SpaceCoast AV: Feeding Children Everywhere


20170325_120511SpaceCoast AV Communications spent time this weekend taking part in Feed the Children Everywhere.

This was an incredibly fun way to work with others in our local community and provide prepackaged, vacuum sealed meals for hungry children right here in Brevard. All together all who participated packaged something like 40,000 delicious Red Lentil Jambalaya meals.

Pictured above, SpaceCoast AV President, Chris Lacuesta and Abby, from Acts II ministries in between packaging sessions.

This is an all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan meal ensuring highest levels of nutrition.

Two ways to Identify an “Expert”


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What is an expert? How do you define who an expert is and who is not? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines an expert as, “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced.”

With so many self-proclaimed experts advertising themselves as such, it could save you money and headache understanding exactly what an expert is… or is not. Keeping with our definition above, an expert should be able to show that a particular governing body has recognized a particular expertise. Secondly, many like to use the term specialize or specialization when advertising their services. In the case of “specializations” the question should be are the “experts” certified or do they carry a certification? Why is this important, you might ask? The answer to this question is simply that when someone is representing themselves or their business as a bonafide expert, there is usually a Code of Professional Conduct to which the person or group must adhere.

For example, SpaceCoast AV Communications engineering staff holds a CTS certification…Certified Technology Specialist. Not only that; but our AV technicians are continually expanding their industry and technical knowledge through specialized training on the latest AV equipment through our manufacture and vendor relationships. Infocomm and CEDIA are two of the governing bodies for the Audio Visual Technology Integration Industry. Infocomm defines the CTS certification as one who performs general technology solution tasks by creating, operating and servicing AV solutions, while conducting AV management activities which provide for the best audiovisual resolutions of the client’s needs, both on time and within budget.

So the next time you are faced with an expert, either in AV or any other field, you might want to double check if they are a self-proclaimed expert or an expert in their field that has been recognized by a governing body and if indeed they are specialized in their specializations!

Are You Ready for Some Football–2014 Best TV’s for Sports


We love our sports. We spend thousands of dollars a year supporting our sundry sports passions, be it through ticket sales, jerseys, or regretful bar tabs. Even gambling debts might fall under the category of “sports tax,” depending on your point of view.

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But there’s no doubt that televisions are a vital purchase for any sports fan.

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that a “good-for-sports TV” is generally synonymous with a “good-for-_everything_ TV.” From a picture quality standpoint, the requirements for displaying the best possible football game is all but identical for the best possible Star Wars marathon.

However, some TVs do possess qualities beyond simple processing power that might make them better for sports than others. Let’s take a lap around the field.

Screen Size

The number one consideration for buying a TV, aside from price, is screen size. If you can’t see the puck whipping across the ice, what’s the point? You might as well be listening to the radio

Contrary to popular opinion, there is such a thing as “too big.” At some point you’ll be able to see the individual pixels and the illusion of a smooth, uniform picture will vanish.

There’s an actual formula to calculate the ideal size, but you certainly don’t need to break out a scientific calculator to shop for a TV. The rough estimate is simple:

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That means you can measure the distance from your couch to the TV, then divide by 2.5. There you have it, your ideal screen size. So if you sit 7 feet (84 inches) from your TV, you want a TV with a diagonal screen size of about 2.8 feet, or 34 inches. It’s a very rough calculation, but at least it’s a place to start.

Plasma Vs. LCD and LED

Ah, the old debate. We’ve covered it many times in many forms, but here’s the difference in a nutshell: Plasma TVs tend to run a little larger in screen size (50 inches and up). They have a wider viewing angle, which makes them good for hosting a party for the Superbowl or NBA finals.

LCD TVs (and LED TVs by extension), on the other hand, have a wide range of screen sizes (26 inches up to 80+ inches), but the larger screen sizes will probably be more expensive than an equivalently-sized plasma. More importantly, LCD screens can get a lot brighter than plasma, which might make them easier to see in a sunny room.

There’s a heap of misinformation and half-truths about performance differences between plasmas and LCDs, much of it based on outdated information. Suffice it to say that both offer smooth motion and great contrast ratio.

3D TVs

There’s no doubt that 3D TVs are becoming more common, though their actual usage rates are probably not rising commensurately. The problem is that 3D broadcasting is just not up to speed yet. A 3D signal takes up a lot more bandwidth than a regular signal, so cable providers are probably slow to support it widely.

TVs are rapidly becoming more like tablets and smart phones, with lots of apps to satisfy lots of small customer bases. The worst apps try to make the TV something it’s not—like a gaming system or web browser. The best apps play to the strength of the TV as a passive entertainment device. After all, most people just want to lie back on the couch and watch something fun or exciting.

There are lots of apps for sports fans. To date, the best come from the leagues themselves, with MLB.tv as the hands-down winner. With all the complex licensing and broadcast rights, it’s impossible to get an app that offers everything you wantwhenever you want. Most apps, for instance, black out live games in your current location. In Boston, for example, you can’t watch Red Sox games live on MLB.tv.

For scores, stats, news, and clips, there are no shortage of third-party apps including Yahoo, ESPN, Hulu, and many more.

To watch the games themselves, you should always check if your local cable provider offers a sports package. Also, Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, and other set-top boxes may have better packages than your smart TV’s app selection. NFL RedZone and NBA League Pass are currently unavailable as standalone TV apps. However, both are accessible through your computer and mobile devices. We can only hope that as smart TVs become more popular, the leagues will embrace the platform, but they’ve been slow to do so.

The specs that count for a sports TV

Brightness: Many broadcasts occur during daylight hours, so you’ll want a model that’s bright enough to produce a “in-your-face” picture in a room with high ambient light.

High refresh rate: You should also be looking at sets that can display content with fast-paced action without turning the picture into a blurry mess. Plasma models excel at making sports look crisp, while most LCD models with a 120 Hz and higher refresh rate have processing modes to help reduce motion blur.

Large screen size: Finally, you’ll want to watch on a screen that’s sufficiently large—we recommend 55 inches at minimum.

The Winner’s Circle

We’ve taken our own reviews and compiled a Best in Class for Value and Quality comparison which you can get here.  Are You Ready for Some Football!

 

Grow Your Restaurant Business


ENHANCE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ EXPERIENCE

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SpaceCoast AV Communications is committed to the highest standards of customer service in all public settings. To meet the needs of a diverse clientele, we provide state-of-the-art audio visual technology to enhance the visitor’s experience in restaurants, hotels, sports bars and other entertainment and hospitality venues.

We offer cutting-edge audio visual services for a diverse clientele of hospitality providers. These services include:

  • Digital signage and messaging
  • Outdoor sound reinforcement
  • Distribution audio and video
  • Presentation systems
  • Flat-panel displays
  • Surround-Sound
  • Touch-panel control of hospitality amenities
  • Customized wall plates and input panels

Enhance Your Christmas Presentations


As you get ready for your big Christmas production, you’re likely to be faced with several challenging mic’ing situations. Perhaps Imageyou’re using a lot of wireless head-worn mics for actors and need to juggle console channels and manage the packs effectively backstage; maybe you’re bringing in orchestra players or have special effects and want to make sure they sound good; and perhaps you’re recording this-or sending the live stream over the web or to an overflow room-and want to make sure you’re considering those needs in your micro- phone techniques, too, so everything “translates” well. Every one of these situations can be very challenging, each one with a variety of possible solutions-some of them unconventional.

I spoke with a broadcast audio engineer who does many of the largest live television broadcasts. He showed me a clip of a popular Broadway musical, during which one of the actors continues to speak and sing while under running water. There were no mics visible, but he said she was double mic’d. He illustrated where the elements and transmitters were located-hidden in her hair-and how they do the show so much they’ve got that scene down to a science. She actually shampoos her hair (only her head is visible), expertly navigating around the mic elements and trans- mitter packs. I was amazed at how well it worked.

Questions of equipment, and people
We know that getting a mic closer to its source will usually give us better live sound performance, such as better gain-before-feedback and less pickup of nearby sound, but sometimes we don’t have the luxury of putting a mic exactly where we want. That means the actors’ acoustic output is critical-the actors simply must project. Regardless of how you mic them, you need that extra acoustic level as a cushion. If an earset mic slips and they’re not projecting, the scene could be ruined. Even a complete mic failure may not be catastrophic, though, if they’re projecting, as they may be picked up adequately by another actor’s mic, a boundary mic, or be naturally audible in the house.

That leads us to a creative possibility when channel count is low. When actors project, it can sometimes allow two actors to share a mic. For example, in a scene where two actors are sitting at a table talking, one could wear a lavaliere that picks up both. Or you could have a mic hidden on the table. However, this is really only practical if the blocking works out to your advantage. For some or all of the actors, you may also be able to get by with boundary mics located on props or on the floor, although this can be one of the trickiest situations to pull off successfully. It is perhaps more likely that you’ll have a certain number of wireless packs and will move them from person to person backstage between scenes.

The first step in preparing to share mics is determining which actors never share the stage together, and can therefore share packs. Once you’ve done that, document your assignments well. Create a master mic assignment list that is posted in multiple locations. Have it summarized both by mic number and by scene number. Mark up your script (and console) so that you’re thinking about pack numbers, not characters. The more time you spend thinking critically about your script markup, console layout, and mic swap procedures, the better prepared you’ll be to train everyone else and to react effortlessly in the moment.

To get ready to swap mics quickly: 
1.) rehearse the swap procedure a lot with the actors so they’re comfortable with it;
2.) if possible, have enough microphone elements for everyone and just swap the packs themselves;
3.) if that isn’t an option, use elements (such as the Countryman E6/E2) that have removable cables, and swap both the element and the pack, leaving the cable permanently running through the actors’ clothing (this is probably only practical or necessary for particularly difficult costumes). However, with some practice, you can probably do a complete swap of pack and element in 15 seconds. The key is to have a few stagehands backstage to assist, and have a lady present who can assist with female actors and children (perhaps one of the parents). Keep the swap routine exactly the same each time (same stagehand helping the same actors in the same order) to help it become automatic. Also, it is critical to have a reliable form of non-cell phone communication (COM or 2-way radio) between FOH and backstage. Even if you only have to use that COM system once during the whole show to relay a problem or solution, it might save the show.

The choice of element depends on your aesthetic concerns. An earset extending to just behind the corner of the mouth will probably sound the best, but will be the most visually obvious. A shorter earset that stays close to the ear lobe is perhaps the next best thing, use medical tape as necessary to tape the cable and/or element in place. Also, the boom length of an earset is likely to be too long to keep the element just behind the corner of the mouth, so you may need to reshape the boom so it takes a longer path to get there. Beyond mic placement, you have to get the kids to project just like everyone else. At the very least, try to help them overcome their fear of the mics by leaving them unmuted and letting them goof around for a while. They’ll get it out of their system and won’t be as nervous about the mic afterwards.

Creating realistic sound effects is tricky, because what sounds real to us (i.e., what you hear in the movies) is often an elaborate mix of sounds, many (or all) of which often have nothing to do with what you’re seeing. I recommend prerecording effects with enough time in advance to layer, experiment, and mix until they sound convincing. Then, use something like QLab to trigger their playback. The free version is quite powerful and flexible, and includes the ability to layer multiple files; create loops; create fades you can trigger; and automatically run cues based on several criteria. Try it, but make sure to spend some time getting used to it before using it in a show.

Striking a balance for broadcast
Mic’ing with the recording/broadcast/overflow mix in mind can be challenging, too, (I’ll just refer to it as the “broadcast” mix from now on). We know that what sounds good in the house isn’t necessarily going to sound good to someone listening elsewhere, such as on a DVD or on the web. At the very least, the mix needs to be different to sound properly balanced, but we also need audience/ambience mics to get the whole experience and feel connected. We also may need different mic techniques to capture things in a way that sounds more natural for broadcast.

For example, let’s say you’re mic’ing orchestra players up close (to get enough gain-before-feedback for the FOH mix). That may not sound very “big” and “smooth” and realistic for purposes outside the house. For the large televised awards shows, they will often have a separate set of area mics for the orchestra sections just to make sure what you hear on TV is more natural sounding. Most of us don’t have the luxury of mic’ing something two different ways for those two mixes, but you may be able to find a compromise on mic position that works well for both. Or, depending on your stage volume, a stereo pair might do a great job picking up the orchestra for broadcast. In addition, the boundary mics I mentioned earlier may do a great job of picking up the dialogue for broadcast, even if they aren’t usable in the house. That method can give a more “theatrical”, ambient feel to the dialogue.

You may also find it helpful to send a post-fader mix of the actors to the broadcast mixer, since (hopefully) FOH will follow the script and execute the mic cues properly. That will save recording channel/track count and make the broadcast engineer’s life simpler.

Even if you don’t intend to run a separate broadcast mix for your production, you should consider trying to get together a multi-track recording system so you can remix everything later. You’ll never regret having content that you decide not to use, but not having content you want is a real bummer.

Brad Duryea is an audio engineer at Lakewood Church in Houston

ABOUT SPACECOAST AV

From an electrifying state of the art residential installation to top secret government department wide installations, SpaceCoast AV provides you with the ultimate audio, visual and multimedia solution. [ Audio Visual Video Audio Conferencing Video Conferencing Hd Video Conferencing Extron Av Design Soundstructure Vortex Video Conferencing]

Questions? Call us at 321-257-9700 or email us at info@spacecoastav.com

On the 3rd day of an AV Christmas


Welcome back to the 3rd day in our series of the 12 days of an AV Christmas.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me and LCD and Plasma Flat Panel TVs

ImageLCD and Plasma flat panel TVs continue to be hot, hot, hot! Prices have come down significantly this year, with many 42-inch size LCD and Plasma televisions selling well below $999. You may see some extremely attractive door busters on LCD and Plasma sets the day after Thanksgiving.

However, you also see that there are many TVs labeled as “LED TVs” – but don’t get sucked into the hype that makes you think that these are a different type of TV. So-called “LED TVs” are actually LCD TVs that use a type of backlight system powered by LED lamps.

In addition, with the maturing of LCD technology and more efficient production methods, screen size availability of LCD TV, once relegated to below 37-inches, are now quite common in sizes up to 50-inches and larger, with some manufacturers offering 70-inch sets, and Sharp offering 80 an 90-inch LED/LCD TVs. Large screen sizes in the 42-inch and up range was territory once dominated by Plasma televisions, but with the increasing availability of LCD TVs in larger screen sizes, they are dominating store shelves. However, that does not mean that you should not consider a Plasma TV. Plasma TVs generally offer better black level performance and motion response than LCD TV, and come in sizes up to 65-inches (for consumers – professional sizes go up to 150 inches).

Also, just as with Blu-ray Disc players, an increasing number of LCD and Plasma TVs are incorporating Smart TV capabilities, so if you desire this feature on your TV, check to see if the TV you are considering offers it.

Another feature to consider on a TV is 3D. Contrary to what you may have heard, 3D is not “dead”. 3D is now just one of a number of options that are available on many TVs. Also, all 3D TVs can display regular 2D TV images as well. Check out my Complete Guide to Watching 3D at Home for more details.

To complement the 3D TV feature, there are a growing number of 3D Blu-ray Disc movies available (about 230 titles as of September 2013),  some occasional 3D Cable/Satellite TV program feeds, as well as 3D content that can be streamed or downloaded from the internet, such as Vudu and 3DGO!

If you are interested in a 3D TV for the holidays either for yourself or as a gift purchase, definitely keep on the lookout for package deals that may include a TV, Blu-ray Disc player, and/or extra 3D glasses – TVs that use the passive glasses 3D viewing system, as you will see offers anywhere from two to six pairs of glasses included with the TV – and if you need more, they are very inexpensive. The TVs that require active shutter glasses may only include up to two pairs with the TV, and sometimes none are actually included. If you are shopping for a family, definitely watch for the best deal on 3D glasses. Just remember that you cannot use passive glasses with a TV that requires active glasses or vice versa. Check out the details.

For information on what you need to know before you buy an LCD or Plasma TV, whether you opt for a basic TV, Smart TV, or 3D TV, as well as some buying suggestions,you can give us a call at 321-257-9700 or send your questions to us at info@spacecoastav.com

If you need to have your flat panel wall mounted, installed or configured. Give us a call for a free quote. 321-257-9700 or send your request for quote to sales@spacecoastav.com. One of our team members will contact you.