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Laser Activated Shot Reporter

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Tips for setting up LASR at shows/events

2 years ago
#131 Quote
Whether you are selling yourself as an instructor, or selling the goods, LASR can be a great centerpiece to bring folks in at an event.

That being said, there are some special considerations that the at-home user doesn't usually encounter.

Note: If you are an instructor, you should take a look at the affiliate course: http://lasrapp.com/instructor/info
If you are a LASR dealer, or just a curious soul, you should also take a look through the videos for that course.

Stability:

Targets: Curtains and curtain rods are common features at shows. It seems so easy to put the targets hanging from the rods or stuck to the curtains in some fashion. AVOID THIS. Use a solid back wall or target stands. Those curtains will move around constantly, and even if they do not move around enough to cause lighting problems, it will cause your target zones to get misaligned, and you will have to spend time re-aligning them.

Camera: Tripod, Tripod, Tripod. Makes life so much easier. Even if your camera does not have a tripod mount, some painters tape can usually be used to improvise. The main thing here is when folks are messing around, picking up and setting down weapons, they bump the table. Well, if the table is like most gun-show tables, it was built in the early 1800s and wobbles about 3 inches in any direction. This wobbling also means that your camera is moving, and this presents similar issues to moving targets. 

An alternative to a tripod is to use the back of a chair. We have actually done this several times. A little bit of painters tape and a healthy few inches between the chair and the table make life much easier. Remember, the key thing is to have your camera (and targets) mounted on something that isn't going to be bumped/move around.

Showmanship:

Make some noise: Speakers. Hardwire speakers. Loud ones. Control the volume so you aren't annoying to everyone but be prepared to turn it up. Avoid bluetooth speakers as they are very prone to interference, especially with everyone walking around with phones in their pockets.

Show some screen: TVs or larger monitors, mounted at head height or taller, facing out from the crowd. Don't get so many that they are in the way, but having one up is a good idea. Also, you can set your screensaver to be a video showing LASR or stuff from your classes or whatever. That way when you get to talking to someone for 20 minutes and no one is shooting, there is at least something being shown.

Don't be lethargic: Is traffic flow low at the moment? Do some shooting, make some noise. Make up a drill on the spot and try to beat each other's time/accuracy, or if it is just you working, try to beat your own time. Get creative, throw some reloads in there, use other peoples booths and banners as barricades, do some reloads. Also, KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING, if you are teacupping using crap techniques people will notice, and when you try to talk to them about enhancing their dryfire practice or why they should attend your class, they are much less likely to take you seriously.

2 years ago
#132 Quote

Specifics of Setup

Luring folks in: Competition is your biggest friend. Set up a steel challenge, USPSA, IDPA, whatever course of fire. Not too complicated, or it will scare folks away, but something that looks easy enough until they try to do it. If you have a competition, have cool prizes that everyone would want. Like $300 worth of ammo or something. ALSO, put their name, email, and score into a spreadsheet. Bam, even if they don't win, you have an excuse to send them an email to remind them of your cool products/services and cool booth.

Demoing yourself: This is going to be up to you. If I were a concealed carry instructor, I would probably have a few lifelike targets with a simple draw and shoot drill, and a SIRT or pistol with Laser Ammo with a quickly don-able concealed holster. I would also carry a second one myself for quick demo shoots. Use dryfire and LASR to both lure folks in, and show them WHY they should take your class.

Demoing the software: There is a specific setup that I personally recommend. Seven targets. A lightswitch as the special purpose/reset target. A human form target with a head and chest zones, and one of each shape: triangle, circle, square, diamond. All the actual targets have individual or shared backdrop zones, and all are nicknamed appropriately (circle, diamond, head, etc). This allows you to quickly demo those features. Have the other modes, i.e. reload, setup already, but leave them off at first. Then you can just click on/off to demo them.

Also, leave some empty space on the screen so you can show how quickly and easy the target zones are to draw, etc.

Types of Targets: Stick with your more medium brightness, evenly colored, and smaller targets. You want smaller targets, so it is challenging to folks, and you want medium brightness and color in case the lighting is just terrible. Avoid target that have bright white and super dark black, for instance. Greys, cardboard colors, etc, are all good.


2 years ago
#133 Quote

Lighting:

This is by far the most problematic thing at shows. From folks at adjacent booths messing with flashlights to a giant window next to you with the sun coming in, the main thing to remember is to problem solve. This might involve talking to the guy at the adjacent booth, or having some el-cheapo plastic tablecovers handy in case you need to cover up a window or create a barrier. Also, don't expect to be able to demo laser color detection. Its probably going to be too bright for it to work reliably, so leave that setting off, although we were able to at SHOT 2014 just fine, so you never know til you see the lighting there.

Show lighting is typically much brighter than most people have at home, and you are more likely to see lighting errors. Don't be afraid to lower your exposure setting on the webcam manually if you have to. Also, once you get set up and running, don't be afraid to disable ALL automatic settings, as this prevents your webcam from "fuzzing out" every few minutes or doing goofy stuff. Every little bit of showmanship helps. Very rarely are you going to need a pop-up tent or other overhead cover to lower lighting entirely, so I wouldn't go out and buy one right off the bat, but it is something to keep in mind.

If you are seeing the lighting advisory coming up alot, when no one is shooting, you can head it off by pressing recalibrate and then manually adjusting the calibration bars up. Be careful though, as you can over-adjust and cause shot detection to not work at all, so be sure to test each target after manually adjusting those settings.

Computer:

Obviously, have something reliable. CPU cycle rate is the biggest factor. Faster is better. Make sure you stay in high performance mode and keep your laptop plugged in. Computers running on battery power tend to heat up faster, and you can start to see performance issues after prolonged use.

Touchscreens at shows are good and bad, as sometime folks come up and point to something and change a setting without intending to, but they also make demoing and explaining much easier and sexier. A wireless mouse is a must have for easy setup and quick fixes if things do go awry.

Preparation and planning:

Go alot further than anything else I've mentioned here. Know how to use the software, set up the day before and thoroughly test everything. Plan for traffic flow, and perform rehearsals or thought experiments the day before to spot potential issues.

Lastly, remember, like anything else in life, it is a learning process. Be flexible and learn for next time.