Media problems

By this I mean media files. How many times have you been presented by a client with an audio and/or video file that they want played during their show or presentation. now there are so many file types that it can be daunting trying to keep up with them. And you will always be presented with a file type that you cannot play. Windows Media Player only plays certain files, whereas Quicktime might play others and you must not forget Real Player. The same might happen with audio files but not very often.

So what is a humble technician meant to do. Will first think is that the client needs to be made aware of the types of media that the venue will consent to play. The files should also be tested at the venue on the equipment it is going to be played upon. Now this needs to be done at least a week in advance, thus giving the client time to get it converted to a format that can be played. now sure the venue can install tons of software on their systems. Even if you have every piece of software under the sun they will still turn up with something that will not play.Now the best bet is to try and find a piece of software that might cover you for most occasions. For video I would recommend ScreenMonkey and VLC player. These two seem to do a reasonable job.

Now another little problem can be when a client presents you with a Powerpoint presentation. You would think this is a simple process, but not always. If the person that made the Powerpoint is not totally savvy on the nuances of Powerpoint it can become a nightmare. First of the need to find out the version that the venue might be using and make sure they save it in the same format. Different versions of Powerpoint do things slightly differently. Also when people set up Powerpoints with video and music they need to bew very aware of were the music and video is stored. It is not automatically bundled into the Powerpoint when you save it, it only stores a pointer to the location of those source files. So the client also needs to bring those source files with them so when the show is loaded onto the venues computer it can then be told were the files are now stored.

I have even had a client present me with a macbook with their video files ready to play in itunes, this piece of software is just not good for work in the theatre. The classic is when a client turns up with a laptop with their files on which they want to use for the playback device, and they expect the venue technician to know everything about an unfamiliar laptop.

I have onmly covered a little about media problems, I am sure you all have had many instances of similar problems. It all boils down to planning and asking questions and then testing with plenty of time to change things.

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