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Category: Video Lingo

Down-Stage Monitor/DSM

Down-Stage Monitor/DSM (also referred to as a prompt monitor or confidence monitor) –  A video display used for people on stage to see what they need. Often presenters will want to make sure their slide is up without having to look behind them or to the side at the big screens. DSMs are often switched separately from the main screens so that a presenter can see notes, a countdown clock, or other signals without changing what goes to the main screens.

DLP (Digital Light Procession)

DLP (Digital Light Procession) – A projection technology that uses millions of microscopic mirrors to create an image (using a DMD “Chip” or Digital Micromirror Device). DLP Projectors can come in a 3-Chip version (a DMD chip for each video primary color: Red, Green, and Blue) or a Single-chip that uses a color wheel to achieve different colors. Single-chip projectors for large venues typically don’t have as good of color reproduction as 3-chip, but are cheaper to own and rent. Advantages are superior image uniformity and color saturation, and usually have superior contrast ratios. Disadvantages are cost – DLP projectors (particularly for large venue projectors) tend to be more expensive and therefore cost more to rent.DLP (Digital Light Procession)

Color Temperature 

Color Temperature  – Simply put, it’s the measure of whether white light is blue-ish or red-ish. For example, white light indoors tends to be more red, even though our eyes perceive it as white. Outdoors white light (sun light) is more blue.IPG color temp

Tech Head Note – Color Temperature is measured in degrees on the Kelvin Scale. Your TV produces white light at about 5600 degrees Kelvin, your computer monitor is usually about 9300 degrees (more blue-ish), and a standard light bulb is usually about 3200 degrees (more red-ish).

Compression (Digital)

Compression (Digital) – A means of reducing digital information. It’s a complicated process, but not too difficult to understand. If you’ve ever texted the letters “LOL” then you understand compression. Rather than completely typing out “Laugh Out Loud” you “compressed” it down from twelve to three letters. They mean the same thing, but one requires much less typing. Basically, that’s what digital compression does, shrinks the amount of information in a way that can be un-shrunk later. That way file sizes can be smaller for storage, and use less speed on your internet connection.

Tech Head Note – Different codecs use different types of compression. Some are better than others or have different benefits than others. “Lossless” compression means that a digital signal can be rebuilt exactly as it was before it was compressed. “Lossy” compression means that some information is lost, but it’s close to the original (for example, maybe “LOL” was for “laughed out loud” rather than “laugh out loud”). Most compression schemes are lossy, and often have quality settings for how much information is “lost”.


VGA – Most often used today to describe a type of cable or connector. Technically VGA stands for Video Graphics Adapter and was used to describe the type of interface a computer used to hook up to a monitor. These days it is more of a generic term used to describe a computer video signal or a type of cable. A VGA cable (more specifically, the connector) has 15 pins and carries most resolutions of analog computer video signals (depending on the quality of the cable), which consist of Red, Green, and Blue signals and Horizontal & Vertical sync information.

LED – Light Emitting Diode

LED – Light Emitting Diode. An LED is a type of light source that can be used in everything from TVs to flashlights. In the AV world there are three main applications. Most consumers are aware of LED TVs. These are basically LCD TVs that use LED as the backlight. The second application, LED walls and displays, are a completely different animal. In these, each pixel (picture element) is made up of its own LED light. The advantage is that images can get very large and very bright. Another advantage is that an LED display can be just about any size, shape, and resolution. The disadvantage is that LED displays are very expensive, and the individual LEDs get dimmer over time. The third application is traditional lighting instruments and use LED as their light source. The advantage is these light fixtures use much less energy than traditional incandescent lamps and can often reproduce colors without using any gel. But, like LED displays, they can be very costly to purchase.

The AV Logistics Checklist

Here it is – the down and dirty, no-frills check list for dealing with AV logistics for your event.

Contactsevent planning

Have a list of those people you will be dealing with on site and have their phone numbers. Make sure those people know how to contact you or those working for you. Also, make it clear to everyone involved who is in charge and who has authority over what.


Make sure your audio visual provider has a detailed schedule, including start and end times of each session, times when door are open for the audience, rehearsals and walk-throughs, meetings, and any other times that AV crew or equipment will be needed. Also helpful are schedules of other vendors or crews that might cause any conflicts.

Load In and Load Out

Conditions for loading in and out are important, especially when it comes to dock space and traffic. Too many companies on the dock at one time is a recipe for chaos. Also, room availability, amount of time required for set-up and strike, and the availability of in-house personnel such as electricians and technical people are important considerations in event planning.

Room Dimensions & Details

Make sure the room where your event is going to be held is big enough for the attendees AND all the equipment. AV equipment takes up space, not just on the floor but in the air as well. Make sure you account for ceiling obstructions such as chandeliers, ceiling coves, air ducts, and so on. How and where the audience is seated will also make a difference in what kind of AV equipment should be used.


Check to see if arrangements have been made for needed power drops and electrical service, keeping in mind that they are rarely free.


Now days many presenters need access to the internet for their presentations. You should plan on proving a wired internet connection with a QOS (quality of service) setting. Also, internet is rarely free.

Facility Requirements

Many facilities and venues have special requirements, such a putting covering over carpets, use of hallways and elevators, or hiring security personnel. Ask a venue specifically if they have any such requirements and get them in writing. Facilities often have a packet listing all of the rules and requirements.

Union Requirements

Find out if your event is in a union contracted facility. If so, take time to know the rules and budget accordingly

Speaker and Talent Requirements

Ask talent and presenters for their needs and requirements well in advance. This may include things such as internet accessibility, specific types of microphones to use, someone to operate a PowerPoint presentation, and so on. Oh, and pass that information along to your audio visual provider. If you have talent that has a rider (the part of their contract that lists their technical requirements) make sure you send a copy to your audio visual team.

Changes & Add-Ons

Changes and add-ons are inevitable. Keep a detailed record and, if possible, get sign-off when it comes to changes. Confusion later just costs money and causes headaches.

Contract & Payment

This may sound trivial, but make sure you have a contract, that you know what the payment terms are, and that you understand what is included and what is NOT included. Ask questions and get answers BEFORE your event or production begins.


SDI – High Definition Serial Digital Interface (see also “SDI”) – A professional type of video transport that sends uncompressed HD digital video information down a single cable, usually a BNC cable. SDI and HDSDI are the same except for the amount of information per second that can be transported. SDI is also a generic term referring the type of interface, whereas HDSDI refers to an SDI interface that carries HD video signals.

Tech Head Note – These days SDI is generally labeled by the bit rate of the interface (the amount of digital information transported per second). The original SDI interface transferred video signals at 270Mbps (megabits per second). HDSDI transferres video signals at 1.5 Gbps (gigabits per second). Now terms such as 3G, 6G, and 12G are used (note, this has NOTHING to do with cell phone carriers 3G & 4G). HD video using 1080P resolution uses 3G SDI. Ultra HD (also known as 4K) uses 6G and 12G SDI. Also, the higher the bit rate, the shorter the distance in can travel down a cable and longer runs may require conversion to a fiber-optic cable.

I-Mag, More Than Meets the Eye!

If you’ve been around AV for any period of time you’ve undoubtedly heard the term I-Mag. I–Mag is a short lingo term for Image Magnification.

While that term can encompass many things, it is generally used to describe putting live images captured from a video camera onto a large screen.

OK, simple enough, right? As with most AV equipment, there’s more to visual

First, let’s consider what I-Mag is not.

It is not the same as video for broadcast (including internet streaming, which is becoming more popular), or for a recording, although many times what is going to I-Mag is also recorded. The difference is the audience and what is intended for them to see. For example, when you watch a TV broadcast of an event, say, the Academy Awards or even a football game, you will see lots of camera shots of the audience & spectators, the venue, background activity and so on. This is to give people a broader scope of what is going on. It adds a sense of being there, a feeling of excitement. The same is true for a recording. People want to have a sense of what else is going on.

For I-Mag the situation is different because people are already AT the event and seeing what’s going on around them. What they are interested in, most of the time, is what is happening on the stage, especially stuff they can’t see from where they are sitting. To show audience shots or other stuff on the screen could actually be distracting and, if overdone, irritating.

There are also things to be avoided with I-Mag. One of those things is what us AV guys refer to as De-Mag. That’s when something shown on screen is actually smaller than what people can see for themselves. Also, since big screens are, well, big, lots of rapid movement can be dizzying after a while.

So, what does all of this mean to you? If you’re doing an event that involves video cameras it is important to know what audience you are catering to: the audience at the event, an audience watching over a broadcast or stream, or an audience watching a recording of the event.

It will make a difference in every aspect of your production: directing style, the number of cameras needed and their placement, lighting, and sound.

You may be asking, “Is is possible to shoot for I-Mag and broadcast or recording at the same time?” Absolutely! There are a lot of options available, but at a price. The important thing is to know your priorities, and then make sure to discuss them with your audio visual production team in advance so they can give you options to for plan accordingly.

Interlaced Video

Interlaced Video (also see “Progressive Scan”) – A method of displaying a video or computer image where odd numbered rows of pixels (or “lines”) are drawn first then evens. A video image is made much like typing a page: one line is drawn from left to right and when it gets to the end of the line it goes back to the left to start a new line. When it gets to the bottom right corner the image is complete and the next page or “frame” is started in the top left. This happens several times per second. Interlace video, since it only makes half an image at a time (odd lines then evens), can make an image with half the information.