Frequently Asked Questions

AUDIO VISUAL QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

When planning for any new AV project regardless of size, there are a number of factors to be considered.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

When deciding on a new AV project, there are many considerations including:

  • Engaging the AV Consultant / Supplier as early as possible – preferably at the design and concept stages

    They can contribute vital information that can have a huge impact on the project such as weight bearing points, hidden channels and conduits, power and network positions, equipment specifications such as weight and size for better aesthetic results.

  • Have a concept of what is required and impart as much information as you can at the outset.
  • Prepare as much data regarding rooms / areas / functions as possible at the beginning
  • Have an open mind to suggestions and solutions – some which may be new to you.
  • It is prudent to have an idea of budget if possible. It saves time and effort on behalf of the AV consultant preparing solutions that may not be in budget and disappointment to client for what they can’t afford.
  • Don’t leave it to the last moment to engage AV – a good provider will have other projects and clients and you could end up at the back of the queue.

The following are some of the questions that you may or should be asking when considering your AV project, regardless of size. Whilst we have tried to consider some of the likely questions, they are of course not exhaustive and we recommend you always engage and discuss with a chosen AV consultant and supplier at the earliest opportunity

We here at Phoenix AV are always available to assist if you have any queries or require assistance.

Click on the relevant links below.

VENUE / ROOM

1What is the main use of the facility? Is there a secondary function?

Although a seemingly obvious question, this needs to be decided on from the earliest point as this help to define the nature of the equipment and its set up. As important is deciding if there is a secondary function for example, a meeting room which also serves as a video conference facility, or a large room that needs to have the ability to serve as two smaller meeting spaces or a training facility for both theory or practical use.

Make sure you discuss this at the outset with your chosen AV consultant / supplier.

2What is the room size?

It is helpful to have room dimensions available including floor to ceiling and the width of the presentation wall end. This helps to define any throw distances, screen sizes and need for sound enhancements such as speakers.

Try and provide these at the start with your requirements to your chosen AV consultant / supplier to save time.

3What will the room configuration be?
This is the general seating layout such as ‘U’ shaped or theatres style in rows, possibly with or without tables, boardrooms and so-on. Many rooms require flexible options but these can have an impact on factors such as viewing angles, audio and power supplies for both presenters and room users.
4How many people will there be at its minimum / maximum?
Again, this can have a factor on the equipment selection, particularly for the screen size and audio enhancements.
5What about room acoustics?

Some rooms have a high reverberation and even echo which can be detrimental to some vocal presentations and audience comfort. It may require professional acoustic testing and the application of acoustic panels etc.

If you have any concerns, explain this to your chosen AV supplier / consultant who can arrange for an acoustic test.

6What about room brightness

Some rooms are designed to be very light and bright. This has a very detrimental effect on the picture quality and viewer experience. Effective blinds may need to be considered as part of the AV solution as does the hardware being used.

LED screens provide excellent contrast ratio’s but can suffer from shine and reflection on some screens – extra care is required for screen selection and there are many now offering anti-reflective coverings.

Projection systems can suffer from direct light on the projected surface as well as the overall ambient brightness of the room and could require higher lumens rated systems.

7What else do I need to consider when looking at my venue?
There are many other important considerations including
  • Strength of walls / ceilings for mounting heavy equipment – can they cope or is another method required?
  • Use of surface mounted conduit or in-wall channels – acceptable or not?
  • Availability and positioning of electrical power and network points.
  • Ceiling composition and height above suspended ceilings for speakers and cables – important for pole lengths.
  • Under floor spaces and ducts for cables - ability to get draw cables through to required positions.
  • Lighting configurations and independent switching – helps with room ambience and presentation viewing
  • Acoustic properties, reverberations.

DATA / VIDEO PRESENTATION

1Does the presentation need to be interactive?
If the presenter needs to interact directly with the presentation from the screen, it means additional considerations are required including:
  • Type of screen or interactive presentation system to meet the requirements
  • Positioning of the screen to give access to presenters of all heights (i.e. height adjustable)
  • Software package to allow for the kind of interactive presentations / training required
  • Consideration if the audience also needs to interact with the screen / presentation / training
  • Cable hazards if using mobile trolleys for those utilising the screens
2How bright should the projectors be?
This depends on a wide range of factors, but the simple widely used equation is a minimum of 1,000 ANSI Lumens per m2 of projection screen (e.g. a screen 2.5m x 1.5m should have a projector of at least 5,000 ANSI Lumens).
3What kind of projection resolution / screen format is needed?
The variations in resolution are increasing with the advent of 4K screens. Most computers / laptops now output High Definition (1920 x 1080 – referred to as 1080p) images meaning the screen or projector should ideally match it. Most LED manufacturers now offer 4K as a standard with screens over 55”. However, projection systems are still catching up with brighter HD projectors still commanding a premium price. Remember that the screen ratio is also affected depending on resolution and to match systems where possible:
  • XGA 1024 x 768 4:3
  • XGA+ 1152 x 864 4:3
  • HD (720p) 1280 x 720 16:9
  • WXGA 1280 x 768 5:3
  • WXGA 1280 x 800 16:10
  • SXGA - 1280 x 960 4:3
  • SXGA 1280 x 1024 5:4
  • WXGA+ 1440 x 900 16:10
  • UXGA 1600 x 1200 4:3
  • HD (1080p) 1920 x 1080 16:9
  • 2K 2048 x 1080 256:135
  • 4K 4096 x 3072 16:9
4What if I want to show multiple images to one screen?

There are a number of ways this can be achieved and has in part to do with the way your system is set up and your budget.

Single full screen presentations: A simple solution is for the various devices to be connected to each available input on the screen or projector and inputs changed via the handheld remote control or button / touch control panel.

If there are more devices than inputs, then a matrix needs to be considered which is costlier but more effective.

Multiple Images at One Time: There are a number of options. Some wireless presentation systems such as the WePresent and Barco Clickshare will allow for 1 – 4 images to share a single screen and are excellent for general meetings. For more complex requirements, image processors will be required and a more intensive installation.

5What if I need to show the same image to multiple screens / repeater screens?

This can be achieved in a number of ways. It is important to ascertain if this is for general presentation use or digital signage as there are slightly different approaches to both.

For general presentations, distribution amplifiers are a simple solution although cable lengths must be taken into consideration. More complex requirements could mean using a matrix system.

It is important to discuss any such requirement or considered requirement from the outset with your chosen AV consultant / supplier. ‘Bolting on’ features at a later date could be more costly than necessary.

6I need the presenter to have a small monitor so they don’t need to look at the main one.

Repeater screens are common and allow the presenter to keep facing the audience whilst also referring to his material. Depending on his programme, they can queue the next slides ready before showing to their guests.

Considerations include having a touch sensitive screen to allow for control and interaction from the speakers position such as annotating over presentations as well as positioning. A flat / sloping screen on a lectern / podium is better as it does not hide the presenter or show the audience the cables and brackets at the back of a monitor.

7My presentation includes video; how do I cater for this?
Most video programmes can be run from the hosting computer be that on hard drive or via the DVD player. If a separate device will be required, this needs to be confirmed at the outset as it could have an impact on cabling, inputs and system control.
8Why are the LED screens recommended more than the TV’s from High Street Retailers

The TV systems found in high street retailers regardless of the branding are considered consumer TVs. They tend to have smart tuners built in, are designed for limited use and come with a limited warranty.

The commercial screens used for business installation are built to a higher standard, generally contain a second or even third fan to facilitate landscape or portrait mode, are designed for 16/7 or 24/7 use and have features such as the ability to control using external control systems. Finally, most have between a 3 – 5 year warranty.

At Phoenix AV, we always recommend commercial monitors and would request a disclaimer should the client wish otherwise.

CONNECTIVITY

1What are the main considerations regarding connectivity?
This is an important aspect of any AV installation: Considerations must be given to:
  • Number of devices that may need to connect at any one time?
  • Type of devices use to present from (i.e. fixed PC, portable laptop, portable IOS or Android device)
  • Number and location of positions from which devices will be connected (i.e. secondary position at side or rear)
  • Whether cable connection is required and ability / permission for surface mount conduit or hidden channels
  • Whether wireless connection would be a prime option: (At Phoenix AV – we recommend this for all meeting rooms)
2What are the issues regarding cable connections?

Wired connectivity always provides the best quality of presentation delivery from the device to the monitor. However, this isn’t always practical.

Considerations need to be given to cable distances, it is recommended that 10m is the limit for HDMI although 15 m and longer will work. USB is limited to around 3m without extenders. Using Cat 6 convertors means that data / video and control signals can be sent significant distances, often over just one cat 6 cable.

Apart from the distances, there are the health and safety considerations to ensure cables are safe and out of the way, therefore not a trip hazard. Surface conduit may be used in some spaces but is often deemed unsightly and in some cases not permitted. In-wall, under-floor and above-ceiling is best but there needs to be good accessibility and it is paramount that these options are considered at the START and DESIGN phase of any new build.

Once in place, there is the ongoing issue of maintenance access.

3Can I connect wirelessly to my projectors and screens?
Wireless connection is becoming increasingly popular, has excellent results and security as well as overcoming many of the issues associated with wired connectivity. For ad-hoc users, it may require installing some apps but generally, all are simple to use and have additional benefits such as multi-screen displays and interactive options.
4I need to cater for multiple users in a meeting, some have different devices. Can I do that?

Simple answer is YES.

The best ethods are to use wireless systems such as the WePresent and Barco Clickshare. Some interactive screen systems now come with wireless connectivity as well allowing users with laptops, IOS and Android devices to connect, share and participate.

It is also still possible with cables options although this will require early planning and proper installation.

AUDIO CONSIDERATIONS

1How do I find out if the room need acoustic treatment?

You will get a sense of the rooms acoustic properties just talking / capping in the room. You should feel and hear any reverberations and echo and if they are at uncomfortable levels.

As your chosen consultant / supplier if they can conduct an acoustic test. Often, the solution can be the careful application of acoustic wall or ceiling tiles which is more cost effective than many realise.

2What sort of speakers should I go for?

There is a huge range of speaker systems available and choice can depend on many factors such as room size, type of presentation (speech / music) and simple aesthetics. This leads to options for wall mounted / in-wall; ceiling pendant / in-ceiling; floor standing / post mounted and so-on.

Generally, presentation speakers are forward facing into the room be that wall / in-wall system or soundbars. More most general usage, the monitor in-built speakers can be adequate for presentation in smaller rooms.

Ceiling speakers generally act as reinforcement to the main speakers for larger areas and sometimes as a separate speaker voice reinforcement only with the forward facing being for the main presentation.

Your chosen AV consultant / supplier should be able to advise, however you will need to let them know if there are any aesthetic considerations required.

3Is amplification necessary?
This is dependant on the room size and audio configuration being recommended. Your AV consultant / supplier should be able to advise for each area being considered.
4What do I do about speaker microphones?

If the size of the room requires it, then having a speaker mic is a good option. This can be fixed at a podium or lectern for example. Wireless to allow the presenter flexibility to move around or even ceiling mounted, particularly above the audience position if they are required to participate.

Handheld wireless microphones can be used for both presenter and audience participation and a combination of each if required although this will need proper amplification and use of DSPs (Digital Signal Processors).

5I may need the audience to participate and be heard

There are a number of options from handheld microphones that can be passed around the audience to fixed ceiling microphones.

If this is a requirement to have audience participation, ensure it is brought up with the chosen AV consultant / supplier so they can plan for it properly from the outset.

6What about the hard of hearing?

Enhanced options and loop systems are available. These are generally considered as a separate specialist install and should be referred to the specialist companies.

However, some AV providers do have the capability to recommend and install the appropriate systems so your AV consultant / supplier should be asked at the outset if this is part of their service.

CONTROL

1How do I control all of this?

It is always useful to have some sort of simple installed controller; even a small button panel controlling ON / OFF, inputs and volumes can be a smart and cost-effective investment saving on lost / damaged handheld remotes or batteries dying at inopportune moments.

Control solutions can increase in complexity and range from button to full colour touch panels with in-built mini-repeat monitors. A wide range of systems can also be brought under control such as screen lifts, lighting, audio, video conferencing, cameras, window blinds and more.

2Do I need remote controls or can they all be combined together?

As set out above - It is always useful to have some sort of simple installed controller; even a small button panel controlling ON / OFF, inputs and volumes can be a smart and cost-effective investment saving on lost / damaged handheld remotes or batteries dying at inopportune moments.

Control solutions can increase in complexity and range from button to full colour touch panels with in-built mini-repeat monitors. A wide range of systems can also be brought under control such as screen lifts, lighting, audio, video conferencing, cameras, window blinds and more.

3Do I need a touch panel or button pad?

The option can come down to actual control requirements, aesthetics, space and / or budget.

It is best to have a discussion with your chosen AV consultant / supplier who can advise depending on the need / situation and project.

4Why are some controllers more expensive / elaborate?

As with most technical system, there are many devices that can offer the same functionality but have a great disparity in cost based on branding and aesthetics (e.g. cars!).

Some integrators will have preferences based on experience or training (each device can require complex programming). If there is a preference for a specific brand or type, then this must be made clear at the outset to allow the chosen AV consultant / supplier decide if they provide that or not.

5What sort of things can I control?
Complex control solutions can be devised with some control systems allowing all manner of features to be controlled including:
  • All connected projection and viewing devices (ON / Off – Inputs – Volume etc.)
  • Peripheral Devices such as DVD / VHS Players
  • Lift Devices (screen / projector lifts out of cabinets, down from ceilings etc.).
  • Audio systems
  • CCTV / General Cameras & Visualisers
  • Video Conferencing systems
  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Blinds / curtains / Photosensitive ‘Magic’ Glass
  • Security Devices (e.g. door locks)
  • Safety Devices (e.g. Alarms)

NOTE: It is important to discuss with the chosen AV consultant / supplier what your actual and perceived requirements may be. This can have a bearing on some of the peripheral device selection outside of the AV remit (such as window blinds / security systems) to ensure they are of the type that can be centrally controlled.

VIDEOWALLS

1What is a videowall?

A videowall is a generic term given to the joining of a number screens to allow an image to be shown across any number or all of them.

Video walls can be from simple 2 x 1 (two screens side by side) to huge affairs numbers 10’s of screens.

Furthermore, videowalls do not need to follow any standard pattern such as 3 x 2 butcan be set into various shapes and sizes with screens at differing angles and even incorporating screens of different sizes.

2What can I show with a videowall?

Anything that can be shown on a standard monitor can be shown across a videowall. Furthermore, with the various videowall processors available, a wide range of patterns and images can be set up showing simultaneous images from several inputs including PiP.

Videowalls can also be interactive touch as well as 3D.

Ask your chosen AV consultant / supplier for information and ideas about setting up and configuring.

3Are there any advantages and disadvantages to consider?
Whilst videowalls have both a practical use, the provision of a larger viewing area in larger spaces and venues as well as the ability to give a huge ‘wow’ factor for marketing, there are some important factors to remember and consider:
  • Videowall screens generally have ultra thin bezels so as not to detract from the images
  • Videowall monitors can be much more costly than standard screens of the same size
  • A videowall increases the weight loading on any wall quite considerably taking into account special brackets as well
  • The overall brightness and effect can be tremendous but some need careful colour and contrast balancing to match
  • A good processor is required to maintain the various effects and content management

DIGITAL SIGNAGE

1What is digital signage
Digital signage is utilising LED screens for the display of information throughout a location.
2What can I show or use it for?

Any information can be shown and any form of media depending on the signage solutions selected.

Full screen information made up of picture slideshows, to PowerPoint self-running presentations, and movie files. Mores sophisticated media such as RSS feeds, websites, scrolling text etc. can also be shown.

A good digital signage system should permit the users to create their own templates and show any combination of media either singularly full screen or as multiple views on a screen automatically changing the information when scheduled.

As to what to show – that is only limited by the imagination.

3What sort of systems are there?

There is a huge variety of digital signage options available from wall mounted screens ranging from a few inches across to the largest of screens, videowalls and projected images. Additionally, there are free standing Totems, kiosks and interactive options also available used for wayfinding and information.

Some options are available as a complete solution i.e. screen and in-built player whilst others are stand-alone media players that can be connected to any existing or new screens / projectors.

The range is almost only limited by the imagination. Consult with your chosen AV consultant / supplier and let them know what you want to achieve and show.

4How do I control or update it?

There are a number of options. The simplest is by uploading self-playing media files such as picture shows, movie and audio files direct to an in-built media player on a monitor via memory card or USB stick.

The networked systems connect via the network to a central server or computer. The authorised user can control the design of the templates and upload the various content, this is sent back to the screen’s media player with a schedule that allows it to play at the set times. The user can control many monitors in this way sending the same information to all or different information to different screens.

Some solutions also offer a cloud -based option meaning a user can control screens in various locations world-wide from a central point.

5Where would I use it? How extensive can it be?

Digital signage systems can be used anywhere where information need to be imparted to an audience, be that company news to employees and guests to marketing information for shoppers.

This means locations anywhere from reception areas and corridors, lift lobbies or inside lifts, laboratories, workshops and factory floors, shopping malls, education outside areas, outside commercial establishments, transport centres and hubs – the list goes on. There is a solution for any requirement.

Discuss your needs with your chosen AV consultant / supplier.

6Which system should I go for?
The options are wide and varied. It is best to discuss this with your chosen AV consultant / supplier or, if you have yet to decide on one, give us a call and we will be happy to assist.

COMMUNICATIONS

1I want to use my room for video conferencing, what do I need?

Any room with a presentation screen, be that projector or LED can become a video conferencing facility. Depending on the frequency of use, it can be converted into a fixed solution or with the various portable ConferenceCam devices, an ad-hoc VC Room.

For the fixed solution, either a fixed PC with your chosen software such as Skype, Vidyo, Lifesize etc. and a camera with microphone such as the Logitech Meetup or a dedicated video conferencing codec such as Aver or Polycom for example.

Ad-hoc users could utilise a mobile solution such as the Logitech Connect ConferenceCam.

2Do I need a dedicated system?
No. Any room with a presentation screen, be that projector or LED can become a video conferencing facility. Depending on the frequency of use, it can be converted into a fixed solution or with the various portable ConferenceCam devices, an ad-hoc VC Room.
3I see often see pictures of two screen systems, do I need that as well?

No. The dual screen system is useful in that one screen can show yourselves to confirm you are in the image and the second shows the individual(s) to are connected to. One screen can also be used to show data and presentations whilst still viewing the other end.

However, if the room has dual purpose, i.e. primarily for meetings and presentations, it may be more cost advantageous to purchase a larger single screen which can show both windows as side by side or PiP during a conference.

4I want to use my mobile VC system, how do I do that?
By connecting to a large presentation monitor, users can still use their own mobile device to conference utilising the devices camera. However, for more than one in a conference, image quality may not be so good and it would be more cost effective to purchase a portable ConferenceCam system.

There are many more subject matters not listed here such as 3D and AR systems, project cooperation solutions and more.

If you have any specific query not covered here, please feel free to email us with your questions at:


enquiries@phoenix-av.co.uk

or call us on:

01939 200467