This morning, my associate TD, Gary, and I (though I often refer to him as the Assistant to the Technical Director--just for fun) will be heading east to Charlotte, NC to attend WFX. I was able to go last year, and had a great time. It was fun being able to hang out with Colin (@faithtools) and his sound guy Erik (or was it Eric...?). I also met with a bunch of other TDs and technology leaders from all over the country. This year should be even better since the CTDRT is gaining members daily, some of whom are also going to WFX.
And that's one great reason to go to a conference like that. It's always great to rub shoulders with other TDs. We often have a lonely job, and it's good to meet other people to encourage, and who can encourage us. But that's not the only reason. In fact, the biggest reason I'm going (and it's a different reason today than it was 6 months ago) is to look at gear. We're in a season at Coast where we need to update or upgrade just about every system we have. So I need to look at a lot of gear and meet with a lot of vendors. Here's a sampling of the stuff I'll be looking closely at:
Most of you know, we're in the midst of a process to figure out how to convert our entire lighting system, including house lights, to LEDs. Not sure yet what we'll be going with, but I expect to see some promising fixtures at WFX.
HD-SDI Video Switchers
Our old MX-50 is getting pretty long in the tooth, and is really not meeting our needs. I'm particularly interested in the Panasonic HS-400 and the For-A HVS-300. But then, Sony has a nice one, and the GV Indigo is not out of the running. Maybe even Broadcast Pix (though I'm still leery of a switcher built on XP...)
Wireless Mics and Aviom Systems
I don't really need to look at this stuff--I know what I want. But I'll be shopping a few more vendors for package pricing. And there's always a possibility that I'll see something compelling that will make me re-think my Shure UHF-R and Aviom systems.
Finally, the other reason I'm going is to teach a class or two. I had submitted a few proposals last spring, and one was accepted; The Ins and Outs of In-Ear monitors. Then I was asked to moderate a panel on Using Video to Enhance Services. Then I was asked to sit in on a panel on using Character Generators, Edge Blending and Graphics for Medium to Large Churches. Next, I was asked to lead a roundtable on Troubleshooting. Guess they're really hard up for speakers this year...
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to it. I get to sit at the table with some solid people like Anthony Coppedge, Brad Weston, and Walter Silverman. I'll also be blogging as much as I can from the Expo floor as I find cool stuff. I'm pretty sure my iPhone WordPress app is up and running smoothly now, and I won't be searching for Wi-Fi (assuming I can get 3G coverage inside the convention center. Here's hoping!
And if you're attending WFX this year, be sure to ping me on Twitter. I know we're going to try to meet up with as many CTDRT people as we can.