IMG_1355I was at a Chamber of Commerce event recently and had the opportunity to observe the sound technician and his equipment.

His AV set up was typically shabby for this Petone-based company, who are well known in the industry for being that way. There was no safety tape on or around the tripod legs and the cables were wrapped around the tripods instead of taped or velcro strapped out of sight behind the tripod. Loose coils of excess (blue) cable was just strewn on the floor by each of the speakers and loose carpets were thrown over the loose cable runs instead of the recommended industry safety standard of duct tape. His four small JBL powered speakers were dented and muffled-sounding, and there was a constant audible hum through the system the whole time.

Awful-AV

Check out the apparatus that was used as a stand for the TV screen!

A tired old 32″ TV monitor was on the most ramshackle trolley stand I’ve ever seen, and was only a bit over a metre and a half off the ground. Not only was the screen too small, but it was also too low for many of the 120 people in attendance. A 50″ on a 2 metre truss stand was really required for this job. I thought that the trolley looked like it had been scavenged from an old classroom AV rig from the 1970s. It definitely was an eyesore.

There was really no need to charge the client for a technical operator for this event, as it should really have been a set and forget job. As usual, this particular business owner was wearing skate shoes and jeans for the event, not a professional look at all, given that the people in attendance were mostly in business attire and most of the men were in suits. He had a couple of lads turn up later to help him with the pack-down and they were even more scruffy than him (looking like they’d just been roped in off the street) and neither were wearing branded shirts. This should have been a quick pack down for one technician, although the staging is easier to manage with two people.

I've seen worse/messier cabling efforts, but not often.

I’ve seen worse/messier cabling efforts, but not often.

I could have supplied a vastly superior sound system to the client that would have been set up and packed down in a fraction of the time and for roughly half the price. This operator put out more more gear than was necessary, he uses tired old gear instead of replacing or maintaining it with better, newer technology and his set up was both unsafe and untidy.

I won’t name the company here, but it is an AV firm that proclaims that they’ve been around for a very long time and has a team of technicians on the road 24/7. The word ‘team’ is a bit of a stretch. It is a warning to others that there are cowboys out there and you don’t always get what you paid for. Caveat Emptor.

UPDATE

On 15 October 2015, an application by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue for putting the company in question into liquidation was filed in the High Court at Wellington. The application is to be heard by the High Court at Wellington on 1 December 2015 at 10.00am. I wouldn’t be surprised if this spells the beginning of the end for this particular operator.