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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: Heidi Brumbach

April 19, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Production Tips, Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Today we start our new series, taking a look at the powerhouse women working in the technical side of events. And who better to kick off the series than our very own CEO, Heidi Brumbach? We sat down with Heidi to learn more about her experience.

How did you get started in the industry?

I grew up a dancer. I was lucky enough to work professionally in some great productions that exposed me to some very advanced technology. I also worked in venues with practically NO technology! But I learned production from both experiences.

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

I’ve had times when crew members that don’t know me assumed I couldn’t be in charge, because I’m a girl. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten that vibe, so maybe times have changed!

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

As a woman, I think I’m more approachable to a lot of meeting planners than some of the techs. Having a CMP helps, too 😉

What is your favorite tech tool?

My iPhone! I couldn’t live without it.

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

Always learn. Keep your eyes open and watch how things are done. Get your hands dirty and be prepared to do some heavy lifting. Never wait for someone to do the hard work for you.

 

 

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!

Hiring an Event Management Partner

March 18, 2017 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Event Production Tips  0 Comments

So you’ve decided to have an event, and you’re not sure whether or not you need professional assistance. A good event management company should be an asset to your event, not a liability. They will bring knowledge and experience to the table which can help you save time and money. But not all event managers are created equal. Here are a few tips to help you find the right professional.

Ask about their experience. Event planning sounds like a glamorous job, which is one reason why event planning and management companies are popping up all over the world. However, there is no licensing or education required for one to call themselves an event planner, so ask to see examples of past jobs. And if they have beautiful pictures to show you, make sure they explain what their involvement was in the event pictured. Did they actually manage the event, or were they a volunteer helping with a small portion of the event?

Ask for references and follow up with them. It’s invaluable to find out what a past client’s experience was like. Make sure that you get a list of past client references and not personal references. Also, does the company have a list of repeat clientele? Consider checking with these clients, because repeat business is a testament to the quality of their work.

Ask about the company’s relationship with venues that you are considering for your event. An experienced professional should be able to work in most environments, but it can be an added bonus if they are experienced working with a particular venue. This can help save you a lot of time and expense with labor scheduling, site visits, and any union issues that could arise.

Ask how the company will charge for their service. Is it an hourly charge or is it a percentage of the event? Are they contracting and paying the vendors or will you be responsible for payments? If the company is responsible for paying the vendors, do they have good credit terms? If they are not responsible for contracting and paying the vendors, you will need to make sure that each vendor is properly licensed and insured.

Ask if the company owns/operates their own equipment. Some event management companies are able to provide services such as audio/visual production, decor, rentals, etc. in house, which may help reduce the end price. If they do not own or operate the equipment themselves, find out who are their partners in service.

Ask about the company’s network. Do they have access to unique ideas and services for your event? Are they current on industry trends?

Ask the name of the individual on staff that will be in charge of your event. After the contract is signed, will you work with an event coordinator throughout the process? Will that individual be on site for the event? If there is an intern or assistant coordinating the details during the planning phase, how are they being supervised?

Ask if they will be responsible for assuring the load out and clean up will be completed according to the facility’s requirements. Every event has an ending, and the clean up is an important part of the production. There may be fees involved if anything is left behind, so someone needs to be in charge to be sure the job is complete.

Ask for an example of how they’ve handled an emergency. If there’s one thing all experienced event managers will agree on, it’s that things never go exactly as planned. A good event manager will be able to analyze the situation and make quick, informed decisions to keep the event on track. The ability to make good decisions is what makes a good event manager great.

The Crew Eats, Too

January 04, 2017 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

A guide to the proper care and feeding of your production team

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM, and James S. Rota

From the Beauty:

Regardless of what you’re planning, it’s key to know your audience. Today we put a spotlight on the backbone of almost all productions: the production crew. These are the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs seamlessly from a production standpoint. Their hours are long, usually starting before the sun rises and finishing long after it sets. They often go unnoticed, but they should not be forgotten.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Have a food allergy list for your crew as well as your attendees.
  • Set up a beverage station with hot and cold beverages that are refreshed throughout the day.
  • Offer food selections that can be eaten hot or at room temperature. The crew may eat in shifts.
  • Offer healthy options that keep energy levels consistent.
  • Treat your crew as you would any valued attendee or staff member.
  • Properly feeding the crew creates solid morale, which translates into more motivation to work hard.

From the Brain:

The production team is in the spotlight if a projector fails, sound quality is poor or if any number of other technical snafus occur, so you want the best of the best at the helm.

Dedicated crews arrive earlier than most and are often last to leave. Installation and tear down requires physical and mental energy and, while the show is running, these folks are the nerve center of your operation.

It’s ironic that people who are critical to successful content delivery are often overlooked, if not ignored. Here are a few ways to correct that while improving your show quality:

  • Contract enough time for load-in and strike and avoid overnight load-ins. If something goes wrong during setup, there are few options for replacement equipment. Speakers likely won’t have time to rehearse and your program is at risk of starting late. Additionally, your cue-to-cue rehearsal may be cut, which means you have no dry run for your program.
  • Overnight load-ins have the crew up all day, loading in overnight and likely working the next morning. Depriving the people responsible for key timing and execution of sleep is bad for everyone.
  • If you have a 15-minute break, the crew has about eight minutes to hit the bathrooms and return. They rarely eat as they have neither the time nor the opportunity. Have catering bring food to the crew during breaks. It should be able to be eaten without a fork and only drinks with lids should be offered for equipment safety.
  • Strongly encourage speakers to submit slides at least 24 hours before the event. Put them in a PowerPoint deck in presentation order and put them on a jump drive. Include title slides and walk-in/walk-out slides or still stores. Hand the drive to the production team so they can load the presentations into show computers. Make time to sit with the graphics op to make sure there are no unseen glitches. If you want walk-in/walk-out, play-on/play-off music, let them know that as well as what type of music you prefer.
  • Provide the names and titles of speakers and a pronunciation guide for anyone who requires a VOG (voice of God) introduction to the stage.

Production teams work tirelessly to make your event run smoothly. Treat them with the kindness they deserve.

Want more tips on the proper care of your production partners? Email me at: Christy.lamagna@smeplanners.com.

Until next time, remember that smart is beautiful!

Thank you to Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM of Strategic Meetings and Events for reprint permission.