The Year That Was – 2010

Well 2010 has been an interesting year. There were many events and I am only going recap a few of them.

We have had a change to a national award structure this is supposed to unify the pay rates across the country. All well and good, but has it really worked. I work for several venues and in only one of those venues that I am employed am I paid under the Live Performance Award 2010 . some venues are run by councils and the pay under the Local Government Award structure, which as you can imagine is completely different from the Live Performance Award. So even though I work as a theatre technician I have several different pay rates.

There is more cheap Chinese equipment on the market and it seems to be appearing all over the place. I previously wrote about this equipment that is coming in from overseas. I still worry that it is undercutting legitimate, quality companies and potentially forcing them to make economic decisions that will in the end be problematic. As I have stated before a lot of this equipment does not seem to have Australian compliance plates and therefore really should be not allowed into the country. How do we as the consumer know how safe a piece of this equipment is, if it has not been tested and given the ok. Lets hope nobody dies.

Juliusmedia had to shut the doors on their college, even though it was one of the leading technical colleges around.The number of students did not meet a certain government criteria and therefore they lost their accreditation. But these are not the only to have happened during the year. As Julius Grafton recently stated we seem to be training a lot of recording engineers for a market that seems to be getting smaller, everybody can set up a simple studio in their bedroom and produce a good result. So why more engineers? Surely more entertainment technicans might be more useful, there are more events that required trained and skilled staff.

There were more iPhone and iPad applications released to make an entertainment technicians life easier. We saw a range of software that remotely operated audio and lighting equipment such as iLive app, MagicQ PC remote app. In fact this year was definitely the year for this apps for handheld devices. And the iPhone and iPad were the main contenders here. Even though there is Android based phones and the new Windows Phone 7 there are at the moment no theatre type apps available for the theatre technician.

We as an industry started to look at the concepts of being sustainable and green. Now this might seem a strange concept when you consider how much power and other resources that we use. Turning on a smallish venues lighting rig can consume a lot of power and therefore generate a lot of carbon. So more and more manufacturers are releasing efficient fittings. These maybe LED powered or high efficiency lamp sources and it does seem to be a step in the right direction. As long as the manufacturing of this equipment does not produce more carbon pollutants than making them the old way and using less efficient lamp sources. Venues are being designed to be more energy efficient, water friendly and therefore more sustainable. This is a ttend that will be good for the planet.
BER Federal government program of buildings went ahead full steam. And a lot of gyms and school halls got built. Now I have seen a few of these places that have been built and let me say there was not much thought gone into the infrastructure of the ones designed aslo to be used as performing arts spaces. None existant lighting bars, speakers placed in such a position that they will always be behind microphones. A lot of the cheaper end of the market went into some of them. So hopefully there is money out there to maintain these facilities.
So hopefully 2011 will be better still, more techs employed, more theatres built (not mulit-purpose halls) and more new, cool equipment is launched. I look forward to seeing in the New Year.



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