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

My Infocomm 2012: Hey I Know You! … from the Podcast (Part 3)

Continuation of my Journey in Las Vegas to figure out how Social Media is changing things.

Last fall I had been asked if I would be interested in appearing on the AV Week show as a guest panelist by its founder Tim Albright (@tdalbright). I met Tim online and later connected with him via LinkedIn. My interaction with Tim was usually brief. Typically we met prior to the recording and bounced around some ideas and show topics via email. Most of our interaction was limited to messages, tweets and emails. Fifteen minutes prior to the show we would chat as part of a sound check and introductions.  Once the show started it was as if the guest panelist had just spent the last month touring the world together on small bus. The conversation in the podcast was natural and when you place AV people in a room the stories and opinions typically fly faster than fists at Jersey shore nite club. Prior to InfoComm, Tim had invited me to stop by the show’s Friday live broadcast.

Situated between the main entrance, exhibit halls, eateries and the 2nd floor escalators I guess you can say that AV Nation was at the “Center of it all”. As a whole the area outside of the main exhibit hall was a virtual beehive of activity. Apart from the show attendees and the RAVE Pubs team providing show coverage the Podcast area itself was a magnet for the curious. Groups of curious onlookers stopped and huddled around to watch the live broadcasts. Just In case you were wondering this was not limited to any particular demographic since both “New” and “Old school” AV people were drawn to it. The combined Buzz of the live broadcast and the activity of the RAVE team really drew the crowds in.

As I walked up to the location I saw Tim and exchanged a hand wave and smile from a distance as not to interrupt. I recognized a few others from their online activity and went over to say hi. Saying hi to one person rolled into 3 then 4 then more.  The first person I saw was George Tucker (@tuckertues) who was working the sound for the panel. George has been active in social media for a bunch of years and I had worked with George on the AV week panel previously. George’s handshake led to Spotting Matt Scott (@OmegaAudioVideo) which led to meeting Adrian Boyd (@The_AV_CAD_Guy) both of whom I had met on podcasts prior to InfoComm.  Standing next to Adrian was Steve Greenblatt (@stevegreenblatt) ,who is from NJ, but never met in person. Steve is also a frequent podcast panelist with AV Nation and a contributor to Publications.  When I turned to see the broadcast panel I meet Phil Cordell (@The_AV_Pro) who I’ve only seen on YouTube. His AV videos on YouTube made him easily recognizable.  After meeting to Phil I turn and meet Rebeca Villareale (@beckyreale). Rebecca had come over to introduce herself, again only from the online communities did I know these people. All of us came from different parts of the country except for Becky and Steve who were local to me and Matt who is from a different country all together. Our common bond here was more than just a presence on twitter. We all come from different aspects of AV. Some were from Manufacturers, Integrators, Residential, Programmers, Independents or consultants. Regardless of what we did or where we came from the conversation was great and we traded many of the same War stories .

Collectively we have all appeared on podcast where we were given a platform to speak out about what we love or hate about AV. In general I think the small sampling of AV professionals I mentioned are doing their part to promote the industry and shape its direction going forward. Don’t get me wrong here…this is nothing new to our industry. What is new are the platforms available to us to share our views and opinions. That is the secret ingredient to social media and how it works. The podcast location at InfoComm became the became the central hub for the #AVtweeps to gather. The term #AVtweeps, for those who may not know, is the twitter hash tag created by Johnny Mota (@JMOTA3) for the AV community on Twitter. The handshakes and hellos in front of the AV nation podcast continued the evolution of the InfoComm 2012 for me.  Apart from the introductions I finally sensed the show had a pulse that was not just marketing related.  AV had become social.

For the first time, in my experience, the show had a voice through the podcast. Tim and AV Nation team took the show from floor to bench tech in Topeka.  As an industry we have been doing a good job of covering the show both online and in print for many years but the live element had been missing.  The podcasts streamed live delivering not only new product information but the voices and opinions of the show attendees and exhibitors. To hear typical product hype from Market Managers is one thing, but to hear it from one a show attendee or tech manager is refreshing.  Needless to say that the podcast did an excellent job of making the show more personal, the listener is essentially sitting alongside the guest panel hearing the news as it happens. I personally could appreciate a live broadcast as someone who did not attend the show last year. This was a great Step forward for the show and I can only imagine where it can go from here.

To be continued…

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

The band is getting together…


Looking to put a “Band” of Guest Bloggers together. Interested?

Email me at


John Sciacca’s Blog in Residential Systems – My small contribution of horror

Check out John Sciacca great post on installation nightmares & horror story for

Installation Nightmares – 9 Professional Horror Stories 

By: John Sciacca

Click Here to view the article!

And be sure to check out John Sciacca’s website as well by clicking the image below:


My InfoComm 2012: Hey I know you!

Part One

Hey I know you!

My journey began early Tuesday morning in lovely Newark, NJ.  I have to say that I love Newark Airport. Even at the crack of dawn you can witness the state “BIRD” fly without restraint.  I was one of the 34,286 attendees making their way to Infocomm 2012 in the Las Vegas heat. Once I arrived in Vegas I met up with coworkers, from AV Helpdesk, and finalized our objectives for the show.  During the 4 days I spent at the convention I split time between the exhibits, Infocomm meetings and networking. These activities are pretty much standard at all conventions. You’ll always have your attendees, exhibitors and media all mixed together or converged, for those who love to use that fashionable AV term. For many of the attendees the show may be the only opportunity that they will have to see new products and interact with manufacturers. Others simply see the show as work whether they are there to exhibit, attend classes or test for their certifications.

So here I am 3 weeks after the show looking to write a show recap of what I thought about the products and technologies. After spending 4 days admiring the latest and greatest I figured why make it easy on myself? Looking back at InfoComm one of the most impressive things on displays wasn’t a product, service or a company for that matter. This year’s award for most impressive display, not produced by a manufacturer, goes to social media and the impact it played at InfoComm 2012

Infocomm 2012 is the first show that I attended since I began using social media nearly 2 years ago when I joined LinkedIn.  I did not expect to immerse myself into the social media world. I also never expected that social media would ever fuel excitement and anticipation leading up to the show, not for me at least.  Maybe I was too naive or maybe I was downplaying expectations.  As expected you would have marketing people adding to the hype since that’s what they do for a living. Outside of the die-hard trekies … I meant techies who would really be that amped-up about a convention?

For many the show unofficially began weeks, if not months, before the first road case ever hit the desert floor. The online community had been preparing for InfoComm 2012 long before tickets were purchased or the first drink poured. Whether it was on LinkedIn, Twitter or InfoComm own online community, the buzz was building and people were planning.  If you’re skeptical about how much buzz was really generated go to twitter and type in the search #Infocomm12 or better yet try #AVtweeps into the search field.

I walked into the show like everyone else to gather new product information and meet new and existing vendors.  After a full day of running around gathering notes, pictures and information I was exhausted.  The second day of the show I had regained my drive and hit the floor running again. That all changed when I was stopped by someone who recognized me from my online posts and articles. Being from New Jersey if someone jumps in front of me and says “Hey I know you” my first reaction typically does not involve a smile or a “hi”. During that awkward moment is when I realized that this biggie sized show suddenly became whole lot smaller, a lot more personal and a lot more fun.  Mind blowing but that’s the power of social media at work.

To be continued…


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Collaborating Designs – How Audiovisual technology and Open-Concept workspaces need to collaborate

Companies are constantly changing and evolving to keep up with today’s trends. A great example of this change is the ongoing push for open or collaborative space. Facilities managers, designers and architects have been asked to tear down walls let the sunlight in and provide comfortable spaces where employees want to work. Thought Designers and Architects face their share of challenges such as organizational hierarchy, engrained company culture and the overall fear of change. With that said companies are coming to the realization that change is inevitable. Innovative office furniture systems, improved lighting, faster data networks and dependable wireless communications have fast-tracked the open space movement. Gone are the cookie cutter spaces, offices with doors, high walled cubicles and windows reserved for offices only. Those relics have been replaced by floor to ceiling windows, skylights and low-rise cubes huddled into work groups with common areas. Today many companies have embraced Open Space designs and now are looking to audiovisual companies to improve the space by adding innovative technology.

One of the obvious challenges that AV designers are faced in Open-Concept design is ambient light. In traditional spaces Conference rooms where behind four walls. Sunlight is not the enemy in today’s designs and is encouraged to enter the space through large windows, skylights or sun tunnels.  For AV vendors or in-house AV technology managers the need to meet with the Facilities planning group is now paramount. If that is not possible then be prepared to invest in a light meter and some prayers in order to justify the added expense of retro fitting technology. The addition of high quality window shades, brighter projectors and better quality projection screens will help improve the situation. Do not under value the  added benefits of a control system. A well designed system that is  connected into the lighting and shade controls is an added benefit that can really shows its worth when given to a creative programmer.

Open-Concept designs are extremely susceptible to unwanted sound and noise. Simple steps such as shutting off speakerphones, wireless phone & PC headsets and giving employees the option take calls in purpose-built conversation spaces are steps in the right direction. As the need for open space increases so should the need to address acoustics in the planning stages of site design.  Engaging an acoustical engineer early on in the planning phase is a major step to ensuring that sound is addressed and that the right steps can be added later on to further “tweak” the sound.  Additional steps such as sound masking systems, improved speaker technology and acoustical panels will bring additional sound control to the overall space.

 The traditional four walled conference spaces are now located out in the open. A major attraction to these types of spaces is that they free of reservation systems, informal, simple and inviting. As an end-user I imagine a great collaborative work space as a combination of comfortable seating, ample work surface and technology. Unfortunately technology is still the first to be “cut out”.  A table with four seats and whiteboard does not constitute a collaborative work space in world where we are immersed in technology 24×7.  It’s the year 2012 why do end-users have to justify having a permanent display or projector in any meeting space?  Has the “display” not reached the same mythical status as the dry erase board and the conference phone?  They just magically appear with every meeting space.

 The Open-Concept design is challenging AV professionals to become creative again. It’s time to rethink the four walled conference room and literally go outside the box.  If it wasn’t  a challenge it wouldn’t be fun and if it isn’t fun then you are in the wrong line of work.

Your turn to Shout back! I’m on a virtual quest for common Myths…

I’m currently working on new a couple new articles. One article, in particular,  I wanted to get some feedback from the people in AV. The article I’m working on is about common myths or lies in the AV Industry. What I am looking for are examples of the following:

  • Career path myths such as a Good AV Tech will Make a Good AV Project Manager
  • There is a “Supertech” in every company. Ironically “Supertech” is permanently locked into that role for the rest of  their career….are you “Supertech”?
  • Are on site AV technology managers still viewed as “TV Cart Pushers” or the “high school AV Squad” by AV Companies, Corporations or IT groups.
  • Are the AV & IT groups really coming together or is the “great convergence” just specific to hardware & network. Are there still visible lines “drawn in the sand” when it comes to roles & accountability?

I can understand how people may feel uncomfortable placing their stories in the comments section so feel free to contact me via email at or we can set up a call to discuss.

Thanks again and I look forward to your feedback.