Non-Technical AV Presentation Issues Solved


when-youre-giving-a-presentation-and-you-click-on-the-2895876Have you ever launched full-swing into a great multimedia presentation, only to have the technology fail in the middle of your talk? Have you been left wondering, “Why won’t my video play?” or “Why won’t my file open properly on this computer?” We know we can’t always be there to help, so we’ve developed this guide with our best tips to help you make sure your own presentations go off without a hitch.

You’re prepared for your big presentation, with backups in hand, but what do you do if you encounter problems at setup, and don’t know how to fix them?

The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that everything will work just the way you expect it to. Computers are fickle. Our number one tip is to test all the technology you’ll be using in the venue in the exact configuration you’ll be using it at the event. This “dress rehearsal” will help you find any technical bugs, and will help you feel confident that your event will go as planned. After rehearsing, you can focus on giving a killer presentation and feel confident that all your technology will work as planned.

Here are our top tech tips for presentation problem solving:

Before you leave the office

  • If you are sending your slides ahead by email, bcc your personal email address to make sure the attachment comes through ok.
  • If bringing your slides on a USB disk, use a USB drive that has nothing else on it. You don’t want the AV tech to go through all your personal files looking for the right presentation.
  • Always have a backup copy of your presentation in Dropbox or another cloud storage sites, and/or in your email, just in case your USB drive gets lost or corrupted.
  • Bring your own computer and any adapters you will need in case the conference-provided computer will not work. Make sure you have adapters to VGA, DVI, and HDMI, as different venues may require different connections.
  • If your presentations have audio, verify with conference organizers that an audio connection will be available for your presentation room – often that will not be hooked up unless you ask for it specifically.
  • Avoid relying on online content. If you really need an Internet connection for your presentation, make sure you specifically request it on the presentation computer. Try to bring offline copies of any material you need.
  • If live Web content is critical to your presentation, and you cannot bring an offline backup, bring a mobile hotspot, or a cell phone with tethering enabled, just in case.
  • When you communicate with event organizers, specify if you need Presentation View (with your notes) or if you need a Mirrored desktop. Most computers can be set up either way, but the event’s AV team will need to know in advance to set that up.
  • If you have complex graphs in your presentation, save them as static images (.jpg or .png), in case the presentation computer does not render them correctly.
  • If you are using a Mac to create your PowerPoint slides, make sure you test your slides on a PC before you leave the office. Pay special attention to transitions, graphs and media files. You may not have the option to use a Mac onsite.
  • If you are using Keynote to make your slides, make sure that the organizers know you will need a Mac with that software to give your presentation. Make a backup of your slides as both a PDF and a PPT just in case. Test both on a PC before you arrive.

Dealing with Embedded Media

  • Videos and embedded media are involved in 90% of the presentation problems we deal with at events.
  • Make sure if you create a presentation with video or audio in PowerPoint, that you embed the files into the .pptx file, and don’t just link them to a file on your computer. That said, ALWAYS bring a backup copy of any embedded media, just in case it didn’t embed properly.
  • Make sure you have your video as an external file in more than one format. If it’s a .mov file it will most likely NOT play in PowerPoint on a PC and if it’s .wmv it will NOT play on a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on PowerPoint 2010 or 2011, make sure you have the media in Windows Media format for a PC or Quicktime format for a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365, bring the files in .mp4 format with H.264 encoding for best cross platform compatibility, but make sure to bring backups.
    • Copy the presentation and all its associated media onto the presentation computer – do not run it off a USB drive. If that comes unplugged or your drive fails, your media will not play.

Onsite

  • Load your slides at least two breaks before your talk. Do not expect to plug in your USB drive as you’re being introduced. TEST your presentation when you load your slides into their final destination.
  • If you have embedded media, load the slideshow and all associated media into its final location on the presentation PC before you test it. And once you test it, do not move it to another folder on the computer. The files may become unlinked.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth 10,000 embedded videos. Or something like that…

For AV hardware or integrated solutions contact us at SpaceCoast AV Communications

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Samsung UN65HU8550 UHD TV Reviewed


Setting aside the issue of price for a moment, the Samsung UN65HU8550 is a compelling new UHD4-thumb-225xauto-12676entry in the TV market. It’s got a comprehensive list of features in a flat form factor, and it proved to be very good performer, with the versatility to suit both bright and dark viewing environments, both film and HDTV, equally well. Some minor brightness-uniformity issues, but it will likely deliver the goods for all but the most discerning black-level purists, who are probably looking at Samsung’s F8500 plasma anyhow.

Of course, we must bring price back into consideration. On the one hand, the UN65HU8550’s $3,299 MSRP asking price falls at the low end compared with the other new 65-inch Ultra HD models in the Competition. On the other hand, the Ultra HD resolution gives this TV a premium price tag over comparable 1080p TVs. the UHD resolution makes a big enough difference at this screen size isn’t really inspiring enough to pay more just to get Ultra HD; but then again, what’s the cheaper 1080p alternative in the 2014 line? Samsung was strategic this year in the features it put in each of its high-end TV series, ensuring that there’s no exact, lower-priced 1080p equivalent to the HU8550 Series. The 1080p H7150 Series is flat but lacks local dimming, whereas the 1080p H8000 Series has local dimming but is curved. If you want the best, most home-theater-worthy performance that Samsung has to offer in a flat LED/LCD, the HU8550 Series is the choice for 2014. Last year’s 1080p F8000 Series offers better black-level performance, and right now you can get the 65-incher for $400 less than this TV. That’s close enough in price that it really comes down to what matters most to you: black level or resolution. You make the call.

If Audio is your thing, you might be interested in SpaceCoast AV’s July Specials.

Find  us on Facebook and Twitter too! Or, connect with us at 321.257.9700 and online at www.spacecoastav.com 

 

On the 9th day of an AV Christmas the The iPod, iPhone, and Android Invade Home Theater


The growing popularity of the iPod has given rise to a whole new accessories market, from designer cases to dockable external speakers. However, one of the biggest developments involving the iPod is the growing number of Home Theater Receivers that include either a special connector that will accept an iPod docking station, or a built-in USB port that allows direct connection of an iPod, or other compatible devices, including USB flash drives. This means that you can play your personal music collection right through your big home theater system. If you are an iPod enthusiast, make sure you check out this option when shopping for a home theater receiver.

t700x424In addition to direct connection, some home theater receivers may also offer built-in or add-on Bluetooth capability or Apple Airplay compatibility, which allows wireless access to media content from compatible devices.

Also, as an additional bonus on many newer home theater receivers, you can use an iPhone, iPad, and even Android phones, via downloadable apps, to actually function as a remote control for your home theater and other related devices.

For more information you can give our engineering team a call at 321-257-9700 or send your email to info@spacecoastav.com

Social Media Strategy Critical to Success of Political Campaign


It’s time again to begin thinking about and planning for the 2014 round of elections. This means TV ads, debates, public appearances, pictures of politicians holding children – all part of a typical political campaign. The savvy, modern politician also knows that their social media strategy is critical to the success of their political campaign.

For example, California representative Eric Swalwell made news by being the first-ever congressman to broadcast his vote via Vine, a social media network that has recently outgrown the epithet of “fledgling.” It was a six-second clip of him voting “nay” to the GOP’s attempts to decrease health protection for women. Needless to say, this made him quite popular not just among women, but also among youths and users of the social media technology.

It’s worth pointing out how recognizable Swalwell became simply because he posted some good content in a low-competition area. Only ten Senators currently use a social media app for their campaigns, despite the Senate having released an official statement of approval on using Twitter’s video-sharing app.

Below  are some more tips on using social media effectively in a political campaign:

SMM-PR SOLUTIONS

  • Getting there first. Dear Mr. Swalwell, thanks for the lesson learned!
  • Learn the niche of the network. On Twitter, this means being able to write a short but meaningful message that generates enough interests to get clicks. On Vine, this means capturing something memorable in six seconds. On Facebook, it could mean a bunch of different things depending on the brand and the audience. It’s all about doing what’s right for the medium and the people who use it.
  • Ask questions. People want to feel like their representatives are personable and want to hear what they say. No matter if you’re a brand, an individual, or a political campaign, your audience will be engaged by questions.
  • Stay human. No one wants to feel like their representatives are untouchable gods in the sky – it’s good to have a witty statement here, an update on the politician’s life there. These should not be the majority, however.
  • Recognize your followers. Say a certain political campaign stands behind increasing funds for education. Wouldn’t it be great to ask your followers for children’s hand-written messages and drawings – and then to share them? This kind of move is adaptable to many different platforms. The Internet is no longer a one-way information street. Recognize and learn from your followers.
  • Finally, have great content. It’s been rehashed so many times, but there’s no way around this one. Everyone looking to be successful on social media needs to have the content to back them up. Link to relevant articles and news, post meaningful pictures and videos, and don’t post anything unnecessary  (i.e. “Good night!”).

Special recognition to Author Anqi Cong for this content.

SpaceCoast AV Communications provides the Audio and Visual products, technologies and integrated solutions that bring people together; allowing people to share ideas and thoughts through media rich communications and collaboration solutions. We bring the value of  allowing people and organizations the ability to focus on what they need to do, better, faster and more efficiently.