JAG Members Help Decide Conference Operational Sessions

by Bob Duthaler, Executive Board, Chair

When it comes to determining what stations need to operate efficiently and optimally, JAG members spoke up at our last meeting during our discussion session.  Members expressed their interest in conference sessions which they would like to see as part of our annual conference.  The purpose of this discussion topic was to shape the direction of our annual conference.  In case you were not aware, our event will take place May 24-26th of this year.  This year’s conference will be a hybrid event.  Wednesday, May 25th we are holding our Trade Show at the Crowne Plaza in Edison, NJ.  The show will run from 8:30am-4:30pm, followed by a special Users workshop, cocktail hour, banquet and the JAG Awards.  Tuesday, May 24th and Thursday, May 26th will be our virtual conference sessions. 

Picking up on last year’s successful virtual conference, JAG will continue that this year.  The purpose was to allow people to get away for one day for an in-person trade show and then bookend that with two days of virtual sessions.  The goal of the conference committee was to help ease our members back into the full conference mode.  Having an in-person trade show in which vendors show off their latest products and services, holding user’s groups and then a networking gathering was what our members were looking forward too.  But we also understood that most municipalities and members were not willing to commit to a full three-day event out of their office and multiple days away.  Although we all look forward to that, we thought now was not that time.  This is where the hybrid expo and conference were the right step. 

So, what did our members want to see at this year’s conference?  Our members are interested in learning more ways, techniques, skills, and technology that will help them take their station operations to the next level.  With that thought in mind, our conference committee worked hard trying to find the right panelists for the sessions in which our members are interested.  With that thought in mind, we not only tapped our member stations that are already doing incredible things, but we reached out to others outside of our organization to get a feel for what others are doing and is possible for us as well.  This year’s conference will have a balance of operational information, production techniques and legislative updates as well.

We are all looking for ways to operate our stations in the most effective manner — Learning from others who are already doing some of the things we are interested in doing.  How are stations handling live streaming from remote locations?  How are they incorporating multi-camera shoots or enhanced single camera shoots with graphics and commentary?  How can you leverage cellular data, public internet, and dedicated internet drops?  Think of this as a master’s session on streaming.  Speaking of masters, we will gather people from around the country who have firsthand knowledge of franchising, what stations are asking for, what are the cable companies willing to give and unique asks for your station.  This is one of those sessions that will teach you things you didn’t even realize you needed to know.  To round things out, we will continue our manager’s round table discussion, but on steroids.  We will continue to discuss ways to increase our productivity and creativity, but also technically.  What better way than to add some industry technicians to the conversation.  Find out what stations and project managers had to undertake to increase their technology, some of their success stories and how to avoid the pitfalls they may have run into.  This is an open and free flowing conversation.  Your questions and interest will help steer and guide the conversation.  Think of this as your chance to ask the questions perhaps only a technician and engineer can answer.

Our conference sessions will continue to have several productions sessions throughout the two days (along with user’s groups on tradeshow day).  Want to see good video?  Then the “Light Your Way to Good Video” will be a session you do not want to miss.  We will discuss everything from run and gun lighting techniques and studio lighting to one on one interview lighting.  Find out the right fixtures for the right job and what you need to do to light the way to better video.  We also have two other production sessions to enhance your production quality and creativity.  We are bringing in two industry veterans and award-winning producers.  In one of our sessions, learn about documentary film making and how to use that information in creating documentary style marketing video shorts.  These can be used to promote events and to create department or township informational videos.  Combine those sessions with another from the current chapter president of the NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – EMMYS).  Find out what it takes to take your production to the next level.  What goes in to creating an award-winning video?

Rounding out the offerings are other sessions, including “Ask The Lawyers”, which is your chance to learn more about legislative challenges, FCC rulings and more.  Perhaps you just want to know about using drones, music background or understand fair use.  Come prepared to ask your own questions and take notes on things you need to know.  Enjoy a session on “Social Media – It’s Not Just Facebook”, where you can learn the right way to post, share and gain more likes.  Learn more about the latest social media trends including Instagram and Tic-Tok.  As you can see, this is going to be two full days of intense learning, mind opening creativity and a roadmap to next level of operations and productions.  Again, these sessions were designed after hearing from our members and understanding our needs.  But you can only take advantage of these sessions if you register for the conference.  We have created our own conference website that is not only an informational site prior to the event, but the landing point for the conference, sessions and live “main stage” interviews throughout the event.  For more information and to register yourself, staff and crew for this year’s Eastern Video Expo and Conference, visit our website at www.easternvideoexpo.com  and I will see you at this year’s show!