Monday, September 29, 2014

Wireless Video: Does it work?

Does wireless video really work?
Well, sort of.

"Wireless Connectivity" is a big buzz word in the AV industry these days. Imagine if you didn’t have to buy cable (good cable can often cost around $3 per foot) or run cable (so many times it's exposed and ugly) to get the signal from your computer to a projector. Sound tempting?  Here are the options:

  1. Many manufacturers offer a Wireless LAN receiver (or a slot for an external) on their projectors. It's often a free or low-cost feature and usually has a range of about 100 ft.  The technology works just fine for a simple corporate or education presentation, but won't work well in a church or worship environment because of the lag delay (imagine trying to advance to the tempo of a song). Additionally, it isn't as high quality (doesn’t look as good as a wired signal), and there are more limitations (okay for static images but won't work well at all with full motion video or motion backgrounds).

  1. Hitachi makes an external  wireless transmitter/receiver (MS1-WL). The picture quality is excellent. It has a perfect range of 75 ft. There is absolutely no delay whatsoever with static images or mull motion 1080 video. Sounds great doesn’t it? There is a catch: it's pretty expensive (MSRP = $2095). 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recording Your Church Service

Video recording your service with just 1 camera?
No one is watching, and here's why:

I often have a customer tell me that someone donated an old camcorder and the tech guys installed it on a tripod in the balcony so the church could record and/or stream their worship service. If this describes your situation, I dare you -- no, I double dog dare you -- to get online, find another church recording their service with just one camera, and see how long you can suffer through the broadcast. I'm guessing it won't be long. Here’s why:

  • Using multiple cameras is more common.
Nothing you watch on professional production TV is shot with one camera. Even something simple like the Late Show With David Letterman uses at least 4 cameras, while an NFL broadcast can use over 60 cameras.

  • Using multiple cameras is less stressful on the viewer.
                Our brains think in 3D, not a flat dimension like on a TV screen. When we watch a broadcast our brains are taking in all the different    
                angles and perspectives to “stitch” together what the room really looks like. If you are shooting your service with just one camera, you 
                are not giving your screen audience the different angles and perspectives their brains are longing for. Consequently, it's stressful and 
                boring for the viewer.

  • Using multiple cameras gives you an out.

Unless you are marking a box on the stage and demanding that your pastor not step out of it (this will never work, by the way), you are inevitably going to end up with a surprise step out of frame. Having multiple cameras lets you cut to a wider shot and not broadcast 5 seconds of an empty stage. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

How long should a projector bulb last?

If you read a spec sheet, most brands claim their bulbs have an average life of 2000 hours. Ever wonder why your bulbs never last that long?

The average life span assumes the projector is being used in a dust-free / climate controlled environment (yours isn’t) and is turned on once, never turned off, and running in a 24/7 application for 2000 hours (again, yours isn’t used this way).

Bottom line, you can usually count on getting about 1000 hours of life from your projector bulb.

Check your actual hours (your mathematic guestimate doesn’t usually work) in the menu of your unit. Don’t go into Easter week without a spare if you are at that 1000 hour mark.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When a Bulb is not a Bulb

Shopping for a projector replacement bulb?  Here are your options:

1.     Original manufacturer bulb in original manufacturer housing.
·       Meets original spec
·       Longest Lasting
·       Brightest

·       Most expensive (most around $500)

2.     Original manufacturer bulb in after-market housing.
·       Less expensive
·       Longest Lasting
·       Brightest

·       Will VOID your projector warranty
·       Can damage (yes, permanently damage beyond repair) your projector

3.     After-market bulb in after-market housing.
·       Cheapest solution

·       Will VOID your projector warranty
·       Can damage (yes, permanently damage beyond repair) your projector
·       Doesn’t last as long or burn as bright