Apr 18, 2017Vacation Days 3-5 – Working

 Final Video on the Electronic Billboard at KC Live! Kansas City, Missouri

What no vacation pictures?

Before leaving on vacation I ran out of time to complete a couple of tasks that needed to be done while I was away. The creation of the artwork for ‘Feather banners’, some 3′ x 8′ Banners, and a postcard handout. This is all for a big event I’m working on May 5-7, which had got booked after I’d found out about the wedding. We decided to cut short our vacation so that I could get back and deal with the additional workload.

Knowing I had a few bits of artwork to produce I got the MacBook all patched up-to-date, and made sure all the apps and files I’d need were up-to-date before we left. All I had to do was download the banner and postcard templates from the printer, create the artwork and then upload it all to the printer’s website.

That was before we rented two weeks display time on an electronic billboard. I got to hear about this while I was getting ready to leave. Not just any old billboard, this one is twenty plus feet wide and on the top of the building where one of the events is being held. Oh, and the artwork has to be with them by Wednesday April 17.

Creating the slideshow and editing the video proved to be another issue.

My initial plan for the billboard was to take a poster flyer I’d already created and re-work it to the necessary aspect ratio. Then I checked some pictures of the billboard and re-read the specs. A still image wouldn’t do, this needed video. I’ve not produced an electronic billboard ad. before, and I know nothing of the psychology, best practices etc. behind them. So I designed a short slide show giving what I thought should be the key messages / calls to action.

Creating the slideshow and editing the video proved to be another issue. The MacBook refused to do anything except in Extra … Slow … Time … After spending part of Wednesday trying to work with it, I gave up, and borrowed Ginger’s laptop. Of course, then I had to waste an entire day installing all the software and downloading all the files I needed.

Looking for the templates for the banners that was supposed to be my only ‘vacation work’, I found out (via a telephone call to the printer) that they don’t provide any templates. I’ll not work with a printer who cannot provide templates. I’m supposed to guess the angles of the feather banners? So now I had the additional task of finding a new printer, plus source stands etc. Ginger searched for a new supplier for the banners while I created slides and edited the video. At least Ginger’s Windows laptop worked – unlike the MacBook. So that’s what I spent the next few days doing.

The feedback I got on the video I produced was that it had too many slides, so taking advantage of the UK – US time difference, I cut a new version on Tuesday morning (Vacation Day Seven).

At the earliest opportunity the MacBook is going in the trash.

So I lost a huge chunk of my vacation to work (around 40 hours). Neither Ginger nor I were particularly amused. We had planned on visiting friends in Dorset and finding a hotel on the Dorset coast. Those plans had to be scrapped. In the end, we decided to stay in the Portsmouth area and make the best of it – though we’d have to move out of Rob and Gail’s early Wednesday. So we booked into the hotel we were going to stay at for the wedding and stayed there a few extra days. Having a rental car sitting outside the door costing money while I was working was pretty darned annoying, to say the least.

At the earliest opportunity, the MacBook is going in the trash. It has let me down in meetings, where it was supposed to provide the video link. It froze solid when it was being used to project slides at the annual convention. It is a total liability.

Copyright © 2017 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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