By Gene Martin; PhD
Riderwood Village has a great deal of audio, video, and lighting equipment in our classrooms and meeting rooms, Encore Theater, Maryland Hall, the Chapel, some catering rooms, and the Celebrations Room. As you can imagine, a lot of work goes into keeping this equipment operating, making the specific equipment available, and the room set-up that is needed for a class or entertainment event or a memorial.
For a majority of events, this equipment is operated by a resident who volunteered to learn how and gives his or her time to make possible the events you enjoy. Of course, during the day, meetings such as “Conversations with Administration” are staffed by employees. So, both residents and staff members operate the audio, video, and lighting equipment.
In the past, having both groups using the facilities created difficult problems of communication and coordination. Additionally, resident operators varied widely in their proficiency with the equipment while training for them was informal when it was even available. Even with the best of intentions, operator error took its toll on equipment.
What replacements, upgrades, and redesigns would bring us up-to-date and resolve technical problems? Who would recruit new operators? How would resident operators be trained to use new equipment? How best could those resident operators communicate and coordinate with the several administrative units involved in Community Resources, Catering, and Housekeeping? Would we have staff with a higher level of A/V expertise?
During the last year, three major steps have been taken to address these issues. A highly qualified audio engineer, Mike Frimpong, was hired. Executive Director Gary Hibbs chartered a joint resident and staff council to address equipment and coordination issues, recruit and train users, and consider future plans. And, with that Council’s support, major upgrades were installed in the Encore Theater, Maryland Hall, the Chapel, classrooms, etc. Operator training is getting underway.
Next month and in following months, we will report more fully on both the membership and activities of the Riderwood Audiovisual Advisory Council (RAVAC) and the improvements that have already been made. We will report on some long-range planning underway, and invite your comments on any and all of these issues.