The Tech Rehearsal

Published April 16, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Now that the lights were set, I was ready to begin the tech rehearsal for the video presentation. There were many reasons for my decision to save the video presentations in several digital formats – one of which resulted from an incident that took place about a week before I left for the trip. I had just switched internet companies at my production studio and shortly afterwards, I began to experience connectivity issues with my laptop. As it is only used as a backup system, due to my heavy production schedule, I didn’t have time to troubleshoot or call a technician to help resolve it before I left for L.A. Plus, because I made the assumption that the issue resulted from switching cable companies, I believed (hoped, rather) that once I arrived at the facility, I could tap into their wireless system without a problem. What that meant, however, was that if my laptop was used for the show, and the problem was not a wireless connectivity issue, it would hinder my ability to connect to the internet during the event, should the other platforms fail. In other words, if I needed to access the videos via YouTube with my laptop, there was a good possibility that I would again run into connectivity problems.

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The hotel staff did not provide detailed information about the audio/video (A/V) hardware that would be available to us, so I was focused on preparing for it as best as I could without it. In addition to publishing them on the YouTube platform, I saved the videos on a flash drive and also produced DVD versions. Furthermore, the files were formatted to work on electronic devices driven by the Windows or MAC platforms. My strategic management plan was to ensure the most successful outcome, so for added security, the video files were produced and tested in both formats (Windows and QuickTime files). This strategy also served to provide a sense of confidence from knowing that there were sufficient backup systems implemented should one fail.

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The A/V staff member that worked with me during the program suggested that the easiest most effective method for the presentation was to connect my laptop to their system. Although I did not anticipate using my own equipment, it was a decision I could live with because I was familiar with the operational and functioning processes, plus, I was prepared.  I could now decide which format to implement and test out first. I chose the system that contained all the videos in one place:  the flash drive. The DVDs were formatted so that each video presentation was on a separate disc. Initially, when I burned the DVDs I did so as complimentary gift for the AHC and for the honorees. I had not planned on using them for the event as my first choice for playback, and in truth, they were only considered as a final resort backup system because I believed the flash drive would be the more convenient method. Plus, I had each file saved on the laptop. In other words, I only considered their use for the presentation as a last resort. In fact, I did not bring any of them down to the tech rehearsal because my plan was to play the files directly from the flash drive.

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I inserted the flash drive and began the first video so I could set sound levels and the technician could center and fit the image on the widescreen projectors. Within a few minutes I noticed that the audio was not in synch with video. How on earth did that happen? I closed out of that file and began the next video file and noticed the same thing! What the … how the … I was speechless! I played the third video and the same thing happened. This was beyond bizarre, this was surreal! Then I tested the videos on the laptop and they TOO had audio synchronicity problems. Plus, now that we were committed to using my laptop, guess what else I discovered? I still was unable to connect to the internet – even using the hotel’s wireless system! Shock and panic started to creep in. This meant that two of the systems (flash drive and laptop files) I planned to use were inoperable as was my ability to resort to YouTube where they were also available on high definition. I had but one option left: I had to resort to the DVD platform. So I ran back up to the hotel room, grabbed the DVDs, and prayed this final system would work (gulp) … but you’ll have to come back to check out Friday’s post to find out whether I was successful or whether after investing many hours of hard work and planning it was what my daughter would refer to as an “epic fail!”

Until then … stay tuned and keep organized!

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“Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.”  — Stephen Covey

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