Normally I bring my own laptop running MS Windows 7, At the venue I need:
- a computer projector, 1024×768 VGA connector
- a stereo sound system, stereo 3.5 mm jack
- preferably a connection to the Internet, Ethernet/WiFi
I also would like to check the setup in good time before my presentation. Neither of the above is an absolute must. Depending on the assignment and the producer’s needs I am open to mutually agree on alternative arrangements.
If this is the first time I do a presentation for you, or at a new site, please consider the following details in order to prepare for a succesfull event.
From my laptop
Most of my gigs are based on MS PowerPoint slides. In addition I use tons of videos, sounds, and applications that are pre-installed in my computer. The reason I am doing this is because I believe it is easier to understand what you can actually hear, see, and experience. In other words, I rather demonstrate cool stuff than talk about it. Furthermore, I do not present a sequence of slides. With a remote mouse I madly navigate among a myriad of threads. Therefore, one cannot typically take my .ppt file and run it in another computer. If the situation demands the use of another computer that could of course be arranged, possibly with some drawbacks.
The right light
I have visited too many meeting rooms where the lights are not properly set up for a presentation with a computer projector. It should be possible to have full light for the audience and still be able to see what is being projected. It is also awkward when the screen can be seen, but not the presenter. The audience enjoy taking notes and see each other, which becomes difficult in low light. Furthermore, especially directly after lunch, a dark room makes even the most interested person a little bit tired.
Of course, depending on the mood and what is being presented, there are advantages if the auditorium/room could be dimmed. In any case, I always want to know if and how the lights can be controlled.
Nowadays one can just hook up my computer to a projector. My laptop is setup to present XGA (1024 x 768) pixels through a standard VGA interface. The larger the projected image the better. With few exceptions everything I show is designed to be readable at a distance, even on smaller screens.
For larger audiences, that is in conference or theatre halls, I appreciate one or two extra monitors for my personal use. The presentation is greatly enhanced if I can move around on the stage, keeping eye contact with the audience, and still see what I show on the monitor(s).
Most of the time I show videos and play sound clips in stereo throughout the gig. Therefore I need to connect the audio output from my laptop to a sound system through a standard 3.5 mm stereo jack. Note, just two small office speakers is at all times a terrible solution. In smaller rooms (i.e. 5 to 20 people) two computer speakers with a sub woofer (bass box) is quite sufficient. Alternative solutions are a personal HiFi system (with aux input) or a heavy ghetto blaster. Larger rooms demand better sound systems.
Depending on the size of the audience I need a tie pin, or headset, microphone. Please note, a hand held microphone destroy my body language as well as my ability to use the keyboard and other equipment.
Connected to the Net
Depending in the subject for my presentation a connection to the Internet is greatly appreciated. It is better to experience the live thing than just hear, or see still images, of it. My laptop have a standard connection for Ethernet as well as WiFi (a/b/g/n). Please inform me in advance in case the venues network is behind a login system, require specific network settings, or has firewalls for popular services like Skype and YouTube. Depending on the coverage I can also connect through a mobile network (3G/HSDPA) integrated in my laptop.
If everything is in place, I can just take my laptop and jump up on the stage. That is very seldom the case. Hence, in order to keep focus on my message – and not the equipment – the set up needs to be tested, tested, and tested again.
To test the set up normally takes 5 to 15 minutes, and could be done at any break. Please allow sufficient time to obtain missing or faulty equipment. It is valuable is technical staff is available to clear out eventual problems. At larger events I am open to do a stage check in very good time before my presentation. That is, in the morning or the day before.