25 Jun 2018

Tech Tips

Anytrans – I’ve been a Mac user for about ten years and appreciate how well they are built and generally speaking, I like how things are thought through. The notable exception is iTunes which I think is a train wreck! As a professional user, I often have to wrangle audio or video from, or to iPhones or iPads, and using iTunes seems to be a nightmare. Every time I use it, it feels like I am learning a new version of Pro Tools from scratch! A great alternative for copying files on and off your phones is Anytrans  It works just like any other file manager which is what you need. Simple.

3:1 Rule – On a head table, try to have the microphones spaced so that any presenter is speaking into a microphone that is three times closer than any other. Decibels are always a ratio of one thing to another. Therefore if a voice source is three times closer to one microphone than another, it has to be about 10 dB louder in the closer mic. When you add the levels from both mics, the second microphone only adds to at most, 2 dB. That means any comb filtering or phasing can only be a maximum of 2 dB, and rarely is.

USB Connectors and memory sticks – You go to plug your trusty memory stick into the computer but it doesn’t fit, so you flip it. But that doesn’t work either. You flip it again, and by some miracle, now the drive slides into the port with ease. If you’re like me, you’ve been here many times before.
Thankfully, there’s a simple trick for knowing how to plug in a USB cable or memory stick the right way every time. On every USB plug, there’s a metal seam on the bottom. That side almost always faces down when inserting the cable or drive.
Also, most USB plugs have a small, forked logo emblazoned on one side of the plastic, which faces up. It’s not always there, so consider that your Plan B. If that is not good enough for you, dab a bit of bright nail polish on the “up” side.


Need to hang projection screens or banners?   Hanging banners with fishing line or black VB cord is always a huge pain when trying to get them to sit nice and even. A better solution is to use hanging hardware from shop fitters who supply hooks in varying but consistent lengths (up to about 1 metre). Using these hooks which are designed for hanging shop banners from false ceilings mean you get them up and horizontal every time.
For heavier loads such as fast fold projection screens, rock climbing slings are fantastic. Rated at one thousand kilograms breaking strain, they’ll safely hang your twenty kilogram screen between two or three of them and it will be perfectly horizontal straight away.

Client Power – Seeing we are running a conferencing theme this month, it is worth mentioning that it is common for clients to approach you, just at the wrong time with their phone charger and say “have you got anywhere I can plug this?”.  You certainly don’t want them fiddling around anywhere near your tech power so always run a dedicated client’s power board that is completely independent of your gear.
Potential disaster averted and happy client.

Have you got any tech tips worthy of publication? One of next month’s reader submitted Tech Tips will win a Shure SM57 courtesy of Jands, so get them in. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

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This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine June 2018, p.63.  CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive


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