Talking Tech: Common A/V Terms Explained

By David Moore, Technical Director / 06.07.2017

Just what in the heck are those tech guys talking about anyway?

Often times in the running back and forth on event site, you’ll hear a lot of terms and jargon bandied about in hurried discussions in the days, hours and minutes leading up to curtain drop. Technical Directors can make your head spin trying to explain how we are going to make the lights turn on, change colors and flame throw at the precise moment it’s supposed to, but in truth, most people don’t understand what we are trying to say, and what does it all actually mean?! By no means can we cover all of the terms and tools we use on a daily basis, but I can help explain a little bit along the way.

Here are some popular tech terms you will likely hear on site during the course of your show or live experience:

Hotspot
In a projectionist’s world, this is a term used to describe an area on a projection surface that is abnormally brighter than any other spot. This happens when you have a high lumen projector with an ultra-short throw lens doing rear projection in a very dark space. When you look at the screen, you can see exactly where the lens sits on the surface because it appears as a bright spot right in the middle of the screen (if projector is set up properly for rear projection).

DSM
Downstage Monitor – This is the monitor that sits low to the floor facing the presenter for the his or her reference. This helps the presenter look confident when addressing the crowd by facing forward and not having to turn around to see their content. This monitor is sometimes appropriately termed, the Confidence Monitor or Comfort Monitor.

Eye Candy
Sounds kind of creepy, but this is a generic term for pre-event visuals – graphic animations, thank you sponsor bumpers and other flashy forms of media would fit the “eye candy” criteria.

Ghosting
When a video is interlaced incorrectly on progressive scan outputs, it can have an effect where a duplicate image appears slightly offset, as if there is a shadow behind or next to the object. This is often referred to as ghosting.

(original image is US federal government/public domain
– We couldn’t find any examples from our shows, oops)

Check back in with us for more A/V and tech terms explained weekly or contact us about providing tech support for your next live experience!

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