As you can see in these pictures, we use a combination of labels and color-coded heat shrink to identify each cable and what connection they have. Check through your list and make sure each is connected where it is supposed to be.
Labeling along with good documentation, like you can see here can help you trace a cable in seconds instead of minutes or hours!
One of the biggest things we like to push at Lambda Audio Visual is using your equipment to its fullest. Almost every piece of equipment we work with and sell is positioned not only fill your needs but to grow with you. Our tech tip this week is non-other than the equipment user Manual!
We affectionately speak of this amazing tool on our crews as our most important and knowledgeable crew member ‘El Manuel’ (of course we say it with an accent). “Have you checked with Manuel”, is a common day to day saying for us. This is because while our training's do a great job of getting teams started and helping to solve problems, it’s only when you dig in to what the manufacturer has designed the equipment for that you can fully understand it.
So, you’re interested now, and you want to try our idea, but you threw away the box your equipment came in along with that precious little book of knowledge. Never fear, the internet is a treasure trove of manuals and information. Some of our favorites are
Black Magic Support with a constantly updated user manuals for all their products. We also love the Youtube resources for Obsidian control systems, formerly known as Martin Lighting. They have an expansive tutorial set online showing step by step how to become an expert with their products Obsidian Control Systems - YouTube. Yet another incredible catalog of resources is from Boxcast. The have a library of support and tutorials to help you troubleshoot in minutes.
Join us in educating yourselves on the products you own so you can use it to its fullest capability!
One of the things we get asked about a lot is how to get a Pro Presenter to output 2 different things at the same time. We love Pro Presenter, but the simple answer is…it can’t…unless you get tricky. This is where the multi display controllers enter the scene!
These devices have been used for years to display content across projector blends or multiple screens. The most common devices used were the triple ead 2 Go and the more robust Datapath 4. There was a trend, especially in church worship spaces, around 5-7 years ago to display ultra-wide content and use multiple projectors to display on a single very wide screen or 3 screens to fill up blank wall and create a more engaging stage. This trend has mostly disappeared, but the idea behind it, we can repurpose!
Notice in the pictures we setup Pro Presenter to display an ultra-wide screen with half showing full screen lyrics and half showing a Lower Third. These two sources are then fed into a video switcher and sent to the destinations they need to be at. Just like that you have the content you need for an in-room venue and a streaming venue being generated from a single operator and at the same time. Looking for other time and volunteer saving ways of utilizing equipment? Drop us a line and see if we can leverage some equipment to do the work for you!
My #Anker charger is one of my favorite finds. With frequent stays in hotel rooms, VRBO's and just hanging around different conference halls and venues, I need a way to charge all my day to day stuff with ease. The#ANKER charger allows me to plug my phone, my watch and all kinds of other stuff in at the same time on a bedside table or desk and have one small plug that can plug into any outlet i run into. This brings me to some of the devices I love that charge via USB. This year at Christmas my wife bought a USB rechargeable flashlight for me; it's amazing. I am always needing flashlights while looking through AV systems and though I have owned several, they never got used more than my phone flashlight because the batteries were always dead. The USB on this flashlight allows me to top off the charge the night before I go and use it for at least a few days before I simply plug it back in.
A few weeks back we talked about the “Lambda process” for turning your dreams of a new audio, video or lighting system into a reality. Part of that process is all about the gear testing that happens before the equipment ever gets to your location. After the gear has been ordered and has arrived in our shop, we set up all the equipment and each component in the shop just as it will be for the install. This ensures that when we arrive for the install, there aren’t any surprises and there won’t be “that one missing part.” Plus, we have an assurance that each piece of the gear we install will work for you leaving no questions of whether your new parts are faulty.
Nothing can be more frustrating than when you have a piece of gear and it doesn’t seem to be working properly, or even working at all! Here at Lambda AV one of our goals is to not just to help get your current system up and running, or even to replace the gear you already have. It’s to help you to know your system to the best of your ability! Often when you encounter problems in an audio, video or lighting system it can be daunting to try and diagnose where the issue is actually coming from. Often a quick check of signal flow and making sure all the cables are plugged in correctly can save you a lot of time and frustration! There are multiple different ways to go about checking your signal flow. I personally like to start at one end of the system and begin verifying each piece of equipment and cable is working correctly. A piece of gear like this Elite Core Cable Tester, can help you verify that all the cables are working properly. If something like testing gear feels a bit overwhelming to you, not to worry! We would love to schedule a time to do a training on your specific system and gear to help you get to know it better and know the best way to diagnose when equipment isn’t working right! From there, you will be better informed to make the decision to fix something or to plan for a replacement. If you have any questions about what our training's look like, you can check out our Article Here or contact us anytime!
Once you get your design finished it might feel like everything else will go quickly and you’ll have your new equipment in a matter of a few weeks, but, sadly, nothing is ever quite that simple. Even approving a simple replacement part has a whole process behind it. So, today’s tech tip is about timing your AV equipment orders to make sure you’ll get what you need when you need it.
Let me give you a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes here at Lambda!
Right: Looking so professional as we work on an order.
Once you approve your design and equipment order, we begin to put together part lists for each of our amazing distributors. Once the Purchase Orders are created, they
are sent to the vendors who check on each item for availability, processing time and if anything is back ordered. Once the order is processed, it is finally sent for shipment.
As soon as we receive all the items for your order we open and test each one to ensure we are installing quality products in your building! We want only the best for you! Once we know we have everything, that it is all working, we order the cabling, structuring and any special tools needed to install it all for you.
So, ordering equipment can be a big process and though we do our best to keep timing short for you, items can be back ordered or damaged in the mail or have multiple other problems. Some items are only made upon order, such as speakers, and are finely handcrafted for you and only you! Keeping these things in mind when you place your order will help you to plan ahead about your install and hopefully decrease the stress of wondering when you will receive your new equipment.
You might think it’s silly to place an order three months before you’ll need it, but it’s always better to be ahead rather than trying to rush or force something that might not be possible. So, if you are thinking about doing anything for Easter this year, now would be a great time to plan and talk with us about your ideas. We’ll be able to help you come up with a schedule and if what you are hoping for is possible to achieve in your time frame!
The above picture may just look like colored tape but it is one of our owner’s @ryandrby favorite tools of trade. We call it spike tape. Spike tape is thin strips of Gaffers tape in bright reflective colors.
You might remember Gaffers tape from a previous article we did last year. It's commonly used on stages for taping down cables as it does not leave a residue and tears easily like light fabric. Spike tape is named differently because it is used to “spike” or mark a position or item and stand out rather than blend in like black gaffers tape. It’s especially useful for marking the edges of stairs in dark areas, mic stand positions on stage as well as labeling items like control surfaces and cables. It stands out, is easy to work with and easy to write on with a marker or sharpie.
Pick yourself up some to throw in your kit of day to day tech resources. We love to pick up the multi packs on amazon that come with 4 bright colors from our friends at Tape Ninja!
A few articles ago we talked about HDMI cables and the drawback of only being able to run them 25ft or so. We also talked about how you can use SDI to get HD video signal over a long distance. But that isn’t all we have to tell you! There is a third option for you to consider!
This signal is a new comer on the video scene and is called HDBaseT. This signal was first created in 2010 and can be used for the transmission of ultra-high-definition video, audio, Ethernet, control, USB and even up to 100W of power! All of this is over a single cable! It’s the Mary Poppins of cables!
HDBaseT uses Cat6a cable, but because of all the different functions it can be used for, it uses specialized connectors. These look identical to a standard RJ45 connector but be warned! Because HDBaseT carries power as well, if you plug it into a standard RJ45 jack you can severely damage that piece of equipment! If you are unsure, its always better to ask rather than risk your equipment.
HDBaseT can be run up to 328ft giving far more flexibility in running video signal. This cable is also extreamly convenient in instances when paired with a piece of HDBaseT equipped gear. The PTZ camera, for instance, would usually require up to 3-4 cables for signal, power, and control, but with an HDBaseT connection you only need one! Think about all the money that could be saved by only running one wire connection. Not to mention the amount of time running cable through walls and ceilings. If you have a hard to reach place or a tangle of cables attached to that old equipment, it could be worth your time and money looking for an HDBaseT piece of equipment as a replacement and running one cable instead.
Continueing our series of articles on cableing, this week we are talking about Serial Digital Interface (SDI). SDI is a video signal used to send uncompressed, un-encrypted digital video signals. It can also include embedded audio. SDI signal was first standardized in 1989. Since then the standard SDI signal has upgraded to HD-SDI (1080i/720p), 3G SDI (1080p), 6G SDI (4k @30hz), and 12G SDI (4k @60hz).
The longer distance you are trying to run the signal or the higher the quality signal you are trying to achieve, will require a higher specification of cable and BNC connector. Now, just upgrading the cabling in your system will not necessarily give you a higher SDI signal! An important thing to keep in mind is that to be able to produce a signal such as 12G SDI video, every single component in that system must support that as well! So, you may have the right camera and cable, but if your video switcher can only receive HD-SDI, that will be the highest quality you will be able to use.
We recommend, especially when building a new system or revamping an old system, to make sure the core components, like a switcher or a video router, is at the final desired SDI signal level. Then you can begin to upgrade the components going in and out of the system as your budget allows. If you aren't sure about your system's SDI ability, don't hesitate to ask! That's what we're here for!