended abruptly.

Needless to say, I did not receive an offer.

Understandably, the manner in which the interview concluded left me with a pretty dim view of the company. Owning a car has nothing to do with one’s ability to function as an excellent A/V technician, and if they felt that this was a legitimate concern I was pretty sure I didn’t want the job, anyway. This wasn’t pizza delivery.

I’m constantly encountering younger A/V technicians looking for advice on how to “get a foot in the door.” We routinely tell them to focus their resume on the skills required for a specific posting. We tell them to upgrade their training. We tell them to develop a demo reel. We give them common sense answers, because we seem to think that hiring decisions are made on the candidate’s merit. As I learned, that is not always the case.

To be fair, this is an extreme example. It’s not even the worst interview I’ve had. Any organization that would even consider someone’s automotive assets ahead of their technical capabilities is only harming itself. What sort of training and development would a company like that would offer?

I recently worked an event where the “unnamed” company held the contract for the selected venue. The A/V techs looked like they would rather be anywhere else, and one of them even proceeded to watch a movie on his laptop – instead of monitoring the mic levels going to tape, or watching the levels going to the front-of-house PA. As the client’s A/V rep overseeing this, I was less than pleased.

I suppose the technicians’ unprofessional behaviour shouldn’t have come as a surprise; when you ask idiotic interview questions that have nothing to do with a candidate’s ability, there is a chance you’ll hire the wrong person. If you do somehow hire a promising young technician, but you’re unwilling or incapable of developing your employees, they’ll lose interest. I believe that successful organizations leverage strong training and development programs to both drive employee loyalty, and improve business results. Those same training programs can also help mitigate risks associated with hiring candidates that have loads of potential, but not as much experience.

The lesson for A/V employers is simple: even if you hire the right people, you need to ensure that they have opportunities to develop their skills, and to further their own professional abilities. And if you’re a recent grad, or you’re looking to break into the A/V industry, don’t be discouraged by a bad interview, or missing out on an opportunity. Even companies can fail at interviewing, just like the rest of us.

Ward Hails is a multimedia technician at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, in Toronto, Ontario. His role involves A/V system design, implementation and maintenance – in addition to videography, photography, post-production and motion graphics. Previously, he has worked in Marketing, IT, and Application Support, and has a strong background in music theory and the recording arts. You can check out his Linkedin profile HERE.

REDBAND: AV Myths, One-liners, and Other stuff you can’t make up!

A few months back I posted on some industry forums asking  if anyone cared to share their best AV Myths, One-Liners and interactions  Below is the Best from the various posts. The Enjoy! – Chris

David R.

  • Not a myth, but a fact often ignored or forgotten … The 1st Law of AV: There is Nothing Brighter than the Sun.

Michael K.

  • How about the myth of “Cookie-Cutter Installation.” Just because you have identical gear going into ten different rooms, that doesn’t mean that:
  • All ten rooms are structurally identical (different structures inside walls, conduits which may or may not go where you think they do, etc.)
  • All ten rooms should take the same amount of time. Or, even worse, become increasingly faster because “you’ve already done a couple.”
  • These factors will increase exponentially with the age of the building. I’ve hung screens on a wall that had three different support structures behind it, and no one knew about it. (Ironically, it was a classroom in a school of architecture.)
  • That’s how you tell who did the site survey.

Scott T.

  • The whole building is wireless. Why do I need conduit for AV?

Doug F.

  • Immersive Telepresence is worth the money.
  • For VC, you can hang a Polycom QDX 6000 (or similar such camera) on the back wall of an auditorium, 150 feet away from the stage, and the remote audience will like it just fine.
  • Flush-mounted boundary mics in conference room tables are a great idea!

Ron D.

  • “As long as the impedance presented to my amplifier is equal to or greater than its rating, I can safely drive as many speakers as I want!” …FAIL!

Marty W.

  • I can use a 6 pt. font size in my PowerPoint presentation. Looks fine on my laptop, should look ok to the folks in the auditorium. And they’ll really appreciate how efficient I was by cramming my entire presentation onto one slide!

Dana B.

  • Our group has been working on this project for 6 months and you (who you’ve just met) are the person who’s going to make it go perfect!
  • ” It was just working in the shop”

Timothy L.

  • Two 3/4 inch conduits are the same as one 1 1/2 inch conduit.

Douglas M.

  • Just splice it, it’ll be OK.
  • Why do we need spare bulbs?
  • We never had a grounding problem before.
  • Why can’t you take this Instructor-led 3-week course and turn it into a 3-hour PowerPoint?
  • I want one small remote control to run EVERYTHING!
  • Let’s not forget “Smoke, I want Smoke and Lasers!” And it’s just a sales presentation.
  • Let’s not forget, “Don’t worry, its future proof.”
  • And my favorite, “This shouldn’t take you to long to modify, right?”

 Dan W.

  • Can’t you make it look great with the fluorescent lights we already have?
  • Money is no object
  • I need all of my spread sheet to show on this one slide.
  • We don’t need acoustical treatment; we are not trying to be a recording studio.
  • Can’t you do something to fix it??? i.e.: Bigger, Clearer, Louder, Legible, in focus, not distorted…
  • Why are these video files so huge???
  • Looks (or sounds) great to me. Usually heard from deaf and/or blind clientele.
  • Oh, just one more thing…….

 Greg L.

  • Fast, Good and Cheap. Pick any two.
  • You want it fast and good it won’t be cheap.
  • You want it cheap and good it won’t be fast.
  • You want it fast and cheap it won’t be good.
  • All though I do aim for perfection with every event that I do

 Jonathan K.

  • Myth – This show is EXACTLY like the one we did last time.  Truth – 99.44% not likely. There’s always some change that needs to be addressed.
  • Just had a client email me and say “Just give me what you gave me the last time.” Then I called and asked some questions. The “last time” was not what was needed for this time. Close, but not exactly.

Eddie M.

  • “Yes and I want wireless speakers too, you are not spoiling my new décor” followed by “Batteries, I have absolutely no intention of changing batteries!!!!” followed by “look if you can’t do it wirelessly without batteries I’ll find someone who can” :p

John D.

  • Here’s a myth, “we’ll have volunteer labor for the loadout.” I have one group that ever actually does have volunteers…

William B.

  • “But my video conferencing unit is HD, why are all my calls at 384?”
  • “no one touched anything, It just stopped working”

John D.

  • Actually you are right on. the ultimate AV Myth IS “HD videoconferencing”

Paul B.

  • I see this as a myth from installers: “All the wiring and routing has been tested and verified.”

William H.

  • “The client doesn’t need/want a big fancy control system  … they just want to control it with their iPads.”

Jim C.

  • “What do you mean ‘cable run’? Aren’t all cameras wireless now?”
  • “Why can’t you play a H.264 file on a tape deck?”
  • “Why do you need lights? My video camera at home can shoot in the dark.”
  • “You can’t do 16×9 in SD.”
  • And my favorite: “Well can’t you just ….”  Anytime I hear the “J-word” I know I’m in trouble.

 Timothy D.

  • Myth: “If I test it today, it will still work tomorrow.”

Grant F.

  • If we can’t fix it it’s not broke…
  • I think I have that adaptor….
  • Will tape that down right away
  • You won’t need a spare lamp the projector almost new..
  • You can put that omni mic anywhere it will work

Leah W.

  • This is not a myth, but a fundamental corollary: The higher the level of exec and the more critical that a meeting be flawless = the greater probability of trouble.

John D.

  • Especially if that high level exec wants direct wireless control his PPT deck… but we all know we humor them on that issue :)

Thanks to all who submitted, posted or sent in comments.


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RED BAND: Embracing Apple Mind Think By John Sciacca

Embracing Apple Mind Think By John Sciacca

“Think different.” – Apple

Whether you’re a Mac or a PC (and, for the record, I’m a PC), you’ve got to hand it to Apple. They went from a company on the brink of total irrelevancy to a market dominating innovator on multiple fronts whose stock closed Friday with a market cap crossing the $600 billion mark. Apple is beloved by consumers, stands at the paragon of product hype and desirability, and can move the market and hold pricing in a retail environment that is increasingly cutthroat.

What can we learn from them?

At the 2011 CEDIA EXPO I sat next to Russound’s CEO, Charlie Porritt, at dinner one evening and he shared one of the more profound quotes I heard at the show. Charlie said that while Russound was meeting with Apple to implement AirPlay into a new media streamer, one of the Apple executives held up a key component and said, “This part costs $15 (at manufacture) right now. What would you do if it was $1? How would that change what you made? How would that change what you do?”

It’s a simple idea, but it’s also quite profound and illustrates the forward, look-ahead of Apple mind-think. Don’t get hung up on what IS right now; think about what it could be, what it should be, what it will be and then change, prepare and work towards getting it there.

Where Apple is big enough to push pricing downward, our businesses are subject to the pricing whims of outside factors. And we face the exact opposite issue; things we sell are continually dropping in price and in margin. Think about what you are selling today for $1000; what would you do if it was $100? How would that change what you do? While we can’t move pricing, we have to anticipate the changes and adapt to them. Prepare and plan and then act accordingly.

To continue reading click Here.

John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog

RED BAND – A Community By Any Other Hashtag by Tucker


A Community By Any Other Hashtag

What makes a community?

“What’s in a name that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Romeo and Juliet – The Bard

If you recall your Shakespeare the quote above is spoken by Juliet upon finding that her true love is from the Montague’s, the one family she as a Capulet  is sworn to destroy. The full scene is a meditation on the uselessness of judging by labels – love is where you find it.

Is our community by any other name the same but different?  In the past few days there has been a call to move a good deal of industry-centric Twitter posts from the grouping #avtweeps to #proav by a few industry publications.  I found this intriguing, the call for an additional industry hashtag is a good sign of growing involvement on the social platform.  What piqued my interest more was the request to use the new #ProAV in  place of and excluding the existing #avtweeps.  I was further moved into beard stroking ponderance when several folks Direct Messaged me on Twitter curious if I knew who the catalysts were and why they seemed to be so disparaging of the group.

What is in a name?
The group AVTweeps, a derivation of the slang Peeps for friends and a playful nod to the twitter lingo of Tweet for a message, was established by AV integrators looking for a way to group their conversations in and about the industry in one common place about four years ago. It has grown to be the single largest collective of AV related folks on Twitter.  The group did debate other hastag names such as #hometheater, #avpros  #AVcontrol and the like but it was decided that the names were too limiting and did not express the wide scope of work we do.  We also investigated using #AV and #AVPro but these were already in use by the Adult Video folks- otherwise known as the *Porn* industry.   While we know full well that many of the systems we install are used for viewing such or are installed in the producers of such material -the association seemed a bit too much by half.

I like the #ProAV hastag but like stated above I have avoided it as it seemed a bit too exclusive. In way of demonstrating what I mean by this let me describe how I define Pro AV.  I have been lucky enough to have had careers in Recording Engineering, (back when it was a studio not a high end ‘project studio’), Broadcast and Live Event Staging.  Nearly all of these folks, from the camera operators, lighting techs/ designers, FOH audio and associated crew would not view what integrators install as Pro gear or a Pro Audio industry.  No question integrators are considered professionals in a related Audio Visual industry but the definition of pro is of a different order.  I have -to be clear- met few, if any really, Pro AV folks who disparage the integrator market beyond the use of the moniker.

Being Exclusive does has its benefits in some cases -I agree. When one wants to reach a narrow audience on specific topics like #tonys or #altmusic avoiding a broader audience provides a very focused conversation.  Speaking of the Alt designator, some you older set reading this will recall that early Usnet Newsgroups used the alt prefix to narrow down topic specificity. Usnets were a pre World Wide Web internet discussion system and were the precursor to chat boards and forums. The Alt(dot) hierarchy though less organized was helpful as the main groups could become unwieldy when searching for say, a specific play. Rather than go to the humanities.plays one could subscribe to the Alt.Plays.shakespeare. Very handy indeed. Today this methodology is still very useful for Brands looking to reach potential clients; rather than cast a wide net they use carefully selected keywords to show up in searches and twitter communities.

This is what I thought was going on with the desire to separate from the larger group of AV professionals into one that focused on the Live Event and Broadcast industry.   Yet, this does not seem to be the case.  In fact many of the leading posts are from publications which are not technically in the Pro AV market (at least by the definition I gave previously).

So I ask here
I posed this question to the folks who voiced the desire to separate into their own state why such a move would be warranted.  Was it that the uninitiated had a hard time finding the group? A single day following a manufacturer would  have exposed them to the tag.

Was saving three letters really that urgent a need?

I am sure there is a good answer and being a devotee of all things AV and Social I was curious why the sociological rift.   As you are reading this here I am sure you know the response I received – Crickets.

So I ask here:  Why the desire to create a chasm?  Is there an untoward association #avtweeps has or is it a desire to distinguish a presence in a different space.

All the above are legitimate reasons and I curry no favor other than I have ‘lived’ in the tweeps column on my tweetdeck since its inception.  Heck I think the #proav hastag has some great potential, but I do not go rushing toward new shiny baubles just because they are reflecting the sunlight particularly nicely at a specific hour.  If I did I would be living in a Park Avenue apartment because of the way the light looks on Manhattanhenge, (still a valid reason to do so, as long as one is aware of what the other 362 days look like).

Why this post is here
This is why I have posted this on Chris Neto’s AV Shout platform, to speak from a neutral territory.  Here no one need be concerned about driving traffic to a ‘competitors’ site by commenting.

So tell me I am screwy for laboring over this, Tell my to *expletive deleted* off and mind my own business but tell me how a name does not smell as sweet.

- Tucker

When asked to recap his career and life Tucker responded “Me? I am just a figment of your collective imagination and let me tell you that living this life has taught me one thing- you people are twisted Mofos”   You can follow Tucker on Twitter @Tuckertues or his personal blog on tech and tech culture at