Work Placement with Streamtec, by Erin Niven, Media Services (AV) Technician Apprentice
My time with Streamtec, an AV integrator company, based out in Arbroath, was split up over two weeks, to ensure I was allocated to jobs that I would benefit from.
My first three days were split up between working onsite and some time in their Arbroath office. On site, I worked in Edinburgh at the National Health Service Conference Centre, where we had three rooms to remove old equipment from and install new equipment in. I spent my time in the office, working on system design with their Managing Director, and configuring systems with their Programmer.
Working onsite with Streamtec’s two integrators was a brilliant experience. Our job was to remove old equipment and install brand new systems and equipment into 3 different rooms within the conference centre. These rooms were to have new monitors installed. Two of the rooms had the same setup, 60” Samsung LCD Monitors with Kramer Viva systems installed, to make the TV collaborative for use in meetings. The remaining room had a large 75” interactive Promethean screen installed – a very heavy install to carry out! The jobs were a fantastic opportunity to gain a general overview of what happens when carrying out the onsite install, from the consultation at the beginning, then the install itself, to the paperwork and handover at the end, to show the client how the system works, and to ensure that they are happy with what has been achieved.
Following this, I spent some time with the Managing Director, to learn about system design and how really simple it is. It is about knowing how to start the documentation, to make it easier for yourself. You start off with little building blocks and then make it bigger. He showed me how to do it and I completed a very basic system design. When carrying out the system design, it is best to start with the main inputs and outputs (inputs: touch panel to control the system, outputs: projector and visualizer) that you are looking to get connected together. Once this is outlined, filling in the gaps, with the right cables and connectors/converters, is the easiest part.
Following on from this, I then spent a day with their AV programmer. We looked at how to configure a basic Extron push button panel, followed by a more complex touch panel interface. I managed to get the hang of creating projects on both rather easily. Extron’s GUI software to configure these types of products can be very easy to understand, as you have a virtual version of what you are needing to program. You configure buttons on the screen with different commands, rather than writing out long scripts of commands. I managed to create and upload/build a program onto the Extron TPL (Touchpanel) and had it switching between sources, and was able to control the volume efficiently. Which I am super proud of! I was also given the opportunity to create basic programs to test systems in the office before they were deployed out to their clients.
In my second week I was working alongside a rack builder. He ensures that when big projects are going on, all racks are built offsite, following the system design drawings, before being taken away by the AV installers to be fitted onsite. When building racks, to be installed as a part of the projects Streamtec carry out, we have to build rack cabinets full of the new equipment and then we try to cable up as much as we can as some of the cabling can only be done onsite. When doing cabling I learned about captive screw connectors and also about soldering, mainly on XLR & RS232/serial cables. When installing the racks we must ensure there is some sense as to the order equipment is fitted, and we need to make sure cables are labelled and tidy, instead of a massive abundance of cables that do not make sense to any user.
I really enjoyed my work experience with Streamtec, they have given me a great insight into the AV industry and have provided me with skills that I will always remember and keep practicing. Work experience is a great way to get a taster of different industries and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!