Everybody talks about “training the tech team”, but in reality it seems that it very rarely happens as well as it needs to. I think perhaps what people commonly refer to as training could better be described as demonstration. Showing tech people how to push faders, twist knobs, pan cameras, and dim the lights is critical for people to understand how the equipment works, but is this really “training”?
Even going to seminars and workshops really isn’t training. When you train for something you practice it over and over again. You don’t become skilled at anything until you have done it many, many times. That, to me, seems to be the key element that is missing from the training of most tech team members.
Of course the obvious follow-up question is, “How do you provide an environment for people to practice?” The answer will be different in every system and space, but here’s one way. We recently completed a large-scale AV system for the Indiana Wesleyan University 3800-seat Chapel Auditorium. After much discussion a digital mixing console was chosen that allowed the end users to track all the audio channels to a hard drive. The system configuration allowed them to then play back the entire mix through the console and the house sound system. I had the opportunity to attend a major production that was being presented in the space. In spite of the fact that it was a complicated show with a plethora of mics and inputs, there was a limited rehearsal schedule. The staff tracked each rehearsal during the day and then “practiced” the mix after hours so that they could get all of the settings dialed in for everything in the mix. The result: an excellent mix brought through all of the instruments and vocals in a compelling and powerful way!
I use this example because it illustrates how incorporating a few extra elements at the audio-visual design stage can provide an added benefit to the end user. Whether we are talking about sound, video, or lighting systems, having a system put in place to allow tech team members to not just run the system, but also practice running the system can go a long way toward providing the real world training that is needed.
At Acoustics By Design, we specialize at designing audio-visual systems for churches. After the contractor completes the installation, we offer church tech team training for volunteers and full time staff alike. Our goal is for you to get the most out of your AVL system, so you can present crystal clear communication every time.