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Tech Talk wih Bob Cherney

Posted on June 19, 2006

By Bob Cherny

Sometimes we should listen more and talk less.

When David McCann asked me to contribute a week to the MiGurus, he asked me to write on tech issues. This would seem reasonable since I work for a tech company. However, I said that I would rather write on resources for meeting planners. My thinking was that most planners' eyes glaze over when we even mention tech. If I wanted y'all to pay attention, I had to present something other than tech. Is everyone still awake out there on the Ether-net?

He was right, sort of, and I was right, sort of. As I researched this contribution, I realized that there is a need for tech support education, but having me write long winded technical explanations on the subtler points of electronic gadgetry would put y'all to sleep faster than an anti-airsickness pill. I promise this will be more exciting than reading a B E O. (Although there are those B E O's that . . . well, never mind.)

Those of you who have known me for a while know that I often take a dim view of the highly paid "professionals" who offer "advice" that should be common sense. One such inspired professional team came up with the startling conclusion that service level matters. They spent an entire day with presentations heavily documented with charts and graphs and pictures "with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was" elucidating the basis for this revelation. They pronounced that if the company made it easier to buy the company's products, more people would buy more of them. Brilliant, positively brilliant, don't you think? I think what amazed me more than the outrageous sum they were paid to come to this enlightened conclusion was the fact that the company in question ignored their advice.

With the advent of the World Wide Web and the incredible speed with which it has gained acceptance by the general public, there are many companies that have heeded the advice given to this other company and used it to make buying their products easier. Even more exiting is that they have made using their products correctly easier as well. Product documentation on the Web available before purchase is frequently better than the documentation provided in the box with the item after purchase.

So here is the guiding principle for my contributions. Are you ready? It's simple and I have said it in public before. Listen to your vendors. Not only should you listen to your vendors, but you should listen to their vendors.

That's it. That seems to be a tough concept, though. Let's see if we can't break down a few walls. Listen to your vendors because if you are successful they are successful. So, let's get specific about vendors.

One of the questions that frequently pops up has to do with projection. There seems to be general confusion over screen types and sizes for audiences of different demographics. If your meetings are for twenty people seated around a boardroom table who are making critical decisions about the life or death of your company and you are projecting to one of these 3' X 4' wall mount screen units that has two flipcharts on its wings, you really don't need much for projection. Let me go out on a limb here and state that if you are in a conference center that conforms to the IACC standards, you should not worry about projection at all. Let the in-house people do it. You have far more important things to worry about than video projection. For other locations, you can go to your regular office supply store and buy whatever projector they have on the shelf. Anything in the 1.2k to 2k lumen range will work fine. By the time the airline loses it along with your baggage, you will be ready for a new one anyway. They are pretty much disposable units.

Once you start looking at screens larger than you are tall, projection matters a great deal. The quality of the projection has a tremendous impact on the clarity of the ideas being communicated. Da-Lite makes projection screens. There are other manufacturers but we'll pick on them for now. Odds are, as a meeting planner you have never heard of Da-Lite, but your AV supplier knows who they are in a big way. Da-Lite has a web site like everyone else these days.


Pretty straight forward. However, on this web site they have a series of educational articles that were intended for public consumption.


The Angles of View articles were written between 1995 and 2001. In my opinion, the best ones for meeting planners to read are the ones written that first year. The articles are reasonably well written and clearly explain the concepts.

Industrial giant 3 M has a screen size calculator. It is focused toward their projectors, but that is a minor inconvenience.

http://www.3m.com/us/office/meetings/product_catalog/mmp_screen/7630_calc.jhtml It is worth checking out.

One of the things that struck me while doing this research is how well written some of the sites are and how badly some others are. We'll stick to the good ones.

InFocus also makes projectors and they have a calculator.
http://www.infocus.com/service/software/projcalc.asp?site_lang=1&site_region=1& that you might like to look at.

These sites talk about projector brightness and screen size and these are important concepts. There is another issue that is floating around having to do with the technology the projector uses to create the picture. In a movie theatre that still uses film there is a bright light that shines through a moving piece of substrate on which is printed a picture. In a typical 35mm film, that image is an inch or so across. The light passes through the film and heats it up. The only reason the film does not burn is that it is moving so fast. An LCD projector works much the same way in that the light passes through the source of the image. DLP, however, takes a different approach. Texas Instruments makes DLP chips.

http://www.dlp.com/dlp_technology/dlp_technology_overview.asp is a great place to start learning how these teeny tiny pieces of electronics produce such wonderful pictures.

Of course, not everyone is enamored with these little chips.

http://www.sanyo.com/business/projectors/newsletters.cfm?showFileID=288 has Sanyo's response to the D L P folks. Sanyo makes L C D projectors. The articles are relatively technical, but most non-technical folks should be able to understand them. Start with the oldest and work toward the newest.

http://www.sanyo.com/calc/index.cfm?FuseAction=home.disclaimer is Sanyo's projector calculator.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/lcd_dlp_update.htm is another good place to start. Remember that when they refer to the "Rainbow Effect" they are talking about light and not politics.

http://www.presentations.com/presentations/search/search_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1790454 has a slightly different take on the issue.

http://www.digitalprojection.com/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,56/Itemid,63/ is a screen brightness calculator for the geekier folks among us.

If you are interested in some fairly spectacular uses of video, you might wish to visit Folsom's web site. They make switchers and processing gear. http://video.folsom.com/gallery/?gallerylist=1090965774_30029 .

If you would like a peek into the future of audio visual as it is being installed in homes and offices right now, Destiny Networks site can be fascinating reading.

http://www.destinynetworks.com/ for a look at how in a very few years, given enough band width, the projector in your meeting can be driven from your office.

So, we have looked at resources and tech together. These people all have a vested interest in making you happy. Take advantage of the resources they offer you for free.

Tomorrow we will look at lists.


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Bob Cherny

The good folks at Epson reminded me that they also have LCD projectors and a web site with resources to check out.


Check it out.


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a lot of editors have started to understand more about alternate options, they will obtained a little cameras, spend some money to hire nearby residents and individuals across the actors within the facilities

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