Because we’d like for you to get to know the people behind Procraft Media as more than just caricatures of #avtweeps, we are letting you in on some Q & As that we’ve had with some of our employees.
First up is Jason Schwartzel, who makes his home in Loveland, Colorado with his wife, Courtney, and their son, Alden.
Q. What is your role at Procraft Media? My official title is Sr. Design Engineer. What that translates to is that I design projects from a perspective of fantasy. That is, what are the client’s wishes and dreams? They have a workflow in place and I try to match an audio/visual control system to help enhance their workflow. So, if the client represents a house of worship, then I’m creating a system that will enhance their worship service; for a business it could be to enhance inner communication; a theater would be looking for a system that enhances the performance of the artists.
Q. What is involved in that engineering and design process?
As an engineer, I take the idea of what we can enhance in the client’s workflow or process with AV control systems and I turn that into a practical system that can be built. That’s done by designing the system on paper, then reviewing equipment that will be utilized to build that system. Then a document package is created and delivered to our operations department who will then implement the design. So, the quote fall back on is: “we build a system twice.”
We build it once on paper and then once in real life. The “once on paper” helps to eliminate 80-90% of the possible errors we could run into in the real-life build, trying to build it haphazardly in the field with just a bunch of parts.
Q. How did you get started in the AV industry? What was your background that led into that?
My background comes from being a musician in the late 80s/early 90s. I began to see that my personality liked to marry the creative and the analytical together. The musician side was the creative part, but I started to have an interest in the science of sound. I started to get into recording because as a musician, you want to record your music, but that requires some knowledge of the technical aspects of how sound gets into a recording system. Then I started doing live sound, mixing bands in clubs and that sort of thing and that’s when I started getting a real interest for systems that can be built to enhance the music.
That then evolved into doing touring, and then installation work. I stayed with the installation work because I didn’t have to travel as much and I didn’t have to take the system down at the end of the night. That was the start and now it’s evolved into not just sound, but television, broadcast, lighting, and all control systems that touch the entertainment industry.
Q. What do you enjoy most about working for Procraft Media?
As a company, Procraft pretty much represents all the things I like about what I do, which is creative problem solving. Creative problem solving is the basis of what gets me up in the morning and makes me want to do the things at work.
Now, it just so happens that audio, video, control, lighting… all of these disciplines are very cool and interesting…. but they are also fraught with challenges. Every need is completely unique and different and I get to come up with a unique solution.
Sometimes, though, the idea you had initially isn’t quite working out exactly right, so you have to improvise and try to figure out how to make it work with the tools you have, you know, like MacGyver, and that’s very fun too.
I didn’t know that at first when I first got started. I just did it because I discovered, “oh, I can make money at this and it’s fun,” but I learned throughout my life and my career that being able to creatively problem solve is what I like and what I really enjoy. And, Procraft provides the context in which I get to do that.
Q. Is there anything coming down the pipe at Procraft that you’re excited about?
Again, we’re back to my love for creative problem solving! We have some theme park projects coming up which I am really very happy about. To me, theme parks are the apex of creativity and problem solving for any designer.
We also have another cool project coming up with the city of Cincinnati Public Radio who recently received a grant to rebuild their broadcast facility.
Q. What words of advice would you have for anyone interested in getting started in the industry? Oh, give me a call. 100%. Like many industries, ours is in need of people who have the know-how for the job. Fortunately, Procraft has developed a very robust training program that is entry level and requires only attitude and aptitude. If you’ve got a good attitude and you have an interest in technology then it would be great for you. At the beginning of 2024 we should be rolling out our introductory 1-week course… a boot camp,if you will, which will be a lead-in for our full 8-week program called Solid Set of Hands. Aside from that course, which I am really excited about and cannot recommend too highly, if you really are interested, it’s just like any new thing: keep your ears and mind open because this is a very fast-changing industry, so be mindful of best-practices and standards.
Q. Outside of work, what are your interests, hobbies, passions, and pursuits?
I’m pretty much all about anything outdoors: mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, all of that kind of thing. I also enjoy restoring old houses, which is good, because that’s what I’ve spent the summer doing, a lot of restoration work on our very old house.
Learn More about Procraft Media
You can get to know more about Procraft and our wonderful employees by checking out the interview we did with Sarah Reed, our Project Manager: Inside Look: Women in the AV Industry. And, if, like Jason, you are excited about the role of AV technology in theme parks, be sure to read: Transforming Theme Park Experiences:Unleashing the Magic of AV Technology