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A Newbie Behind the Scenes: My First Time on Headset!

May 22, 2018 Author: admin Category: Getting Technical with Event A/V, Slide, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

I’ve worked as an event planner since the early 1990’s, producing fundraising, corporate and social events, but the technical production side has always been a mystery to me. When venues asked me about my a/v requirements, I never quite knew what I needed, and I definitely had no idea what those wizards in black in the tech booth were up to!

Since I’m always up to learn new things, I was thrilled when Heidi said I could listen in on comm at an awards dinner Technisch was producing with their partner, Zoom.7. I got there early to meet all the players so I could put a face with a voice at showtime. Keith was manning the audio backstage and showed me the Voice of God mic that the announcer uses to let everyone know what’s coming next. He had all the lavalier mics lined up and numbered so he’d be ready to get people mic’d up at the right time before they hit the stage.

Jim was in his usual position at the main sound board, playing peppy tunes to get everyone pumped up while the team put finishing touches on the setup. He explained how he mixes in the microphone audio with music to keep the show flowing. Under the direction of producer, Scott Thompson of Zoom.7, the team got to know the players pretty well, and matched music to fit their personalities.

Nancy Hart from Zoom.7 was calling the show on this night, which means she’s the big boss. All of the tech crew have headsets on, and she leads them through the show using a run of show document, which details every moment of the plan. This role takes lots of precision and calm, and intimate knowledge of each part of the process.

I watched as the team set up lights, cameras, microphones, and the row of sparkling trophies for the awards. Once everything in the room was in perfect order, Jim cued up the party music and the hotel team drew back the curtains to welcome the excited crowd, all decked in their finest and ready to celebrate. For the first hour, the tech crew’s job was just to keep the music playing and watch the progress of dinner, to determine if the timing would coincide with the awards ceremony plan. Nancy kept everyone apprised of the plan over comm, so the team was ready to go when the show began!

Nancy smoothly orchestrated each element of the awards. Even a relatively simple show like this required so many little details and instructions, and everyone had to be on point. Nancy told Keith when to have the announcer begin speaking, when to mic people up, and when to send people out onto the stage.

The video team got their cues to keep the slides moving, and they had to stay on the ball to make sure the right names came up on the screen for each award. Jim and Nancy worked together like a well-oiled machine, having rehearsed the show several times. Jim kept the music going, switching it up when he felt the room needed a bit more energy, and fading it out when people were talking.

My biggest takeaway from my first time on comm was how many details, technical elements and instructions go into what seems like a simple awards show. It was so evident that this team enjoyed working together, and the conversation on comm was friendly, fun and professional, but always focused on getting the job done right. Usually at an awards show, I’m only thinking about what people are wearing and who wins what award, and only give thought to the tech team when something goes wrong. Now that I know more about the extraordinarily complex dance that goes on behind the scenes, I’ll never watch the Gala Awards in the same way again!

 

Written by Sunshine Woodyard

Women in Event Production: Jamie Jacobs

April 30, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Our series on powerhouse women working in event technology continues with Jamie Jacobs, a Video Engineer based in Orlando, Florida. Jamie taught show production and live audio production courses at Full Sail for two years, and now works independently producing corporate, academic, and music shows in the Orlando area. We caught up with her to learn a bit more about her experience.

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been playing music my whole life, since I was a little kid. At 17 I taught myself the guitar and started writing songs. It was a natural progression to move into production when I decided to attend Full Sail to become a producer. While in my recording arts degree I met Gregg Mandigo. He took me under his wing in live sound reinforcement and I caught a bug for live events. I’d spend Friday and Saturday nights downtown on Wall Street with him, and Sunday mornings at a church where he was the audio director. My first professionally paid gig while still in college was as a stagehand for Beyoncé with Black Onyx Event Services. Now I specialize in both audio and video disciplines as I’ve expanded my career and knowledge base.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in production?

The obvious stigmas. I’ll still get the “hey honey can I help you lift that?” Mostly it’s a factor of men not taking me seriously. I also look pretty young so people assume I don’t know what I’m doing, but I usually win them over by asking the right questions. Eventually I get the respect I deserve for my experience level. I don’t let those stigmas affect me. When I was starting out, I messaged Sylvia Massey, a well-known audio engineer and asked her advice. She said “Just ignore the stigma and do your job and show that you know what you’re doing.”

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

The fact that we don’t have that typical male bravado. We don’t come in there straight out with an ego like a lot of men do. As women we help each other a lot. We counteract our physical weaknesses in comparison to men by sticking together and working as a team. We see more details than men do sometimes, that comes from a woman’s psyche in general. We tend to clean up those little details, the minute things that most people seem to overlook. We’re more able to talk to clients and convey what they’re trying to do through our technical skills.

What is your favorite tech tool?

For video, measuring tapes, laser distance measuring tools, and a multi-tool are my ultimate go-to’s.  I also rely on vector scopes and waveform monitors. We don’t always get chroma charts on show site, but it’s a treat when we do. And for audio, I like to use Tweaker, Q-box, adapters, and headphones.

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

Ignore the stigmas, put your pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and do your job to the best of your ability. Know what you’re worth. Ask questions when you’re unsure of something you’re doing. Work safely. Walk with purpose, and hustle! Don’t try to lift anything more than you’re capable of just to prove something to the men around you, and always lift with your legs!

RFP Checklist: How to Develop an A/V Services RFP for your event

March 01, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Event Production Tips, Slide  0 Comments

For meeting and event planners new to working with audiovisual services, it’s often hard to know what you need. You have a good idea in your head of what you’d like the event to look like, the material you want to share, and how the speakers should be presented.  But translating that into a service order can be nerve-wracking- you don’t want to forget anything vital!

First of all, you’ll want to provide your company background, the purpose for the meeting, venue details, and equipment requirements for each location and segment of your meeting. But going beyond this, you also want to make sure that the A/V company or event production company you choose has the equipment and expertise to handle your request. That’s why we’ve come up with this checklist- we hope it will be helpful when you’re putting out an RFP for your next event!

 

Want to make this checklist your own? Email heidi@technischcreative.com for an editable version that you can use to make all of your future RFPs more comprehensive, so you’ll get better bids!

3 reasons to bring your own A/V team for a hotel event

February 26, 2018 Author: admin Category: Getting Technical with Event A/V, Slide  0 Comments

It’s a little known secret in the meetings and conventions industry: meeting planners don’t have to use the hotel’s in-house provider for their audiovisual needs when holding an event. Major convention hotels have in-house providers, outside companies who keep equipment at the hotel for use during meetings, and many think these companies have a monopoly on A/V for hotel events. But that’s just not true. As a meeting planner, you have the choice of your own A/V provider and can select one of your own for equipment rental, A/V production, and stage management. When you work with Technisch Creative, we help you determine your requirements so you can decide whether the in house A/V or an outside company is the best option for you.


Reason 1: Modern Technology.

Many in-house systems are dated and well-worn, with uncertain reliability. Just because a microphone and PA or projector is convenient for the A/V company to set up, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your event. Often times the maintenance schedule of the in house equipment is not as current as an outside company with quality control processes in place. At Technisch Creative, we invest in the latest technology for our clients, so we can bring in the best equipment to execute the job with the highest standards.

Reason 2: Service. 

Generally speaking, in house A/V companies exist for the meeting planner’s convenience. Their model is to provide easy access to the most commonly used pieces of equipment. The model of an outside A/V company is to provide the equipment you need to do the job right. At Technisch Creative, we take the time to understand the goals and objectives of the event and we plan accordingly. We become part of your team. When something glitches, we’ve got your back!


     

Reason 3: Value.

It’s hard to make a decision on numbers alone. Often times, the in house company has a higher retail price of the equipment rentals, but can offer added benefits like free wifi or rigging fees. An outside A/V company can offer added benefits, as well, that may not appear as a line item. Include services can vary from creative design work, stage management, and directing the show. When you are evaluating supplier contracts, consider the value of piece of mind and working with a team you trust.

Technisch Creative at The Special Event Conference in New Orleans

February 14, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

Take a look at Technisch Creative in action at The Special Event Conference and Tradeshow. The Special Event (TSE) is an annual gathering of event planners, designers and producers from all over the world. We were privileged to lead the production for the Opening General Session, chaired by Nicole Bernardi and Brad Wilson, the Gala Awards, chaired by Scott Frankel, and Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List, chaired by our own Heidi Brumbach, CMP. The Technisch Creative team worked closely with the Informa staff to manage all the logistics of the production, in addition to providing the sound, lighting, and video equipment for the event.

Heidi Brumbach, CMP, CEO of Technisch Creative, has served five times as an Event Chair for the conference. She continued this role in 2018, as well as serving as the technical producer for the general sessions, bringing a crew of 20 Technisch Creative team members.

The presentation featured 3 large screens to span over 100′ and scenic pieces provided by Atomic Design, Inc., which became projection surfaces for 3D video mapping. We worked with content producers from Innovative Entertainment at the Opening General Session and Animatic Media for the Gala Awards (both pictured below) . We combined rear projection utilizing stacked Epson laser projectors for the main screens, and 20k Barco projectors on the front projection for the mapped content. The result was a bright, vibrant and sharp picture.

Our amazing video crew, lead by Robert Carson, integrated a 9th projector and 7 additional media sources for showcases during Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List, an annual feature that introduces top entertainment acts and products for events.

Overall, the sessions showcased the expertise of seasoned professionals from more than 40 sponsors under the direction of Technisch Creative. Over 2000 meeting and event industry professionals attended with a critical eye, collecting ideas for their own events. We were thrilled with the outcome and look forward to next year in San Diego!