THE PROJECTOR PROJECT by Flavio Vilches, UCSA Information Technology Team
Have you noticed how objects hide themselves in plain sight? We are so used to having the object there, that we turn blind to its presence. Only when that object is not in the same place any more, do we notice its absence.
Same principle applies to our loyal projector at the sanctuary. Sunday after Sunday for the last 14 years or so, we enjoyed the beautiful slides that Birdie prepares with such caring and dedication, without thinking that there is a lot going behind the scenes to make that possible. Until… Oh no! the projector is not projecting our PowerPoint projects!
I got a ladder and went into the sanctuary on the Monday right after Birdie mentioned that the projector was having problems. Checked the projector to the best of my ability, and the conclusion was: Yep, it was very very dead. What I figured out is that the fan that cools the lamp failed, making the whole projector overheat to a degree (a lot of them actually) and it burned the electronics.
Now, we needed to get another projector, but in the meantime, how do we do the slides for Sunday service? “This projector is going to be a project!” I thought. (Pun intended.)
I spent another afternoon at the sanctuary trying different ideas that didn’t work. Until I got one that did: I brought in my laptop and connected the projector we have in the conference room, and then found a good place for it to project its image on the screen. After a few tries, I got a decent image on the screen on the wall. Then I went to get a remote clicker. It was one of those fancy little devices that change the slide remotely when you press a button. The clicker holder can be up to 15 ft from the laptop. It worked beautifully. Nobody noticed that there was a clicker operator sitting on the first row. The Sunday service ran like any other one we had before…
The real challenge started after that. We got four different quotes for a new projector. And all of them were so different in pricing and features that it was difficult to make a decision. I was told that the budget for that projector was very limited. Ok, I had to do a lot of research, and in the process, learned a lot about projectors. I thought a projector was a projector, and there was nothing to it. It turns out that nothing could be further from the truth. I learned that there are many variables that play in the selection, like how big is the room (with actual measurements), how high the projector will hang from the ceiling, the distance to the screen, and so on and so forth. To make a long story short, the information I gathered helped me eliminate immediately two of the proposals, destined for a “conference room size” projector that obviously would fail in a bigger room as our sanctuary.
Then I called one of the manufacturers of the projectors, (a big Japanese brand that rhymes with “tai chi”) and was lucky enough to have “the talk” with one of their engineers. It’s funny how easy we engineers understand each other. He actually knew what kind of features we should look for on the projector to have. Things started to look better, because I was able to understand the difference both in features and in price. I got how there are projectors from $200.00 all the way to $10,000.00 and higher.
One of the projectors proposed to us was right in the arena of features we needed, with the exception of the price, which was just a little out of our budget. We were a little discouraged, then Birdie called them and used her fantastic charm, and her unique way of asking, that the guys from the audiovisual company got us a very good deal. Who can say “no” to Birdie when she asks you? Projector purchase was authorized by Rev. Jimmie and the board and the rest is history….
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