A frequent question I’m asked is, “what are the most important things I should look for in a piece of gear?”
I have three answers to this question regardless of whether it’s audio, video, lighting, or any other gear.
The first two are pretty obvious and related: What do I need a specific piece of gear to do both now and in the near future and what will give me the most bang for my buck.
When I’m helping someone determine the right item for them, the first thing I’m looking for is all of the things this new item needs to do.
As we discuss what they know they need, my job is to help figure out what they don’t yet realize they want as well.
So many churches don’t have anyone knowledgeable on staff nor involve a capable integrator to help them buy the item that will help them for years to come as opposed to just what they see they need now.
For larger purchases and projects I highly recommend working with a good consultant or integrator for this very reason. Their job is to help you figure out what you need now as well as in the foreseeable future and then help you narrow down the products that can meet both needs.
This step is so critical because a little forethought into what you will need in the foreseeable future can save you a great deal of money in the long run.
If you were looking at video switchers and went with one that had just enough inputs now, but then needed to expand in three years, you would have been better off by purchasing what you would need up front instead of purchasing both.
The second response is that you must figure out which item option gives you the most ability and flexibility for the money you will spend. For larger purchases this should absolutely include getting hands on time with the item before purchasing.
Sticking with the video switcher analogy, if you’ve found 3 switchers that will meet the needs and all have a variety of added features, functionality and usability, those all need to factor in.
For instance, one switcher may take all of your inputs, your preview and your program output and combine it to one screen for you. This can be a valuable function as one of the other switchers could require video splitters and numerous monitors in order for you to be able to monitor the inputs.