A few weeks to go until our annual diabetes conference in LA. The course director asked about having a live Twitter feed ticker under the main content. This was a technical challenge, solved in part here on the COW:
As the thread describes, we used a website called Crowd Convergence, which allows social media feeds in a variety of formats and shapes. But since we were not in a broadcast studio, we had to jury rig a solution using 3 video switchers to be able to independently add or remove the ticker, switch I-Mag cameras within a PIP window and switch slide content in another PIP window.
The conference is held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom - the same venue where the post-Oscars Governor's Ball is held. It is kind of cool knowing that the room itself has hosted innumerable filmmakers and actors over the years. Oddly, the space is managed by Wolfgang Puck. Since he caters the Governor's Ball, he decided to build a kitchen and ballroom within walking distance of the Oscar's - or something to that effect.
The ballroom is on the top of Hollywood and Highland, a massive outdoor mall and entertainment complex, next to the Dolby Theater and Chinese Theater. Also adjacent to the Loew's Hollywood Hotel where part of the conference is also held.
And all of this is on Hollywood Blvd, a popular yet seedy part of LA. Most big cities have a Times Square like area, and in LA it is this stretch of Hollywood Blvd at night where you have an odd mix of tourists, costumed characters, homeless teenagers, people cooking sausages and peppers on small gas-fired wagons, lots of traffic and bright lights. Yep, Times Square.
We finished the AV setup about 9pm, and I continued the late night sushi tradition at an awesome place in the complex. Apparently there was a famous actor at the next table, because another patron asked to have a photo taken with him. I quickly turned around to look and it was either Aaron Paul or Dustin Diamond - I have no idea. Why a famous person would go to an outdoor mall for dinner I don't know, although based upon the number of Bentley, Maserati and Porsche cars in front of the Loews, I guess it is a popular spot.
Next 3 days of the event went off without a hitch.
Well there was one potential hitch. One of the presenters, who was to receive an award, was stuck in Europe due to an illness. I was tasked with helping him appear via Skype. Using Skype to talk to a business associate or your parents, computer to computer, or iPad to Android, works ok. But putting this interaction up on a 16 foot screen for an audience of 700, with a total of 15 minutes to test before the main event, is a little dicey.
Luckily we had Rick Disco Duck Dees moderating the session , so we were in good hands! Everything went fine thanks to the use of a mobile hotspot (the wifi provided in the ballroom was dismal, as is often the case in meeting facilities). After the talk, some of the faculty actually posed for photos with the remote presenter on a laptop.
Dinners on this trip included the previously mentioned sushi dinners, a group dinner at Tinhorn Flats (a generally awful Tex-Mex place across from the hotel), and a unique dinner with my old pal from college at Hollywood's historic Musso and Frank's Grill. Google it - interesting place.
My friend, let's call him Lando (he lost that ship to me fair and square) has a variety of entertainment gigs in LA, from play by play during MMA fights, to local tv commercials and gets invited to parties in the Hollywood hills.
Then ol' Lando took me on a walk down Hollywood, past the Scientology building, and down La Breas to Mashti Malone, a unique Persian Ice Cream place. I had coconut, mango and another flavor that escapes me.
With this assignment done, it was off to LAX for a red-eye through some city, and back to Hartford.
This left me less than two weeks to get ready for Part 5....