A scene from the 1994 OPS Annual Program: A presenter carried a loaded slide carousel and handed it to the Audio-Visual (AV) technician near the Kodak projector somewhere in the middle of the lecture room. The AV tech placed the carousel on the projector, turned it on, aligned it, and focused the first slide on to the screen. Some projectors had a cable remote that could be long enough to run from the projector to the podium, where the speaker stands. If not, someone had to stand near the projector to manually push a button to advance the slide forward whenever the presenter said: “next”.
Forward to 2004 and present day: A lecturer carries a laptop and walks to the podium to connect a VGA cable from the LCD projector to the laptop. With a push of a button on the key board, the images project onto the screen. If the projector was already lined up and turned on, the AV tech may stand nearby, just in case, most of the time the AV tech just observes.
Running the AV for the OPS has been fun and rewarding. Most of the time, it pretty much runs by itself as speakers are pretty savvy with their computers and already know how to connect the VGA cable to their laptop. But because there are so many different laptops, some of them don’t have the standard VGA ports and then require a dongle to convert to VGA ports. Often times, speakers forget to bring the dongle with them or they left it at their previous talk. The OPS have solved that problem by have a few types of dongles available on site.
Sometimes other challenges arise for the AV tech. For example, some of the computers have a VGA port, but do not have the screws to tighten the cable. If the speaker happens to move their laptop during their talk, the VGA cable loosens just enough that it causes some color shift or even flickering during their lecture. Yes, this has actually happened twice at the OPS Annual Program.
I really enjoy coordinating the AV during the OPS education programs. Most of the time, it is a pretty relaxing job, as most of the time, I just walk around to check on people. But when there are crises, it seems like it always happens two places at once. Sometimes, just when a speaker is about to present their talk, nothing shows on the screen. That is when you see me running!