According to Eventia, the events and live marketing industry trade organisation, in 2011 there were 1.3m UK business events attended by 103m delegates, 57% of which were for the corporate sector.
AV Magazine, the UK’s leading audio-visual publication for end-user and trade AV buyers, reported UK spend on events production and staging in that year was £600m of a total AV market of £2.8bn.
While these numbers are estimates, it is clear that the public sector, charities and company management teams place considerable value on live events to communicate with stakeholders, customers, prospects or suppliers; spending significantly in time, effort and money in the process.
The Media Powerhouse team works with event management companies, communication agencies, AV consultants and leading venues to create stunning live events for the client. Whether it is a new product launch for key accounts at a top class hotel or a conference for thousands at a major venue we have learned over many years the critical elements for success. In this first of two articles we share 5 of those top 10 technical tips to ensure a successful live event.
Media Powerhouse Technical Tips for a Top Event
1. Clarify your event objectives
Give careful consideration to the type of venue required and what you want to achieve. Key aspects are:
- Audience size and configuration
- Stage set and layout
- Audience:screen ratio. In general, a screen should be at least as wide as 1/6th of the distance between it and the viewer on the back row. A screen should be at least 0.3m below the ceiling and 1 metre above the floor.
- Ceiling height and roof loading
- Load in route and storage
- Power facilities and black out options
- Presentation graphic resolution with embedded video will require powerful processing
- Separate video replay requires good data vision mixer
- Video graphic fold-back and prompter or notes
- Quantity of radio microphones, audio playback, music tracks to be selected
- Cueing and timing devices
- Special lighting, scenery movement, stage furniture and moving rigging
- Recording for archive, live streaming or online marketing
- Does the venue have the right style or vibe? Is it in keeping with the audience and the message?
- Is the venue available?
- Delegate logistics and movement, especially on arrival, catering and departure
- Clear signage – digitally or conventionally
- Arrange room seating only when the set and equipment is fully rigged
- Remove the seating promptly once the event concludes
- Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations
- Check fire exit signage and exit routes are clear and unlocked
4. Plan carefully in advance
As Yogi Berra, renowned US baseball coach commented, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else”; so a good plan, developed by an experienced team, is vital.
- Select your event partners well in advance
- Involve the technical experts at all times
- Coordinate and compile all event elements before going onsite
- Ensure you use an up to date floor plan and technical design
- Maintain regular technical production meetings
Henry Kissinger spoke on behalf of the events industry when he said: “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full”. Author and management guru, Dr Stephen Covey, summed up the essence of effective event management thus: “The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”. So take care to:
- Schedule pre-show tasks, responsibilities and timelines
- Allow sufficient time for set-up, installation and rehearsal
- Establish key timings for the duration of the show
- Remember that de-rig and load out can be as complex and time consuming as set-up and may have additional constraints especially in popular venues or late at night.
In summary, if you clarify objectives, agree content, choose a great venue, plan carefully and schedule realistically you’ll be starting well. In the next article we’ll share the other five technical tips for event excellence.