Hello! Firstly my name is Sean Copeland and I am a Junior AV Engineer with CDEC. I joined CDEC about 7 months ago with the intention of using this role as a learning platform to build a career within the AV industry. Prior to this I worked in AV as a warehouse technician for an events company but I wanted to move into the installation side of things. To set me up for a career in AV I spent three years at Southampton Solent University where I gained a Bachelor’s degree in Live and Studio Sound, which gave me a solid foundational knowledge of the equipment used within the AV world. This blog will follow a day-long hall install we recently completed at a primary school in Norwich and describe what an average day looks like for me.
6:30am: This is the time my working day usually begins as I travel to the site in the van CDEC has provided me. Today I have a longer than usual commute as the job is in Norwich which is about a 2-3hour drive from where I live in Kent.
9am: We arrive at the school and can begin the work we are scheduled to do. Our first task is to find our point of contact on site to discuss the project and answer any questions or requests they might have. Once we have met with our contact we are shown to the school hall where we will be working and the location of the equipment we will be installing. In this case we are installing a 2m-wide projection screen along with a short-throw projector and four speakers mounted in each corner of the room in a stereo layout. Along with this we will be installing a 42” screen in the school’s reception which will be connected to Onelan digital signange.
9:45am: Now that the planning side of things is out of the way the bulk of our work begins. The first part of the job is to unload all of the tools we will need from the van and move them into the school hall. We begin with the installation of the 42” screen; this is an old screen that has been stored by the school so first we need to transport it to the reception and place it on the wall. My role during this part of the install is to gather the power and network cables required to connect the screen to the Onelan box and provide power to the screen while my colleague Steve Jackson, an AV Engineer at CDEC, mounts the screen onto the wall.
10:30am: The screen is now installed onto the wall and connected to the school’s network. We then move on to the main bulk of the work for that day, the hall install. When we enter the hall our first task is to unpack all of the equipment from the delivery boxes to ensure all items are present and there are no physical signs of damage. After the kit is unpacked the first step of the install is to mount the 2m projection screen onto the wall along with the short-throw projector. During this part of the process I start mounting the projector onto part of the mount whilst assisting Steve by finding and handing him several tools to pass up the ladder to him while he places the mounts for the projection screen into the desired location. Once these are in place it then becomes a team effort to mount the screen into place, with both of us climbing up ladders and clicking the screen into place followed by us putting the safety clips in.
12:30pm: Now the screen is on the wall Steve moves on to finishing the projector mount and mounting it above the screen before cabling the projector up to a connection plate, sourcing power for the projection screen and projector whilst placing all cables into trunking. Whilst he does this I start the task of mounting the new speaker system and connecting them to the prebuilt audio rack that had been delivered to site. Luckily on this occasion, as this was a new-build hall, the speaker cable had been pre-run through the walls by an electrician, saving us the task of running our own cable. For me, audio equipment has always been my strongest point within AV so completing this task allows me showcase my knowledge of the equipment whilst using the installation techniques I have learnt whilst with CDEC.
1:45pm: We have now finished the installation part of the day so we move on to testing all of the equipment to ensure we have been successful in our task. I can happily say that everything on this occasion worked without any issues. Once testing has been completed we move on to the fun task of cleaning up all of the mess that comes with installing AV equipment, as we always aim to leave the space in the same clean condition we found it in. Once we have tidied up our work area and have everything working we find our point of contact to give them a demo of their new AV equipment and answer any final questions.
2:30pm: The client has been shown the install and is more than happy with the work we have done, so with our completed sign off sheet we start our two and a half hour journey home.
So, this is what a usual day for looks like for me. More often than not we will complete jobs like the above but at multiple different locations across the South of England.
What I find the most enjoyable about being an Engineer is that every day brings a new challenge to solve. This has allowed me to grow my skills within the AV industry as I am able to learn from a skilled engineer whilst getting hands on with multiple different types of AV equipment in various different environments. Day to day I am able to keep these skills fresh as our timetable is filled with various difference maintenance and install jobs which allow new learning opportunities.
So far in my 7 months with CDEC I have been able to learn so much from my junior role, and I have been given the tools to allow me, in time, to become an AV engineer. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring and the new challenges I will face that will enable me to grow my skills and develop myself within this job role.