APS for corporate events: Solving the clicker-problem

Auto Presentation Switcher (APS) can improve your workflow as an A/V technician displaying presentations. Not only if you have a small setup, but also in a more advanced system with video-switchers, computers and cameras. Because APS can do something that hardware presentation switchers can’t do, and that is to switch presentations inside your computer. In the video I want to show you one reason why this can be important. And it has to do with the presentation-clicker that presenters need to advance their slides.

When I started working with corporate AV back in 2016, on of the tricky parts of the job was to deal with all the presentations that is handed over to you. When you receive the files sometimes right before the event starts, you need to organise your material, and make sure that the correct presentation is displayed when the presenter enters the stage. As I have talked about before, using the mouse and the finder-menu is simply too slow when you have a tight event with lots of things happening.

Before APS, I would use a hardware presentation-switcher for this. Then I would prepare the next presentation on another computer, and switch between them when needed. So when the next presentation was ready to play, we could just push a button on the switcher. But I never really liked this workflow, and the reason had to do with the presentation-clicker that presenters use to advance the slides:  

You can use one clicker for both machines, if the clicker has two outputs. Then you need to disable the clicker on the computer that is not being used every time you switch presentations. Otherwise the presentation wont start from the first slide, because the slides have moved while the presentation was off-screen. And you need to enable it when the machine goes live. This is very easy to miss. 

The second option with clickers, is to use one clicker for each machine. Then you can give the clicker to the presenter before they enter the stage, and you don’t need to mute and unmute the clicker yourself. But if a presenter just leaves the clicker on the stage after they are done, or if they give the clicker to the next presenter without your knowledge, then you have a problem. Because now the presenter is not controlling their own presentation. 

What we do with APS, is to switch the presentations inside the computer. You get commands that can take you to the next presentation seamlessly, so you don’t need another computer to do this. 

This also means that we now solve the clicker-problem, because all presenters can now use the same computer and clicker, and you don’t need to configure the clicker during the show.

APS as a part of a larger AV-setup

We like to say that APS can reduce your footprint and simplify your setup, because you no longer need a hardware switcher and an advanced presentation-clicker system to switch presentations fast and seamlessly. But this doesn’t mean that you should sell your video-equipment and extra computers: You still need the switchers for your cameras, remote speakers, and backup. And APS can integrate as a part of an advanced AV-setup, where our software takes care of the presentation-switching, and the video-switcher decides what source to display on the outputs. In fact, this is the way a lot of professional AV-technicians and event-producers use our tool: as a small part of a larger system.
And, if somebody spills beer on your switcher, you know that you can display your presentations and background-slides on the screen from just one computer. APS gives you that redundancy if something goes wrong.

Presenter-clickers for professionals AV

In this article I talk about presentation-clickers that has dual outputs: one clicker can advance slides on two computers simultaneously. In today’s market, there are, as far as my knowledge goes, only presentation-clickers from two brands that can do this: Microcue and Perfect Cue. The problem with the regular clickers from brands like Logitech is that they lack the advanced features needed for professional AV: along with the multiple outputs, consumer-clickers dont have the range for the FOH to be placed far away from the stage. With the MicroCue and Dsan professional clickers, the wireless range is 50 meters and more, and by extended this with xlr or ethernet-cabling, you can place the presentation-computer anywhere you like, and the presenter will never miss a click.

MicroCue

Where to get the the professional AV-clickers

Along with BHP and some of the other bigger vendors, you can normally get these clickers directly from the companies websites: (Microcue and Perfect Cue)
If you are in Norway, you can rent the newest MicroCue system from DMG. They also rent out computers with our PresentationTools software pre-installed, so it’s definitely a company we want to support.