Friday, June 27, 2008

Need... Sleep... Can't Stay... Awake

Well, it isn't really that bad.
We got the room around 5:00 pm and there were 4 of us setting up all the audio, Video, Set, and Lighting. Waiting on the hotel to bring in tables so that we could put conference microphones on them and wire the whole thing.
The hotel must have had other priorities, because it was well after 10:30 before they decided to set the room, and that was mostly because we kept asking them to do it.

We finally got done around 1:00 am and the room looked good, sounded good, and felt good. A couple hours of sleep later, the alarms went off around 6:30, I rolled out of bed to get ready for a 7:00 am call. So, now we are sitting in the show, and the presenter is talking about Infestations and Abnormalities. I am not sure that I really want to know what the difference is between Grade 3 and Grade 4 Abnormalities.

I am using a Yamaha O1V96 Digital Mixing Console on this one. Not really my favorite mixer. It is a little clunky to get around on, however, it does seem to sound pretty good.
It is nice to have a visual display of the EQ settings, but that is about the only advantage of using this digital console in the live sound environment. Here is a photo of the mixer.

Yamaha O1V96

Here I am at work.. or something like work...

Steve at work

Horst at the Graphics Position


Thursday, June 26, 2008

AV in Brussels

Surprisingly enough, AV in Brussels feels just like it did in Prague. That is because Horst and Andrea our vendor from Munich arrived yesterday. They are the same vendor that we use all over Europe. They arrived at 7:30 pm last night after an 8 hour drive.
It was so good to see them! We met in the hotel bar called "Le Bar" had some beer and watched the soccer game between Germany and Turkey. This was very important to them and apparently a huge event in Germany. Andrea told us that in Berlin, they set up huge projection screens outside and 100,000 people show up to watch the game, as well as another 60,000 in Munich and so on and so on.

In Le Bar, we were about the only group of people cheering for Germany. This became quite obvious when Turkey scored their first goal and everyone except us cheered loudly.
Then when Germany scored, we all tried to make as much noise as we could to represent! It was quite funny when Horst said loudly... that we had to make more noise because everyone else was cheering for Turkey.. but he was German.. so now everyone in the bar knew that they had some competition!
In the end, Germany won the game and people congratulated Horst. It was quite fun and a really enjoyable time.
Bedtime was about 1:00 am and because of the time change, I really wasn't sleepy. Tired yes... sleepy no. I tossed and turned and finally fell asleep. The wake up call and alarms went off at 6:30 am and I reluctantly crawled out of bed to take a shower.
I was to meet Horst and Andrea in the lobby at 7:00 am and help them pull some gear off the truck for this mornings meeting.
When I got down there, Horst had pretty much pulled everything off the truck already. So, I helped move the gear inside and we rocked out the setup pretty easily and efficiently. It was really great! the three of us worked together like a well oiled machine.
The setup consisted of a couple of wireless mics, Yamaha mixer, small amplifier, two speakers on tripods, and a data projector. We finished it all quickly and then Horst, Andrea and I helped Tina the Meeting Planner put out booklets, Agendas, move chairs and tables around and anything else that needed to be done.

I bring up this last point, because it is out of the ordinary in my experience. Horst and Andrea are not only willing to help out in anyway possible, but they feel it is there responsibility to do whatever they can to make sure the entire meeting is successful.
I was very proud this morning of our relationship with Horst and Andrea. They respect Rick so much, that they do whatever it takes to make him look like a star. I believe that they held true to the "Value Added" Service that Rick is always striving to provide at every opportunity.

The meeting has kicked off, and unless the power gets cut off because someone shorts out a power strip or something, I am pretty much going to be hanging out surfing the internet till about 5:00 pm this afternoon when we load in the General Session.

Here are some images from Brussels that I have been working on while hanging out waiting for the emergency call that never came.

Grand Place 3.jpg

Belgium Streets 1

Lion watching the gate 2.jpg

Leopoldo II

Grand Place 1

Monday, June 23, 2008

Heading to Europe

I am sitting once again in lovely Greensboro Airport Gate 48. Today I am flying to Washington DC and then will sit there till 6:00 pm (about 6 hours) and then hop on a Boeing 777-222 to head to Brussels Belgium.
I am actually very excited about this trip, as I have not been to Brussels.
The meeting I am working is the same gig I did in Philly a few weeks ago, so it should be low stress for sure.
Horst and Andrea our AV Vendor from Munich are going to arrive in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon, and we are going to watch the soccer game that evening between Germany and someone else... I really have no idea who they are playing.. but it should be great fun to hang with Horst and Andrea.

All the rest of the crew are in South America in Buenos Aries right now on a show. I couldn't go with them because I am heading to Brussels. However, I am sitting in the Airport and we are all chatting via Skype while they are onsite in Argentina. Ain't Technology great!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Quick Image post

These are two shots I took last night in the Lobby of the Chicago Hilton.
They are both Low Rez

Long days

Today should be really REALLY easy.
I am responsible for the 17th, 18th, and 19th Floors on the hotel.
Each of these floors has three rooms with AV gear in them.
I also have two union guys one is covering 17 and 18 and the other is covering 19.
So, Pretty much, I will be playing with my photos and surfing the internet.
I am fortunate that I am on the upper floors of the hotel so I get reception.

So, I am sitting on a couch.... doing nothing all day... but getting paid.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Onsite in Chicago

I am in Chicago at the Hilton. This is such a huge hotel!
We are handling the breakouts for an 1800 attendee event.

Between yesterday and today, we had to set 129 breakout rooms spread throughout 25 floors of the hotel.
Don and I jumped on the opportunity to manage all the laptops. We both figured it would be less insane to deal with them, than trying to manage union guys, flipcharts and projection screens.

It has been pretty crazy trying to keep track of 129 computers, Wireless slide remotes and figuring out which rooms have been done, and which ones still need attention.
We had to tweak the machines and make sure that screen savers were turned off, Hibernation was turned off... a couple settings in power point and a few other things, but that took all day yesterday and all day today.
Tonight we will crash the clients dinner buffet and then get some sleep for a 6:30 am call to Mayhem.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today is my Birthday.. and I am on the road

I got a call after work yesterday from Rick who asked me to come down to the clients office. I went down there, and our client had a birthday cake and a card that everyone had signed and they sang happy birthday. It was very nice of the client... she was really sweet.

We all went out to dinner at Mortons Steakhouse, which was amazing. After some great wine, Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, a Bone-in Chicago Style Ribeye and all the fixin's... I was so stuffed I couldn't move. Everyone was having a great time enjoying each others company, and then the servers came around with some cheesecake. The waiter belted out a solo version of Happy Birthday with a soul kind of vibe. It was really great to be with this group of guys for my birthday.

The next morning however....Everyone was hurting... the combination of the wine and eating sooooo heavy just killed us all.
oh yeah.. and most everyone went from Mortons to the hotel bar to have a nightcap. but not me... I went to sleep, and am I happy that I did!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Boston in the summer

I landed in Boston on Monday, and it was close to 95 degrees. We helped the client get set up with a printer and Internet access, and then went to dinner at a nice italian place around the corner from the hotel. It was a good thing we stayed close to the hotel, because right at the end of the meal, we get a call from the client that she couldn't print. I ran back to the hotel, and found that she was just trying the wrong printer. fixed that, and all was good!

After dinner, I scooted out to a hotel across town to meet my old boss from Seattle for a few drinks and to catch up on some old times. It was really good to see her and catch up after about 5 years.

Tuesday we ran through the same drill and set up the client in a temporary office. Got her printing, and then helped her trip director get set up printing. That took a lot longer than it should have because the computer is pretty beat up with it's operating system. There have been sooooo many printers installed and then removed that it just needs a lot of extra steps to get it working.

After that, a few of us went out walking the city to get to an Apple store for a power supply, and then to a Staples to get the client some supplies that she needed.
The temp rose to about 95 degrees again and by the time we got to the store which was easily a mile of walking, we were all soaked. Air conditioning never felt so good!
We got some lunch, and then headed back to the hotel to deliver the office stuff.

Last night we took the client to dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Luca in the north end which is like little Italy. After a great meal, some great wine, and an after dinner scotch. The client and her crew said good night and went back to the hotel.
Our crew wandered down the street to a really cool, basement cigar lounge, and had some great cigars and scotch. We finally left there around 11:30pm and headed to the hotel to get some sleep before our early morning call.
It was really a fun night that was very laid back and great bonding time for us all.

This morning I walked into the ballroom and there was gear everywhere. Lighting trusses hanging from the long chains getting lights installed and the place was busy with activity. We went back down to the clients office and got them set up printing again. The clients ability to print is about the most important thing I could possibly take care of when I am onsite. Internet access is second on the list.
If the client doesn't have access to the net, and printing, the whole operation comes to a halt. So, it is something that we put major focus on when we are onsite.

We have four breakout rooms, another office move, and a slide review room to set along with the general session room today and the show starts tomorrow.

It is a very relaxed pace, and all is going well, so this is a very enjoyable work experience today.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Trying to get out of Philly

The show went well, other than the back up video deck not wanting to accept the tapes. Details!
The hotel had asked us if we could clear out the front of one of the sections of our two ballrooms so they could start setting up a screen and sound system at 6:00 pm. Our show broke at about 10 minutes to 4:00pm and the crew worked hard, and we got the whole show struck and in the truck by 6:00 pm The hotel's meeting planner walked in and was pretty much shocked at how much we accomplished in two hours.
Rob had to catch a 4:15 pm car to catch the last flight back to LA, so I was stuck handling the whole thing by myself. It wasn't Rob's fault though, however, that still doesn't mean I am not going to give him grief next time we work together. I suppose it is payback for me having to walk out on Eric G. in Boca last month for the same reason.

I struck all the Conference Mics, and packed them up. Then I struck all of Ricks gear and labeled everything and prepared the shipment for a FedEx Pickup on Monday to Boston.

Staging Horizons was on time and did a great job for us. Our Camera Op, Dennis was really a great guy to work with, so all in all the show went really good and the client was very pleased. This is the same client and show that we are doing in Brussels so it was important to give them a high level of comfort on this first event.

I am now sitting in the airport wondering at what time they are going to tell me that my 11:40 am departure is delayed. It is a bit foggy, and there already have been at least 4 delays and gate changes since I got here about 45 minutes ago.

One more thing, A friend that I have known for years, and is someone I have looked up to in the industry since I started back when I was about 22, reads my blog faithfully, and comments all the time on my posts. Here is the latest comment that he wrote about us not getting the files from the client until the last minute.

michael steighner said...
Another episode of "Getting worked in the Corporate Theatre"

I'm just waiting for a presenter to casually flick a usb stick over the set oneday on his way to the lecturn live during the show. This move would be accompanied with a soft mumble that kind of sounds like "could you load up my presentation now please?"

June 6, 2008 2:03 PM

Mike also writes a blog about his photo adventures. His work is absolutely stunning and I am very jealous of his talent and the way his eye see light.


Take a gander at his photos, and don't forget to comment on some of his posts. As bloggers, it is the only way we know you are out there reading our rants, and we really appreciate the occasional comment!

PERFECT!!!! They just gave us an update about flight #3799 to Greensboro. Cancelled... And I thought I was just going to get delayed... Such short sightednesson my part! The line is about 50 people deep, and I have a feeling today is going to be a long one!

I finally got to the counter, and the gate agent, looked at me.. answered the phone, set that phone down, called someone on another phone, and then got up and left. She never said a word to me. Two full lines of people waiting to try to make other flights, and there was now, only one agent at the counter. There were three at first, but I think the first one decided to go on lunch break.

I stood there for a good 15 minutes while agent #2 was gone, and then finally, strolling casually down the concourse, I saw her. She came back to the desk, and mumbled something incoherent. I asked her what she said, and she glared at me and snapped, "WHAT CAN I HELP YOU WITH?" At that moment I snapped... I jumped up on the counter, and screamed... "DON"T SNAP AT ME YOU USELESS, PATHETIC LOSER!" Ok, so I didn't.. I just shook my head and told her that my flight was cancelled. it was tempting to be mean, but it is not her fault, that she hates her life, her job, and her existence. I mean... it is not her fault that she is no good at what she does, and should be shoveling garbage at the back end of the local Taco Bell.

But I digress....

I had looked up on the internet what flight options I had, and there was a 3:00 pm flight, so when she told me the next flight was at 4:12 pm, I asked if there was a 3:00 pm flight.

Again, she snapped... "No Seats!"

I shouldn't be surprised... I mean, this is not my first airport rodeo....

I just took the abuse and didn't respond.
So, now I am confirmed on the 4:12 pm flight. It is going to be a long day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Showtime in Philly

Rob hadn't gotten any of the presentations last night. They didn't do an official slide review. This morning, they came in with a whole bunch of presentations for him to load up.
The agenda showed about 8 presentations, and they handed Rob about 15. He ended up having to string all these slides together, and things still seemed weird. There was a presentation in there that had a thank you slide at the end of it, and then another 15 slides after the thank you. So, things were pretty unsettling this morning. We sorted all those kind of things out, but it is just no fun when you don't have answers and it is 10 minutes before the show is supposed to start. Our client was really great though. She was running around getting us all the answers to the questions that we had, and it all got sorted out. It just makes you wonder why we came down an hour and a half before the show started. (well... we all know why we come down that early)

We are recording this one to DV-Cam. Another gift I was given this morning is that one of the DV-Cam decks decided not accept tapes. This all happened with in the half hour window of the start of the show. Just great. So, instead of running a back up deck, we are just going to capture it all on the main.

The show is rolling right now, and all is going well. Our client is really sweet and happy. The meeting planner is not only happy, but she is very helpful, and is constantly looking out for the AV crew, and I slept in a heavenly bed again.

Set up day in Philly

The setup was going well, right up until we actually tried to power on the projector, and got nothing.
Who needs a working projector anyway?

We grabbed the back up projector and that one powered up no problem, but no image. After about 45 minutes of checking cables, connections, and then replacing breakout cables, we finally got image. There were about 4 breakout cables that were bad.
So, we got the image up, and then called Rick to let him know that the projector was not working. Rick hopped in his car and drove all the way down from Maplewood about two hours away with a replacement projector.
Problem solved!

You have to appreciate that kind of support. The owner of the company, dropping everything to make sure that you have a good backup is something we all appreciated.

Rob and I put a wide angle lens in the projector, threw it up and got it looking all pretty, and then off to bed!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Philadelphia PA

We are at the Westin in Philly, which is a really nice hotel... complete with Heavenly beds. If you have never stayed in a Westin and experienced the Heavenly bed.... you are missing out!
I am not sure that the Heavenly part of the experience is really about the bed, or just the pillows. Whatever it is... Westin has really nailed the complete experience. The rest I get from the Heavenly bed is just... Heavenly. (Ok.. I had to say it)

7:30 call this morning, and we had to set up a Monitor meeting, which was basically just a projector and screen. That turned into a last minute call for a sound system with a couple of wireless microphones. We were supposed to get into the room at 10:15 when they went to break, so at 10:10 we were ready to roll into the room and get setup. They were running late, and told me that it would be an additional 5-10 minutes.
55 minutes later, They still weren't really ready for a break, but they took a 5 minute break and we rocked out the set-up. Everyone was happy. Now, we are in standby till 3:00 pm when the truck from Staging Horizons is supposed to show up with the rest of the gear.
Rob and I already setup the conference mics, and wired everything.
I think it is about time to go get some lunch!

Monday, June 2, 2008

We are not alone

I found a funny story on some guy's blog that shows that we are not alone in this madness.

some big cheese lawyer couldn't figure out how to operate a laser pointer during his presentation.

It just goes to show that other people deal with the same kind of stupid things we have to.

Laser Pointer story