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United Visual A/V Insider - December 2004

Table of Contents:
1. United Visual Provides Lighting, Sound, and Video for
Karl's Premiere Opening

2. Sonic Foundry Adds Modularity to Mediasite Line
3. Sony Announces Low-End LCD Projector - Not Quite Sub-$1000
4. Chief Mounts to Provide NAV-1 Lens Support
5. SMART Adds New Quiz Options to SynchronEyes
6. Panasonic Introduces 65" Plasma Among New Models
7. Crestron Shipping FlipTop for MediaManager
8. Yet Another Display Technology
9. Perusing Display Panels - Part 2
10. Is it Time for an Audio Make-Over?
11. Small Wonders


1. United Visual Provides Lighting, Sound, and Video for Karl's Premiere Opening

United Visual recently provided sound, video and lighting for Karl's Event Rental's Studio 7000 Premiere Opening for event professionals. The event took place on November 18th at Karl's 53,000 square foot facility in Oak Creek, WI just south of Milwaukee. Over 300 event professionals came from coast-to-coast to attend this gala event.

"Studio 7000 ... An evening for event professionals was truly a success for the hundreds of people that attended this event.  Karl's Event Rental hosts a bi-annual Open House to showcase how to make your event spectacular.  Over six months of planning went into creating this evening with the help of partnering businesses.  United Visual truly stepped up to the plate in making this event successful from its inception.  Every aspect of Studio 7000 had a touch of United Visual.  They utilized their lighting and sound expertise to transform a warehouse washbay with 40' ceilings into an elegant lounge and then transform a 13,000 square foot tent structure into the "hottest" club in town. United Visual went above and beyond when working on this project.  Project manager James Harris worked tirelessly to ensure that all details were complete and safety measures were met.  United Visual was on site weeks before the event to coordinate the precise installation of all equipment.  Karl's Event Rental looks forward to working with the dedicated, professional and friendly personnel at United Visual in the future." said Karl's Event Rental President, John Schlueter.

The video system was comprised of (9) 42" plasma displays, (12) DVD players, (4) Sharp V10 4,700 lumen LCD projectors, (3) Sharp P10 3,000 ANSI Lumen LCD projectors, (2) Sony DXC35 3-chip video cameras, a Panasonic digital video camera, an Analog Way Graphic Switcher II seamless switcher, an Extron 408 seamless switcher, a 10.5' x 14' screen, (2) 6' x 9' screens and (2) 10' diameter circle projection screens.  The sound system included (10) custom Omnibox 15" 2-way speakers, (12) X-Array XCB subwoofers, (3) Crown amplifiers, (1) QSC Powerlight amplifier, EAW DX810e digital sound processor, Klarl Teknik DN360 EQ, DBX 166XL compressors, and Yamaha 32 channel mixer.  Event and Tent lighting services consisted of (11) Technobeams, (8) Spot 250's, (8) color changers, (176) Pars, (8) Lekos, (4) black lights, (2) hazors, (2) foggers and 550 feet of truss.

"It was great to be a part of this event, it gave us the opportunity to showcase almost all of our capabilities all at one venue.  We transformed the Studio 7000 main event Clearspan 99' x 132' tent into a state-of-art night club, which enabled Karl's to take advantage of all aspects of the sound, lighting and video equipment.  Smooth cooperation and communication between Karl's event staff and our team ensured the event ran flawlessly. United Visual also assisted in creating a high end Martini Lounge in the area of the Karl's warehouse normally used to hang, power wash and dry their massive tent fabrics.  The lounge had truss and lighting overhead and a 10' x 14' rear projection screen used simply to create a warm and inviting lounge atmosphere.  In addition, we captured and edited live video from the event and displayed the video throughout the event on the various screens.  United Visual is committed to making every event professionally seen and heard - without our staff being seen or heard," said United Visual Rental Director, Mike Ferraro.

For further information on United Visual Rentals & Staging visit or call toll free 1-800-680-4221.


2. Sonic Foundry Adds Modularity to Mediasite Line

The Mediasite product from Sonic Foundry has been around a couple of years now.  It's a popular all-in-one, turnkey system for capturing and serving rich media presentations for instant broadcast or for on-demand replay over the Internet.

The company made a good move recently with the new Mediasite RL400 system, which takes a more modular approach to building a Mediasite system.

The Mediasite RL400 can be used as a stand-alone product to capture and replay presentations and burn them to CD right away.  But you can also add a Mediasite Server at any time, which will enable live broadcasting, content management and Web publishing.

As with the Mediasite system, Mediasite RL400 captures analog and digital content at the same time and the content is ready for distribution without no post-production work necessary.


3. Sony Announces Low-End LCD Projector - Not Quite Sub-$1000

Sony will be shipping a new LCD projector specified at 1,500 ANSI lumens and selling for only $1,100.  The SuperLite VPL-ES2 weighs just over 6 pounds and has automatic adjustment of lens, tilt, input search and keystone with one-button operation.  It has component video input and six video modes for connecting different inputs.

The VPL-ES2 has Sony's "off and go" feature.  This is nice - you can turn the projector off and pack it up right away since the fan will continue to run after the power is turned off.


4. Chief Mounts to Provide NAV-1 Lens Support

Chief Manufacturing introduced its NAV-1 Lens Support.  The company says the NAV-1 is designed to quickly adapt Navitar's ScreenStar Conversion Lens to any Chief RPA projector mount.

The Navitar projector lens accessory lets the user change the picture size for most DLP or LCD projectors.  With the addition of the NAV-1 Lens Support, users are provided enough adjustments to accommodate different projector sizes and lens placement.  The NAV-1 allows users to pitch the lens down 20 degrees and up 10 degrees; laterally shift the lens 6.25 inches; and adjust the height 3.5 inches on the front of the lens plate.


5. SMART Adds New Quiz Options to SynchronEyes

SMART added two new functions to its SynchronEyes software.  The software lets teachers control every computer in the network with features such as observe, control, broadcast, lock, a quiz editor, class voting tools and real-time viewing and control over individual workstations.

The software lets teachers create quizzes with diagrams and images in a variety of question formats, such as multiple choice, short answer, ordering, matching and essay-style questions in any mix.  It then automatically distributes, collects and marks quizzes.  It also gives the teacher customized marking for tailoring the grading.

With this upgrade, the software now lets the teacher randomize quiz questions and answers for individual students to better assess their understanding.  Quiz results can now be exported to Excel spreadsheets.  Also new is that The Quiz Wizard now also supports rich text editing such as bold, italic and underline.

Version 5.1 is available in six languages - English, French, Dutch, German, Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese.


6. Panasonic Introduces 65" Plasma Among New Models

Panasonic introduced five new plasma displays for commercial applications, including a 37", two 42" models, a 50" and a 65".  The five Professional Series models are specified at 4000:1 contrast on the SD models and 3000:1 on HD models.  Resolution ranges from 852 x 480 to 1366 x 768.

Panasonic lists all kinds of image enhancers, such as a Real Black Drive System, Deep Black Filter, Super Real Gamma System, Adaptive Automatic Gain Control, and more.  They have built-in video wall processors for up to 4 x 4 multi-screen configurations.

All five new models are now available; please contact your United Visual representative for current pricing.


7. Crestron Shipping FlipTop for MediaManager

Crestron has a new flush-mount tabletop interface and control system designed to be the front end for its MediaManager presentation system.  Inside the fliptop design are composite and S-video inputs, stereo audio inputs and it comes with a pull-out RGB/audio cable assembly.  This assembly attaches to inputs hidden under the table and you can stash it inside the FlipTop compartment when not in use.

Excess cable drops out-of-sight below the box through grommeted holes provided in the bottom plate.


8. Yet Another Display Technology

Canon and Toshiba have teamed up to form a new company, SED Inc., which will develop, produce and market Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display (SED) technology.  This is a flat-panel technology that uses the collision of electrons with a phosphor-coated screen to emit light.  The companies say advantages include high brightness and definition, overall image quality, fast video response, high contrast, high gradation levels, and low power consumption.

Canon has been working on the technology since 1986 and first teamed with Toshiba in 1999 for further development.  Production of the large-screen SED panels is expected to begin next year.


9. Perusing Display Panels - Part 2

Last issue, we looked at CRT, LCD, plasma and DLP display panels.  This issue, we take a look at some of the emerging technologies that some believe will allow better images at lower costs.  Usually, however, certain display technologies simply have their strengths, such as good viewing in bright light (or better images in low light), wider viewing angles, higher resolution when the details are necessary and the best images for the display size.  We'll take a look at your application and help determine which is best for your message.

Here, now, a look at LCoS, OLED, PolyLED, and NED.


Under development for some time but also new to the market are liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) displays.  These use liquid crystal as do LCDs.  In the case of LCoS, the liquid crystal layer sits on a pixilated, highly reflective substrate.  Under the substrate is a layer of electronics that activate the pixels.

There are 50-inch LCoS televisions on the market, so they are providing nice sizes.  Some are less than 12 inches deep, too.  What to watch:  Intel plans to get behind its own LCoS chip and will be pushing those in a big way in the coming year.

One of the big pluses that LCoS supporters cheer about is the lack of moving parts in the technology, thereby eliminating mechanical failures in the display infrastructure.  They can also be made with smaller pixels, therefore, higher resolution.  And it might be less expensive than plasma and LCD.

D-ILA is JVC's variation on LCoS and the company currently offers TVs up to 61 inches.


OLED uses layers of film placed between two conductors and electrical currents create red, blue, green and white lights. Voltage is applied to an OLED cell and the injected positive and negative charges interact in the emissive layer, which creates and emits the light.

OLED displays are extremely thin - paper thin - so that has many people excited.  One current use, for example, is the outside displays of the latest cell phones, indicating time, date, battery life and new messages.

Most believe that OLED displays could reach the size of a typical computer monitor, but not larger.  There is, however, a suggestion that this paper-thin display could be mounted onto larger panels and create video walls.  Head-wearable displays are also a target market as are roll-up screens.  Yes, there will, indeed, be screens you can roll up like a movie poster.


A variation on OLED is the PolyLED, a polymer-based OLED.  Believe it or not, they're created in a inkjet printing process, on paper.  So far, it's just in prototype phase but this technology could be available within five years.

The quality is apparently excellent with wide viewing angle, fast response time well-suited to video, good black level and contrast.  No backlight is required so it will be thin, less than a pane of glass.

There was also talk of using this process to print the displays on paper.


Another future technology is Nano-Emissive Display (NED).  NED displays are expected to have a simpler production process compared to LCDs and plasmas so the cost for a large display would be considerably less, yet better.

This technology uses carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, which are tubes of carbon atoms less than a billionth of a meter in diameter.  The progress that Motorola has made is in being able to place CNTs directly on a substrate while controlling their spacing, size, and length. That is what gives the high quality image, brightness, color purity and resolution for potential flat panel display manufacturing.

The sheer amount of different display technologies is daunting, we know.  But it's all good news since these technologies and their continuous improvements are better than anything we've ever seen before. None are bad and each have their strengths.  When you're ready to add or upgrade, we'll be glad to help you find the best solution for your application.


10. Is it Time for an Audio Make-Over?

Your audiences appear restless or distracted.  They squint or have a strained expression on their faces.  The bold ones ask you to "Repeat that, please?", while others look just plain bored.

What's going on here?  Have you lost your edge as a presenter, trainer, salesperson, teacher, clergy or group leader?  While that's possible, it's not likely.  For any number of reasons you haven't considered or even noticed, you are in need of an audio make-over.

Acoustics is the science of sound, including how it is produced, transmitted and its effect on listeners.  The acoustics of any room will be determined by the totality of all the contributing factors that determine its character with respect to the perception of sound.  With that in mind, your audio system may be in need of alteration or upgrade depending upon changes in usage and/or changes to the environment that have taken place since it was first installed.

The goal here is not to "get scientific", but to call your attention to what may be interfering with the best delivery of your or your organization's "spoken word" and ways you can identify and improve the situation.

Hello Out There

Regardless of the size of your presentation room or space, you need to achieve two objectives with your audio system:  1) Natural sound, and 2) Intelligible sound. "Natural sound" means that the audio system reproduces the speaker's voice in an amplified manner with the same tonal quality of the unamplified voice.

Ron Huisinga, audio specialist and faculty member of the Internet Sound Institute, recommends performing the following test:  Turn off your system, and have someone read aloud for a full minute, while you stand eight feet away.  Listen carefully to the "imprint" of their voice in your head.  Now turn the system on.  Move to the back of the room, and have them continue reading.  Do you hear the same voice tone and quality?  Does it appear to be coming from the speaker?  Can you understand the person without straining?

Intelligible sound is vital for clear communication, particularly when making key points or issuing instructions.  You can adapt this next test (found in the American Standard Method for Measurement of Monosyllabic Word Intelligibility) to include words from your own business or industry jargon:
Place several listeners in various locations around your room - front, rear, sides.  Turn on the sound system and have someone with a good, clear voice speak into the microphone.  Have this person give the "audience" a list of short, one-syllable words to write down, one at a time.  The list should contain at least 25 words and include all vowel and consonant sounds.  The speaker may only say the word once, and not use it in a sentence.  Examples for the list might include: "feast," "rag," "moose," "blush," "perk," "hire," "tow," grove," "quart," "them," "not," "such," "bud" - you get the idea.

Review the results of each listener's test (spelling doesn't count), to determine if the intelligibility is equal in all parts of the room.  Scores with more than 15% errors indicate problems.

Obstacles to Optimum Sound

The reasons you may need an audio make-over are many.  Impediments to the best sound may have developed from a variety of causes.

  • Background Noise - Changes in a building's mechanical systems could conceivably turn your presentation haven into an aural nightmare.  New ventilation systems with only a filter or grille to separate your room from their fans and compressors may not provide the sound isolation you require.  The same applies to re-location or replacement of air conditioning units, and any vibration that may have accompanied it.

  • Interior Acoustics - Have the shape, size, materials, or "average" number of bodies in the room undergone any recent, major change?  Changes in fabrics, ceiling height, additional seating, new carpets, drapes, or wall angles and surfaces could be affecting your sound quality.  Consequences can be changes in reverberation, sound absorption, and adverse affects on speech intelligibility.

  • Noise Transmission - This refers to "airborne" transfer of noise through floors, walls, ceilings, and windows.  Examples would be footsteps from an adjacent corridor, music or equipment noises from next door, traffic or aircraft noises from the street below and sky above.  Ask yourself if the rooms or areas near your presentation room have changed in their usage or function, creating unwanted disturbances or sounds.  Have traffic patterns changed outside?  Was the space above converted into an employee cafeteria?  Has a busy mini-mall opened across the street?
Perform this test: On two random days of the week, go and sit in your empty presentation room/space at two different times of the day.  Stay there for five minutes.  Take a notebook, and just sit down and listen.  Focus your attention on what you hear, and from what direction it's coming.  Write down the sounds that you notice and any conclusions you can draw regarding their source.

It's Better in Here

An audio make-over needn't be complicated or expensive.  It might just involve a repositioning of speakers or a more powerful amplifier to increase the power of your applied signal.  Maybe new speakers, a higher-quality microphone or a simple re-arrangement of seating can do the trick.  But don't rule out the possibility that drastic changes in the environment surrounding your space (or its application) might entail the relocation of your AV installation.

The bottom line is, perform these simple tests with your own needs, usage and plans for the future in mind.  Then call us for analysis, suggestions, solutions and costs.  Whether your audio system is simple or highly complex, you shouldn't take it - and your audience's ease of comprehension - for granted.


11. Small Wonders

Little things mean a lot.  And with the proliferation of gadgetry in today's market, it's hard to sort out the innovative from the redundant, the fads from the truly functional.

Users and/or decision-makers regarding pro AV equipment may find themselves operating with several mindsets:  1) Taking current hardware for granted and resisting change, 2) In a steady state of anxiety to stay on top of the latest developments, or 3) Remaining alert to new products and technologies, with an eye on how they might assist the core mission of their organization.

Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, the fact is that not every change or every purchase needs to be a major one. Regardless if you're responsible for a large AV presentation facility or travel to a range of presentation venues, there are "small" items you might not know about (or have overlooked) and even key questions to ask of AV technicians that can enhance your ability to connect with audiences.  It's all aimed at helping your message stick in the minds of customers, congregations, students, staff or salespeople.

Sound and Simple

Consider the lowly microphone.  Then consider its various forms.  Some podium mics are designed to pick up sound from the entire area around the podium, while others are very directional - requiring the speaker to remain "right there." Others are even voice-activated.

If you don't know "what you're using," the audience could lose your audio at a key moment in your presentation.  Potential solutions are a wireless mic you can carry with you, or a wireless lapel mic if you need both hands free as you move around the room or stage.  And don't forget the availability of wireless mics for audience members who may have questions during or following the presentation.  There's nothing more frustrating, or a faster way to lose involvement than to hear the answer to an "unheard" question.

Depending on the size and composition of your audience, bear in mind that many venues maintain a transmitter and antenna that provide audio to the hearing impaired with special ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant receivers.  If this application is important to you, whether at home base or on the road, make sure the engineers know about it, or take steps to acquire the hardware for in-house purposes.

Take stock of these relatively "small" items in your organization's or your personal AV inventory.  Filling in any gaps here and there can create more flexibility and freedom for presentations of all types, in a variety of locations.

Easy on the Eye, Easy on the Budget

The most obvious "little things" that can make a big difference in the visual success of a presentation are the usage of laser pointers, remotes, walkie-talkies, whiteboards and TelePrompters.  These devices, when used appropriately, can aid the execution of smoother, more professional presentations, regardless of the sophistication level of the major "installed" components.

Remotes and laser pointers (inexpensive to buy and often available from AV departments through hotels and conference facilities), free the speaker to both control and highlight aspects of the presentation from nearly any location in the room.  Discreet walkie-talkies permit communication with the AV control room for ad hoc and spontaneous changes to the prepared running order of information or content.  You can buy and carry your own or pose the question when arriving at a venue.

And if only a small portion of your presentation involves use of a screen, a remote or a walkie-talkie will allow you or a technician to power the screen out of the way when you're not using it - thus avoiding glare or reflection out to the audience once the house and podium lights are back up to full.

Consider projecting a PowerPoint presentation on a whiteboard instead of a screen.  While this may not always be practical from the standpoint of glare, it affords a "fun" opportunity to scribble audience feedback, comments, and notes directly "on" the presentation, and even cross out content they challenge or disagree with, creating instant interactivity.

And in the spirit of nostalgia for the tried-and-true, the venerable TelePrompter continues to well serve in-house, guest, and traveling speakers - no matter if they are experienced, novice, or just short on rehearsal time.  If it serves a true purpose, explore adding one to your installation, and always ask if one is available when you're trying out a new presentation in a new location.


You don't always have to aspire to the newest, latest, most versatile equipment to get the job done, to make the biggest impact.  True effectiveness of communication is usually just the "marriage" between good content and a good delivery system.  The more you know about the fine points of both, the more successful you'll be.

The "little things" are neither too small to be beneath consideration, nor luxuries to be dismissed as beyond reach.  Sometimes they might be just the ticket to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Tell us what you do, what you've got, how it works, and what seems to be missing.

Maybe we'll have a few little answers that can make a big difference for you.



The A/V Insider is brought to you by:

United Visual, Inc
1050 Spring Lake Drive
Itasca, IL 60143
[email protected]

For information on any solution or product presented in the A/V Insider please call 800-985-9375 and ask to speak to your account representative.

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