Events producers will need to deploy an increasingly wide-ranging and sophisticated set of solutions as the live events business reawakens to meet the demands of expectant consumers and customers. Many are looking to deliver an immersive experience that begins right at the entrance to the venue.
“The ability to engage remote guests, attendees and audiences in an interactive way is crucial to AV going forward – remote participants and local participants can truly be integrated together like never before,” says Liam Hayter, Senior Solutions Architect, NewTek. “This means remote participants and local participants can truly be integrated together like never before.”
“People do want to get back into the room together, so we are starting to see a paring back of the online element as clients evaluate the new normal,” reports Jason Larcombe, Senior Project Manager, White Light.
“The private market is buoyant with clients willing to spend money. Having not been able to do anything for 18 months the feeling is ‘let’s get on and do something big’.”
This strong desire to do something different and concern to present their brand at its best seems to be translating into bespoke staging and designs that incorporate more AV. The trends are less about using a traditional set and more about having a flexible AV screen or screens onto which can be placed any content they want.
“Whether you’re doing hybrid, streamed or in-person events, you have the same requirement when it comes to creating a ‘wow factor’ for your audience and effective storytelling,” says Trond Solvold, Sales Director, Dataton. “Technical expertise, quality of content, reliable delivery and willingness to go that extra mile – that’s what pro-AV production companies have always brought to the table.”
There’s considerable interest in using LED screens and projection to create a canvas to bring in other speakers to the presentation and to connect groups to the event from around the world.
“Virtual displays, flexible backdrops, NDI, multiple layers and keying are being used more creatively than ever,” says Solvold. “That goes for fixed installs, live events and studio work. AV pros now don’t bat an eyelid when they set up hybrid events using multiple NDI streams, a spectacular studio set with big-screen projection and imaginative LED configurations, plus mapped elements, for a primarily online audience.”
AV technology is malleable enough to take contributors and presenters from anywhere in the world, and for the event to be received by anyone anywhere in the world. By doing this, live event producers enable an equally engaging experience whether they are remote or onsite participants.
“We see this as an enabler to more collaboration in the long term,” says Hayter. “We believe connecting multiple spaces in a collaborative, fully bi-directional manner is a critical AV use that enables multiple new avenues for creativity.”
What this dynamic does mean is that stage and set lighting must now be designed with the camera in mind rather than just for the venue itself.
“There is only one distinct discipline in live lighting which is lighting the person on the stage,” says Larcombe. “Everything else is classed as a pixel. You are using that pixel as a video stream, as a series of lights mapped or coloured. As the on-stage canvas widens to integrate video, LED and projection so the job of the lighting designer merges with the scenic production designer and the AV designer to become almost one role: the visual designer. The division between when light stops being a fixture and starts being eye candy or a video product has blurred – and that blurring will only continue.”