Sunday, July 8, 2018

Video Walls, Who Needs Them?

Video Walls, Who Needs Them?

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We recently started stocking high definition video walls. We are using Planar, professional, commercial TV displays for all configurations up to 3 x 3. 3 x 3 is 3 displays down and 3 displays across.

When friends of mine heard of our new video item they immediately thought, “wow we can watch the Eagles games.“ 

…Or they think, “we should have a fight party.” ...Not exactly why we decided to bring video walls in-house.

 My first thought was “Ooh, we can watch Game of Thrones.” Coincidentally, not the reason either.
What ever the case, my business mind eventually ran through appropriate uses for such a professional video product. The applications at ‘top of mind’ are conferences, trade shows and digital signage for varied industries. Medical, Education, Government and Technology, leading the charge and private events landing way at the bottom of the list.
In reality, a video wall has a place at ANY convention. As you may have noticed if you have attended any convention in the last 5 years or so. They are often placed at or near entrances providing convention information, welcome videos or venue maps. They can also be found at booths, large and small, displaying specific product information, images or promotional videos.
I often attend audio visual conventions, in the AV world they are used commonly to run product videos, run promotional videos, Instant Magnification of Live Video (IMAG) and/or demonstrate and exhibit video quality of auxiliary video equipment.
videowall, video wall, hd video, hd videowall, hd videowalls 
In the end, regardless of how a video wall is utilized, it brings with it a ‘WoW’ Factor that cannot be substituted.

Our most common configuration has been the 3 x 3 grid, using nine HD TV Displays. Nine Displays with uniform bezels for the smallest grid between and largest viewing image. Additionally, we stock a mobile cart that moves easily with locking casters.
For more information contact Bruce Johnson with A.V.Rental Services, Inc.
PH: 800-695-5943

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sound Advice: How Many LoudSpeakers Should I Use?
sound system, brooklyn brewery

Sound Advice for Best Conference Audio!

Sound Advice, Polite behavior is normally best practices. What polite behavior may not get you however, is a great seat at the conference.

When it comes to sound advice, many of the questions and rental RFQs we see are for 1 to 2 loudspeakers. I almost never see an event planner requesting a four speaker sound system. Many times people believe one speaker will be sufficient. In the other instances people believe two speakers is the most you could ever need in any given situation. Early on in my A/V equipment rental career I was advised to use surround sound systems. This meant, put a speaker in every corner. This was applied in order to achieve full coverage.
We now operate under the premise that single speaker rental request are basically rental suggestions  demanding our professional experience and recommendation.
Unless a client is blatantly demanding a single speaker set up I will never supply an estimate for a single speaker rental. Having so said, I will always recommend a four speaker sound system for groups of 50 or more.

Sound Advice: 50 is the cut off?

In my experience, that is where side conversations start to have a devastating effect.
Side conversations are what happens when some conference attendees are engaged wholeheartedly and some attendees are less than engaged.
What happens in this situation, is the attendees that are less than engaged will start to have a side conversation discussing anything but what is relevant to the conference. The engaged conference attendees, being polite, will not say anything, will completely be distracted and completely miss out on what could be valuable information pertinent to their careers, education or personal life. The engaged attendees would like to hear what the presenter is saying but the nearest loudspeaker is too far away to penetrate the side conversation occurring at their table.
This situation is dire to the overall conference experience of each and every attendee. This is important because as an event planner or conference organizer, your attendee feedback will be mixed.

Your conference reviews may include negative comments, impacting the conference’s future attendance.

For this reason I have developed a chart to assist in deciding the appropriate sized Sound system for speech and music applications.

– Factors that should also be considered; exterior applications, concert level sound, extremely high ceilings and extremely large ballrooms.

sound, audio, system, size, chart, guide
Sound Advice Guide
concert, outdoor, sound, audio, system, size, chart, guide
Please use tables as a guide and not in place of consulting your AV professional for advice. Comparable powered speakers can be used in place of passive speaker sound systems in the above tables.
This last tip is written in jest but can still be somewhat useful. In an attempt to make the guidelines scale-able, I present a very casual rule and I use the word ‘rule’ very loosely. If your events are larger than the above guidelines reference, then for every additional 100 people add 4 more speakers and about a 750-1000 watt amplifier or better yet call or email me for more advice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Projectors


But Were Afraid to Ask

So the big event is tomorrow and you just find out your client neglected to mention they need an LCD projector to display there PowerPoint slide shows. You think, "this should not be that hard." You call a few local AV companies and are bombarded with questions by the AV rep who appears to be talking in tongues; From Lumens, Resolutions, Aspect Ratios to Throw Distance and Front or Rear Projection. Now that this AV guy has you feeling less than intelligent you try not to sound too defensive and say, "just bring me a regular projector." When the "regular" projector arrives and your client arrives also, with his Mac laptop you discover the Mac needs an adapter and the PowerPoint has high definition videos that look horrible through the "regular" projector. If this world is still a bit of a mystery let's venture into the ins and outs of projectors.

Lumens: The Fancy, Glorified Word for Brightness

Note: Movie theaters, while almost completely dark, use between 15,000 and 30,000 Lumen projectors.
One of the most important aspects of a projector is its brightness. The brightness of a projector is determined by the amount of Lumens the projector's lamp produces. Simply put, the higher the amount of Lumens the brighter the projector. Early on In the AV rental business I was taught when buying projectors buy the highest Lumen projectors, or brightest you can afford. In other words, you can always substitute a lower Lumen projector with a higher Lumen projector but not the other way around. On the lower end of the spectrum are projectors rated between 1000-2500 Lumens. In a completely dark room or a room totally absent of light, a 1000 Lumen projector may be sufficient. The issue then becomes the amount of light your projector will have to battle to reproduce the image it is being provided from the laptop, DVD Player, camera, etc. The more light introduced into the space between the projector and the projection screen means the more Lumens required to achieve a satisfactory image on screen. The size of the projection screen is not as important as most would be led to believe until you get into screens 12 feet wide and larger. Mid sized projectors are projectors rated between 3500-5000 Lumens. These are satisfactory for the amount of light within a well lit office conference room or hotel meeting room. In most cases you will be dimming the room lights slightly anyway during the actual presentation. Large event projectors are rated between 7500-10,000 Lumen and are used for bright rooms or rooms with windows where sunlight may enter. Large event projectors are also used for bright rooms with larger projection screens, such as 16 feet wide and larger.

High Definition is in Cahoots with Resolutions and Aspect Ratios

High Definition video is technically any video content recorded at a resolution of 1280 x 720 (WXGA) or higher.

Photo is Standard Definition, Low Resolution 600 x 400

Photo is High Definition 2592 x 1768

Common Resolution Table
Format - - Resolution - - - - Aspect Ratio
SVGA - - - - 800 x 600 - - - - 4:3 (Standard Definition)
XGA - - - - - 1024 x 768 - - - 4:3 (Standard Definition)
WXGA - - - - 1280 x 720 - - - 16:9 (High Definition)
WXGA - - - - 1280 x 800 - - - 16:10 (High Definition)
FHD - - - - - 1920 x 1080 - - - 16:9 (Full High Definition)
WUXGA - - - 1920 x 1200 - - - 16:10 (High Definition)

Room, Space and Throw Distances

In the event industry you almost never have enough space. You start your floor-plan mock-up; drop in your tables, chairs, riser and projection screens but almost never account correctly the space between the projector and screen. This is where short throw projectors and front or rear projection come into play. Front projection is placing the projector in front of the projection screen, with the projector visible to attendees and rear projection is placing the projector, hidden behind the screen. Rear projection gives the most professional and clean look between the two but is not always possible, due to lack of space. For this reason I recommend, when ordering your AV, request a projector with a short throw lens. A lens's throw distance is measured by a throw distance ratio. In this case the lower the number the shorter the throw. Projectors with interchangeable lenses come standard with a lens about 1.65:1 but can accept lenses with a throw ratio as low as .8:1 (varies by zoom and manufacturer).

For example, using a 10ft wide screen, a lens with a 1.65:1 throw ratio will require 16 feet of space between the projector and screen. On the other hand, a projector using a .8:1 lens only needs 8 feet between it and the 10ft wide screen.There are also ultra short throw projectors. While these projectors can achieve a throw ratio of as low as .48:1 they often do not have a zoom feature and do not offer interchangeable lenses.

Tip for Connecting Projectors and Laptops

When connecting a laptop to an LCD projector for an event, movie night or any occasion, for best results and to avoid any failure in communication between the two devices follow these simple rules.
  1. Always power up the projector first.
  2. Connect all cables before powering up the laptop.
  3. Laptop should be off, not sleep.
  4. 90% of the time, as the laptop boots up it will automatically connect to the projector.
  5. When presentation has ended power off the projector but let the internal fan run about 5 minutes before unplugging, to cool the lamp.

If you enjoyed the post, please leave a comment and let me know!

Bruce Johnson
A.V. Rental Services, Inc.
4039 Comly Street
Philadelphia, PA 19135
PH: 800-695-5943
FX: 215-904-8503


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quick Tips for Podium Microphones

Once you have overcome the fear of public speaking...if you ever really do; Then you worry about projecting your voice, annunciation and content. 

live professional microphone
If your AV vendor is 'worth his salt,' you should not have to worry about the microphone quality as well. 

Microphone Choices:
If  a sound (no pun intended), decision is made here you could avoid a number of pitfalls during the event. A 'no-brainer' microphone selection for a podium is the industry standard, Shure SM58. We use the SM58 everyday and on almost every job. 

Pro: The SM58 will allow you to crank the volume before feeding back. (Good for presenters who do not project.)

We do however try to stay away from the SM58 when it comes to podiums because of the con...
Con:  When a presenter turns their head, looks down or moves off slightly to the left or right of the podium, the SM58 will not pick up their voice well, due to the limitations and range of the pickup pattern.

Our 1st choice in podium microphones is the Shure MX Series, with heavy windscreen. The MX Series comes with a 12" or 18" goose neck and your choice of omnidirectional, cardioid and super cardioid cartridges. 
cardioid pickup patternomni directional patternsuper cardioid pickup pattern


Pro: These microphones are ideal as podium mics due to there sensitivity. Your presenter can stand to the side of the podium and still be heard.
Con: Sometimes the presenter may want to remove the microphone from the podium and walk around; can't do it.



User Training:
After selecting the microphone you need to know about placement and how to use it properly. When using the Shure MX Series podium microphones your presenters should speak, keeping about 6 inches from the microphone element. 
podium mic
 Always use the appropriate windscreen, to avoid the popping 'P's". Human beings expel air when annuciating certain letters. This air will be heard as a loud 'Pop' from the microphone. The goal is to not let the microphone catch any air from the mouth. To that end, be sure not to push the windscreen all the way down; touching the mic head. This will leave yet a little more air between one's mouth and the mic.

Whether using the MX Series or an SM58, mic placement is key. Keeping the mic below the height of the presenter's mouth or to their left or right side will also help eliminate unwanted breath and air from being amplified.

Bruce Johnson 
A. V. Rental Services, inc.
Philadelphia, PA 19135

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Last Minute Event for the Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain Postage Stamp

Dedication Ceremony for the Wilt Chamberlain Postage Stamp

Late Afternoon Call, the day before had us working for USPS
We had the pleasure of working with the US Postal Service yesterday, in Philadelphia at Overbrook High School.  

Wilt Chamberlain's alma mater, Overbrook High was the venue for the dedication ceremony for the new Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain postage stamp. In addition, the over sized stamp was unveiled in the minimally occupied school auditorium. (Probably should have let the students attend). There was a large number of press on hand, as well (I wonder why they did not order a mult-box?)

Wilt Chamberlain's sister was among a host of celebrities, school officials and athletes that spoke during the almost 2 hour event. A local celebrity, Sonny Hill, founder of the Philadelphia Sonny Hill basketball league gave a motivational speech that could very well have been recorded and played to students all over the world. His Philadelphia basketball league was founded in 1968 as a safe haven from gang warfare and other violence. 
audio rentalLarger Image

Famous NBA basketball player, World B. Free spoke of his first time meeting Wilt Chamberlain and the effect Wilt had on his own life. In short, not making basketball your only strength and preparing yourself for when your basketball playing days cease.

World B Free Larger Image

Thank you Post Office for letting us be a part.

Bruce Johnson

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

NY Comic Con DJ Reel

This is our latest video!
The video highlights the Disc Jockeys that spun at our 2013 New York Comic Con booth.

Includes footage of Grandmaster Caz, Hot 97s "Big Spanish" DJ Enuff, DJ EA ONE, DJ Monster, DJ Get Live, DJ IGNISHUN, DJ Schott Free — at Jacob K Javits Convention Center.