Long-term client of over 20 year, the Humpty Dumpty Foundation approach Encore to again deliver their annual Balmoral Burn Sponsors Dinner. This year was to be particularly special as it was the 20th anniversary of the event. The Balmoral Burn is a gruelling 420m run up Awaba Steet in Mosman, one of the steepest hills in Sydney, where corporates, schools and individuals taking part to raise money for the Foundation.

The Sponsors’ event was attended by patrons including Ray Martin, Jane Fleming and Rugby legend Phil Kearns who came up with the concept 20 years ago.

For this year’s event the brief was to transform a unique space like a marquee on the beach into a gala atmosphere, bringing in warmth and light through every aspect. Working with Humpty partners Ted and Co, the enchanting atmosphere began outside, where the technical team created lighting effects to illuminate the pathways toward the marquee and into the main room. On entering the room main the marquee roof was illuminated by decorative gobos. Event branding was showcased with high impact using Encore’s Pixel Totems displaying imagery from previous events. To further enhance branding behind the main stage, a large 3.6m wide by 3m high digital banner was erected between the Scenic Panels to display Humpty’s Balmoral Burn graphics. Warm amber strip lighting was used to cast a beautiful glow over the beachfront, which was visible through the clear marquee wall. A nice effect to add depth to the event design.

Screens were set up all around the room and displayed video showcases of Humpty’s great which raises funds for much needed medical equipment for sick children in hospitals across Australia. Beautiful lighting again illuminated the space creating a gala atmosphere. Beautiful Scenic Panels frame the stage, while tables were decorated by stunning centrepieces by Ted and Co which complemented the event design perfectly.

Encore’s National Sales Director, Michael Magafa commented on the event,

“Each year the team strives to come up with a new, creative for this worthwhile event and this was no exception. The result was an inspiring, emotional and rewarding celebration for this fantastic cause. The team always approach this event with excitement and strive to do something new and creative each year. We excel with our experience. We know the event intimately and it is the small details that ensure everything goes to plan."

Claire Reaney, from the Humpty Dumpty Foundation was delighted with this year’s event,

“We always look forward to our annual Sponsor Dinner as it’s our opportunity to acknowledge our supporters. The Encore team always come up with new and creative ways to make the event memorable."

Want to see more of our event work?

More meeting and event professionals are actively booking or sourcing new events now than any time since 2020. According to the Encore Summer Planner Pulse 2022 report, that number represents 71% of 461 survey respondents, who represent a diverse swath of corporate, association, administrative, marketing, third-party, independent and special event producers and organizers.

More than half of the meeting and event professionals surveyed say they are booking new events. And only five percent are currently rescheduling or re-booking events — the lowest number since the pandemic began.

Despite rising costs, in-person events are expected to increase in the second half of 2022.

Key survey findings:

  • 80% of events will have an in-person audience
  • 20% of events will be hybrid, with both in-person and remote audiences

The demands of keeping these dual hybrid event audiences engaged and planning two parallel events are a major stressor, the report finds. Perhaps that’s why the participant experience is becoming a greater factor in event design, with professionals layering technology over the in-person experience to create events that feel like they are in-person+ — with or without hybrid participants.

When asked how future in-person events will compare to pre-pandemic in-person events:

  • 45% of respondents said better attendee engagement
  • 38% of respondents said more networking
  • 37% of respondents said more attendee personalisation

 

Summer 2022 Planner Pulse Report

Industry trends and technology never stand still for long. This means that to produce the best possible events, every party involved will have to change with the times. Such a major shift may seem daunting, but it’s really just a question of getting in step with new expectations to craft great, memorable experiences.

By Scott Nodsle, Encore APAC Managing Director

Rising event trends

At Encore, we have a unique view of changing needs and norms on all sides. Customers have new priorities for their meetings, while venue partners are adapting to stay competitive and meet these needs.

We’ve seen several prominent trends take hold in the events space recently, all adding up to a very different picture than the norm at the beginning of 2020. With the right planning and partnerships, however, it’s possible to thrive in this new landscape.

Some of the priorities on the rise in events right now include the following:

Virtual and hybrid tech for in-person events

During 2020 hybrid events shot up from 5% to 85% of our total business. We’re now seeing a consistent trend of around 15% of our total showing that hybrid solutions and events are continuing in 2022. The trend shows that for Encore, clients continue see the value in hybrid solutions for engagement during in-person events, as well as including remote attendees/presenters who are unable to attend.

Hybrid is here to stay. We’ve developed many new solutions to engage attendees in the past 2 years. The continuing trend shows that event planners are now very comfortable integrating these solutions into their events and can see the added value of the engagement they deliver, such as networking, Q&A and live streaming.

With borders opening, skies clearing and flights taking to the air again, the inevitable shift back to in-person meetings is underway. But even in these conditions, the demand for digital engagement technology is staying strong.

During the course of the pandemic, Encore built, and continues to operate several hybrid studios within venues to help them accommodate the changing landscape, whilst also giving planners the peace of mind their event will go on no matter what restrictions come into play.

Digital engagement technology has advanced rapidly to support smaller meetings with less need for large-scale networking, with event platforms like Chime Go seeing increasing usage as connectivity solutions. With this in mind, we at Encore project that the use of hybrid tech will rise from 5% to 15%. While human interaction is the crux of the meetings and conferences industry, a good technology platform can connect in-person attendees, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

AV Technician at Virtual Event
Virtual and hybrid events have spiked in popularity.

During 2020 hybrid events shot up from 5% to 85% of our total business. We’re now seeing a consistent trend of around 15% of our total showing that hybrid solutions and events are continuing in 2022.

Short-term bookings

Across industries on a global scale, workforces are changing, and this is creating a shift in the way event bookings work. Last-minute bookings for hotel event spaces, sometimes even in-the-week, are now more than an anomaly, they’re officially a trend.

Some of this short-term activity has to do with changes in the way meeting planners are working, and with the loss of seasoned professionals from the space, leading to less reliance on the types of long-term strategies they had established. In other cases, companies are still dealing with uncertainty and complexity and don’t want to book in advance. At the same time, other organisers want to find different and unique spaces to host meetings.

Agility, both from our team of talented professionals and in the way we manage spaces and assets, allows faster turnarounds than have been seen previously. A team capable of managing an event end-to-end — from sales to creative and design to operations — can make smart technology choices that ensure bump-in under tight timelines. Strategic design, smart technology and support from our production company with mobile tech allow these professionals to go from a conference to gala, or a virtual event to an in-person meeting, all within the same space, with minimal turnaround time.

Demand for digital engagement technology remains strong.

Unique/flexible spaces

Another trend we’ve seen this year and expect to continue is that customers are moving toward wanting unique, bespoke solutions to their meeting needs. Venue partners can stay ahead of the competition by enhancing and maximising the use of their existing spaces.

A traditional venue setup includes installed technology to provide quick solutions for customers. This built-in tech is useful for environments that will be set up in a single configuration more than 80% of the time. This consistency reduces setup time, provides a consistent look and helps get screens and microphones up and running.

With that said, really reaching today’s customers may mean providing a bespoke, flexible solution for each event. Hotels that are able to adapt with less permanent tech, agile event spaces and use of mobile technology, have an advantage in this regard, with greater ROI — this is a subject I will return to in future articles.

The value of adaptability

At Encore, we feel uniquely well-positioned to see the way the events industry is changing. One thing we pride ourselves on at Encore is our ability to listen to both the venue’s and customer’s requests and align with their needs.

A skilled event production company can assist venues and clients with agile ways to transform a conference to a gala dinner and anything in-between by using unique technology to be creative and provide a completely different experience from day to night. In the next edition we will dive deeper into how mobile equipment can be particularly advantageous in creating agile venues.

At Encore, our focus on innovation has kept us in the lead, and we aspire to maintain this position. In all corners of the events space, these values of adaptability, customer-centricity and service will carry immense weight, even as customers’ preferences and technology needs evolve.

This article by Scott Nodsle, Managing Director of Encore APAC, was first published in the HM Magazine August 2022 edition.

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn to discuss your venue’s needs.

 

A Guide to Finding the Right Platform for Your Event

Spoiler Alert: It all boils down to how much lead time you have.

Since the start of COVID, we’ve noticed event planners are juggling shorter lead times and tighter budgets. So whilst you mightn’t have the luxury of a generous planning window to organise your next virtual or hybrid event, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options to bring people together in exciting new ways. In fact, a wealth of high-quality platform solutions exist to help you expand your in-person event reach, connect with new audiences, encourage remote/in-person participant collaboration and engagement. One of the best ways to determine which event platform and how much support you need is to start with how much time you have to plan.

Too pressed for time to research event platforms? Encore provides a curated selection of best-in-class solutions, organised by event lead time. And if you’ve already selected a platform, the Encore team can provide production and/or creative support.

Planning Hybrid Event Platforms

If you only have 1 - 2 weeks lead time

Zoom video conferencing is best for small, casual meetings. It’s also often used to stream content, like webinars and concurrent sessions, that is embedded in more dynamic event platforms. The simplicity of the platform is why it’s often the first choice for event planners organising small meetings. However, when you have a short planning window it’s easiest to delegate the technical side of things to an expert whilst you focus on other important tasks. This is why Encore offers Encore Connex – a small hybrid / virtual meeting solution that utilises Zoom’s enterprise solution. 

Video Conference Zoom Encore Connex
Host a stress-free, high-quality Zoom meeting using Encore Connex.

What’s the difference between using your company’s professional Zoom license and using an enterprise Zoom account provided by Encore?

  • Multiple licenses are at your disposal, which helps you create educational “tracks” or concurrent streams for your event
  • Content can be recorded to the cloud rather than desktop-only
  • You don’t have to purchase a new license if your event grows; enterprise licenses can scale to handle groups of 500 or 5,000
 

Plus, if you go with a full-service event technology provider, like Encore, your event will be supported in real time by a human staff who can troubleshoot and produce a seamless event for you. Another benefit of partnering with Encore is that our team stays on top of the newest third-party Zoom integrations, which means we can point out solutions that you can add to Zoom to increase functionality and enhance participant engagement. To make planning easier, Encore has created a new solution for Hybrid Small Meetings that’s ideal with Zoom and essential technology ready to go — so you can just show us and let us worry about the set up.

If you have at least 3 weeks lead time

Looking for a Do-It-Yourself solution? Cvent Attendee Hub is best for events that need a way for exhibitors, sponsors and attendees to network and set up 1:1 appointments with each other before they arrive on-site. It also works well for conferences that have multiple sessions and activities.

Cvent Attendee Hub allows you to quickly get your event up and running. Features include:

  • Integrated video equipment to create virtual events with live or pre-recorded content
  • Engagement features like live Q&A, chat, polling, and feedback surveys to keep sessions interactive
  • Meeting scheduling capabilities for groups or individuals so participants, exhibitors, and sponsors can connect and network
  • CEU tracking and certificate delivery for professional development education
  • Participant tracking to analyze attendee patterns of attendance and survey responses
Attendee Hub Virtual Event Platform
Cvent Attendee Hub - A DIY event platform powered by Encore’s expert production team

If you’d rather have a fully-supported quick start event platform, you might prefer using Chime GoChime Go is a simplified version of Chime Live that works well for conference organisers who want to give participants the ability to customise their event schedules. 

Event-Platform-Chime-Go-Virtual-Hybrid
Chime Go - A basic event platform so you can get set up and go quickly.
The Encore team can configure Chime Go in multiple ways to support in-person, virtual and hybrid meetings. Chime Go features a mobile-based agenda and in-room engagement tools, as well as a microsite that can be built around your streaming conference content or hybrid meeting. Benefits include:
  • A quick start, branded conference site accessible via mobile or other devices to elevate the attendee experience , with self-registration, agenda, map pdfs, ability for participants to ask questions (customer moderated), upvote other’s questions, and take notes that they can send to themselves. Add-on options include sponsor banners and fundraising links
  • A hybrid-ready microsite with all of the above, plus the option to include streaming windows for participants to watch live broadcast or on-demand content. Other options include chat and sentiment stream, closed captioning, Zoom meeting integration , and more

If you have at least 4 weeks lead time

Interested in blending the in-person experience with the digital one? Consider creating a choreographed hybrid experience with Chime Live, a powerful digital storytelling platform. Chime Live works well for high-profile events where you want attendees to feel special. It also is a good fit for events that prioritise two-way conversations between the presenters and the audience, as it provides robust collaboration and engagement tools.

  • Pre-event, Chime Live provides a branded registration platform, sponsor areas, social media sharing, and pertinent event information.
  • During the event, participants interact with Chime Live via mobile app to view, vote on, submit questions, and interact with conference content.
  • Post-event, Chime Live shares insights on participant interactions, submitted questions, and other data
Hybrid AGM Presenters

If you have more than 6 weeks lead time

Looking to maximize engagement and impress your audience? Chime Live is ideal if you have at least a six-week planning window. These Chime Live engagement add-ons enhance the in-person and remote elements of events by providing a deeper way for presenters to connect with the audience, and for event participants to customise their event experience. You’ll receive all the bells and whistles mentioned above, plus:

  • Choreographed event design to focus attendees on what they need to see or do in the platform by pushing slides and pop-up interactive polls, Q&A, and more, in real time
  • Customised user interfaces for in-person and remote experiences
  • Personalised journeys featuring segmented or integrated experiences and customised agendas to support your organisation and participants’ objectives

Another option is the Cvent Attendee Hub platform, which you can transform into a full-service solution by engaging the Encore team to help . The Encore team can support you during the design, set-up, and production phase. It’s a great choice for larger events, especially if you want to maximise engagement and let professionals manage the technology for you. In addition to the bells and whistles with the self-service option, the full-service version offers:

  • Worry-free tech set-up, streaming and production support, provided by the Encore team
  • Integrated Cvent registration
  • On-demand viewing functionality
  • Gamification
  • Customized attendee hub configured to suit your needs

If you have more than 8 weeks lead time

Consider leveraging all the above-mentioned perks of the Chime Live platform and elevating the experience for your remote attendees by adding a virtual lobby that allows them to “physically” interact with each other and content at the event through avatars. This functionality works well with global expositions, conferences and trade shows that need to provide an interactive online environment that is as compelling for its remote participants as for its in-person ones.

Create an immersive 2-D or 3-D virtual environment that recreates elements familiar to in-person conferences, such as lobbies, theatres, virtual trade show booths and networking lounges with Notified from Intrado. This platform accommodates large events and exhibitions and is a fantastic choice for events attracting a large number of remote attendees. Benefits of the platform include:

  • Broadcast studio-quality streaming
  • AI-driven matchmaking software and video chat options
  • Sponsorship packages
  • Custom-branded areas
  • Full-service creative, production and design assistance from the Encore team
Notified by Intrado Digital Media

If you have more than 12 weeks lead time

You’re spoilt for choice! If Notified by Intrado is on your list, and you have a three-month window before the event, you can add an integrated registration option to the immersive elements mentioned above. These options work very well for virtual expos and conferences. It’s no secret that conference content not only drives attendance, but it also generates on-site brand publicity through social media engagement and can generate significant post-event revenue. If you have a generous planning window of at least 12 weeks, you should consider hiring a content development team to design, source and produce different elements of your conference content. Encore offers Creative services that can:
  • Design presentation templates and create presentations
  • Transform your brand logo into an animated asset
  • Produce short and long-format video segments and interstitial video “stingers” to introduce speakers, promote sponsors and highlight event elements before, during and after the event
  • Create motion graphics and animations to spice up in-person and broadcast content
  • Coach speakers and ghost-write executive speeches
  • Capture images and video on-site
Encore can also provide on-site presentation management with Content1, a fully supported system for collecting and distributing presentation files to meeting spaces at events. Presenters can upload their presentations from their home or office pre-event, then check into our Speaker Ready Room on-site for final revisions, uploads, and review. Presentations are automatically transferred to the meeting rooms and delivered from a single, customized computer, ensuring the final revision is presented without delays during the meeting.

Finding the right platform based on your event planning window

One of the easiest ways to select a virtual or hybrid event platform is by how much time you have to organise it. Here’s a quick recap of what we just went over for you to reference. Still need help making the right choice or need assistance getting set up and running? Encore have a whole team of experts ready to help!

Get in touch for an obligation-free chat about your event.

When you need to deliver an experience that’s immersive and exciting, something truly unique that leaves guests speechless…who are you going to call?

Encore!

The Event Brief

That was the brief from longstanding client TRIBE to Encore earlier this year when they were tasked with designing an event to reward and motivate a leading financial services company’s top performing mortgage brokers. Having worked with Encore across many briefs, TRIBE trusted the Encore team would deliver beyond expectations.

Event Production Solution

The solution for the event’s closing Gala Dinner hosted at Grand Hyatt Melbourne (GHM) was a highly engaging table projection mapping experience. The Encore team worked within the venue space to deliver an intimate dining experience that continued to surprise and delight the 82 guests as the night went on.

To create the pixel perfect projections Encore measured the GHM’s plate dimensions and spaced the guests’ settings evenly down each side of the table. Then using six specific, identical projectors and lenses rigged to the ceiling, we were able to map the content and project down onto the table and settings. The content was designed to transition and travel down the length of each table with beautiful imagery and a custom graphic of the company’s logo that appeared to “grow” on each person’s plate. We matched a graphic to each dinner course, animating their logo and added additional content to transition between the courses throughout the evening. Whilst this was taking place on the tables, Encore also installed three custom gobos to cast beautiful, roving lighting shapes around the venue walls. On the stage the LED wall displayed similar imagery to what was being projected onto the floor to tie the whole effect together.

The Result

This was both a challenging and truly rewarding event with Encore team members from all over the country working together to fit all the puzzle pieces into place during a particularly busy time of the year and within a rather tight timeframe. This was our first table projection event at Grand Hyatt Melbourne since COVID so it was very exciting to see it come to life once again, a metaphor in and of itself. Massive thanks to everyone involved, here’s to many more to come!

Veronica Russell, Venue Director at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Experts at Table Projection Mapping

Watch this video of a table projection experience we delivered for a famil at Pullman Reef Hotel & Casino in Cairns.

Encore has been pushing the creative boundaries with mesmerizing table projection experiences for decades. If you are interested in having a table projection mapping experience at your next event, speak to our helpful team today by submitting an online form and we’ll get right back.

A Short Guide to Camera Selection for Virtual and Hybrid Events

Your choice of camera and how you use it to stream content directly impacts how remote and in-person participants connect to and engage with your event. How much thought are you giving to the cameras you order? Read on to learn how to choose the best camera for your upcoming hybrid and virtual events.

3 Key Camera Features to Consider

There are three primary aspects to cameras that you need to understand prior to engaging an event technology partner. When they’re discussing options and recommendations it’ll be helpful for you to understand the basics of what they’re recommending and why. Here are the main features that differentiate one camera from another:

Connectivity.

This describes how the camera connects to or integrates with other components of the streaming ecosystem. For simple meetings, the camera may be integrated into a laptop. A better-quality external web camera may connect via USB. And high-end, broadcast-quality events may use cameras that connect via SDI or HDMI*.

*SDI – Serial Digital Interface: type of broadcast-quality cable used to connect cameras to other devices
HDMI – High-Definition Multimedia Interface: a digital audio/video/data connector

Field of view (FOV). 

This is the maximum angle a static camera can see in relation to the camera position and area of participants. Some automated cameras swivel 360 degrees to capture a speaker while others may be fixed with an FOV of 155 degrees, 125 degrees or less.

Camera field of view diagram by www.bhphotovideo.com

Zoom type and quality.

How the camera zooms, or moves in or out of a close-up image, is an important differentiating factor. A camera that has optical zoom typically provides a higher quality image than one with digital zoom, regardless of the level of magnification. This is an important consideration for your viewers to see speakers or audience members as you choose to spotlight them.


Now that you understand the key camera features, let’s examine the details that will help you determine your hybrid and virtual event needs.

Who needs to be in the camera shot?

Mathew Johnsen, Vice President of Product Management at Encore Global, says one of the first questions planners need to ask themselves when considering camera selection is: “Who needs to be in the camera shot?”

Is it:

  • A single presenter?
  • A group of people or panel?
  • A segment of a horseshoe or conference table?
  • Performers on stage?
  • The in-room audience?

The answer will help you identify a camera that provides the correct field of view (FOV) needed for your event.

“It’s all about the remote attendees,” Johnsen says. “What they’re seeing is their window into the meeting.”

How far away is the camera from the subject/s?

“The next question to ask is: ‘How far away is the camera from the presenters?’” Johnsen says. “That dictates the kind of camera you need and its FOV.”

Something to bear in mind is that any time you make changes to your room set up, you need to alert your event technology provider.

For example, Johnsen says, your mainstage may be assigned a 125-degree FOV camera based on your original needs. Then, you decide to add two speakers, which means adding two chairs to the staging. For an in-person-only event, that’s not a big deal. “But if you make changes [to a livestream set], even if it’s just adding two chairs, the FOV needs may go up from 125 degrees to 155 degrees,” Johnsen cautions.

If you don’t communicate changes, then you may inadvertently eliminate important figures from the shot.

Who needs to be heard?

If your meeting size is fewer than 25 people, you may be fine with a camera that has integrated audio.

But it’s important to think about who needs to be seen and heard in the room. “All cameras have different mic systems so it’s important to know and discuss with your tech provider who needs to be heard.”

Here are some questions to help you understand your event scenario:

  • Do you only need to hear the speaker?
  • Do you want everyone in the room to be heard?
  • Do you want the in-room audience to hear the virtual audience?

Each of these scenarios requires different camera and audio solutions.

What level of collaboration and interaction do you want to create?

“Consider the particular type of camera you need based on the type of meeting you’re going to have,” Johnsen says. “There are different camera solutions out there. Some have remotes so you can pan, zoom and tilt to control what the viewer experience will be. Some provide a 360-degree view around the room, which is great for small meetings. But those can get distracting in larger meetings.”

Most broadcast-style events utilize a professional-caliber camera focused on the presenter or people on stage. Adding multiple cameras with a technician who can alternate which camera angles and views are broadcast creates a more engaging viewing experience for the remote-viewing audience.

Conversely, by placing multiple screens around the room and displaying gallery or speaker views of the remote viewing audience, event organizers can help the in-person participants feel more connected to their remote-viewing peers.

The more attendees can see others participating, the more likely they will be to engage with the experience you are creating.

Hybrid Studio
Hybrid broadcast studio at Marina Bay Sands.

How can you best leverage the technology you’re using?

This is where partnering with a trusted tech partner, like Encore , really pays off. Not only can your team point out areas of where cost savings  are possible, they can also help you maximize your tech investment.

For example, Johnsen says, don’t just stream the conference content. Record and repackage it for post-event sale, learning management systems, rebroadcasts or other marketing purposes.

“Since you’re going to have cameras involved in your meeting, make the most of that opportunity by pre-recording content and additional messages that can be played back.”

These pre-recorded segments can range from sponsored “commercials” or event recap highlight reels to full-length presentations.

 “It’s not uncommon to record portions in advance that we can then drop into the livestream,” Johnsen says. 

“We can seamlessly integrate a recorded message or content to provide a flexible meeting experience that’s more than just a scheduled event everyone is attending in real time.”

Planning a Virtual or Hybrid Event?

Encore are experts in helping event planners deliver seamless virtual and hybrid events. Whether your next meeting or event is to celebrate, educate, reward or motivate, Encore’s production team will work with you design and deliver successful event. We proudly offer the largest range of event services offered by a single provider, making us not only one of the most experienced, but also, the most convenient partner to work with. Let’s have a conversation today about how we can apply our expert knowledge to make your planning a stress-free task.

This article was first published on Encore Global and has been repurposed for Encore Asia Pacific.

It’s a sign of the times when the brief to Encore is to go from a virtual event to a large in-person event. The catch – it’s within the same venue space and the next event starts in a little over an hour. Go!

With the world now in the recovery phase since the pandemic, more and more mixed event format briefs are hitting Encore’s desk. As the chosen in-house event services provider at the Victoria Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds, the challenge to Encore was devising a solution that accommodated both of the venue’s client’s briefs – a virtual event for a large investment capital firm as well as Essendon Football Club’s Hall of Fame Gala expected to host 450 guests.

Being two entirely separate events, clients and event formats, both wanting to be delivered on the same day in the same venue, the task was deemed impossible at first. Encore’s production team decided to tackle the briefs together, planning a design that would accommodate both events with minimal transition.

The Transition Solution

It was decided the huge 12m wide LED screen and high-gloss stage set used for the virtual event, would remain in place and be used at the Essendon gala too. A win for the Club as the impressive stage set looked incredible with the Club colours splashed across it.

Essendon Hall of Fame Gala
LED Stage Set

Taking a leaf out of theatre production 101, each event’s ops locations were built on rolling stage risers making them easy to roll out and in during the transition. This meant crew had to prep and rehearse for both events and have the ops equipment set-up before the first event started.

Often the most time consuming installation is lighting yet Encore’s production team came up with an innovative solution to run additional truss lines to allow for both event’s lighting needs. This meant all lighting was already in place for the gala dinner. Encore designed the truss structures rigged above the events to be able to move up and down because each event had completely different focal points for different lighting aspects. The virtual event required a studio-like environment whilst the gala was live. The truss lines were lowered for the virtual event and raised for the gala.

Red Gala Dinner Centrepieces

With 450 guests to cater for, table styling was also a pressure point for the transition. The Essendon team chose to set-up 85% of the tables during the rehearsals of the virtual event, leaving only 15% of the tables left to do during the turnaround.

The key to each event’s success was in the overall design, preparation and making sure every crew member was across the plan.

It was one of those events that seemed impossible to execute. We were faced with a challenge of executing two very different events in the same space with the tightest of turnarounds. To say the odds were against us is a big understatement. However, with strategic planning from Encore’s Technical Event Director’s combined with some innovative ideas and having everyone singing from the same hymn sheet we managed to pull it off seamlessly. And importantly, both client’s were extremely happy with the delivery of their events.

Encore’s Venue Director at Melbourne Showgrounds

Photography Credit: Lucas Dawson Photography

Although face-to-face events are back in demand, hybrid events are going to be a part of the events landscape for good, say Michael Magafa, Encore Event Technologies’ National Sales Director and Brien Keys, the company’s Regional General Manager for the South West.

The desire is to have an in-person element to events wherever possible. But the genie is out of the bottle with respect to online events. According to the latest Encore Planner Pulse Survey, just under 30 per cent of planners are expecting to deliver their events in a hybrid format for the foreseeable future.

We’re seeing demand for more sophisticated technical solutions, particularly for the online audience, to ensure they’re engaged and gain as much value from attending as in-person delegates.

Most industries would prefer to meet face to face, but some are more risk averse than others. Often, we are proposing multiple solutions for a single event to meet a variety of potential circumstances.

Future of Hybrid Events

Hybrid is taking over from the virtual format due to that desire to have some form of in-person event. Clients are seeing the benefit of hybrid to extend their audience, reduce the need for travel, as well as extend the life of the event through on-demand recording. The detailed analytics available from hybrid events are also proving valuable for clients.

The other advantage of planning for a hybrid event in the current period of uncertainty is to ensure the event can go ahead no matter what happens, by pivoting to fully virtual or more live depending on circumstances. And hybrid fulfills the need for a back-up online element that allows delegates who can’t make it in person to participate. Isolation and close contact requirements are ever-changing and very last minute – giving the customer comfort that all delegates can still meaningfully engage with the event is important.

Hybrid events are becoming global. They are no longer just a tool to connect teams that can’t meet due to restrictions. We are seeing an uplift in enquiries and conferences that connect Australian, US, Asian and European teams. They are also becoming more complex, with multiple breakout rooms, bringing in multiple presenters from around the world and using newer technologies to elevate the user experience, such as Encore’s Chime Live event platform.

The GO Foundation used Chime Live to engage their virtual attendees around Australia.

Nothing beats in-person meetings. Hybrid contingencies end up being just that – options for mitigating the lack of the ideal – a full in-person event – with a good, but not perfect, solution. However, these hybrid solutions still need time and energy invested in them for the benefit to be realised and as clients become more familiar with the hybrid format, they are less inclined to spend the time and energy needed to get them right. Expecting that a technologically complicated solution can just be switched on at a moment’s notice will be a real challenge to overcome.

Perhaps the biggest change in mindset for event organisers needs to be to understand the cost/benefit of a hybrid event. Too often clients focus on the higher costs of delivering the technology that realises the hybrid meeting without factoring in reduced costs for airfares, accommodation and food and beverage that come with some delegates not attending in person.

2022 is going to be about contingency planning and risk avoidance – having a suite of options pre-planned and available as needed is going to be important. The good news is customers now know there are solutions in the hybrid space for just about any eventuality.

This article was first published by micenet in their March 2022 magazine.

Audio Checklist for Hybrid Events

How wonderful would it be to attend a virtual or hybrid event without someone saying, “Can you hear me now?”.

Audio is one of those critical elements that attendees don’t pay attention to until it doesn’t work. So when you’re organizing a hybrid or virtual meeting, it needs to be one of your top priorities.

First things first, let’s clear up exactly what is a hybrid event?

The Hybrid Event Set Up

Hybrid-Event-Set-Up-800px

Hybrid events are a mix of both live and virtual events. Take your live event, complete with an in-person audience, content, and more, and you add a virtual component to it so more attendees can participate and engage with your event, no matter where they are in the world. They can be watching the stream by themselves in their own home or office, or as part of a group in a venue in another location.

Now that we’re clear on what a makes up a hybrid event, let’s understand the process for working out the best audio solution for your event.

Questions to ask your event stakeholders

Start with the end goal in mind – what are you wanting your end event to look like. Understanding what you’re trying to achieve and what the parameters of the event are will help determine the brief for your event production partner. Gather all the relevant information by asking your key stakeholders and event team the following questions:

1. Does the presenter need to be seen on video or are we broadcasting audio only?

2. Will only the presenter audio need to be sent to the offsite attendees? Or will there be discussion and/or Q&A that also needs to be heard? Will that discussion/Q&A be with in-room participants or remote viewers, or both?

3. Will the speakers be connecting to the event remotely? Will they need to be heard by participants meeting onsite? Or are they only connecting to other remote participants?

4. Will participants joining remotely need to be heard by in-room participants?

5. Will participants attending the event in person need sound reinforcement to help them hear each other in the space?

Hybrid Studio
Marina Bay Sands' Hybrid Broadcast Studio, Singapore - via PCMA

The right audio for your event scenario

Small collaborative meeting

If you’re hosting a small meeting where the in-room team can hear each other and they only need to be able to hear the virtual participants, the cameras and microphones built into participant laptops may not be sufficient. If you want a more professional look and feel, consider using an all-in-one camera that has a built-in microphone and speaker. These “smart” devices can swivel to capture the in-room speaker for the remote viewing audience while providing superior sound quality for the in-room guests.

Mid-size collaborative meeting

With a larger room, in-room attendees may need amplification so that they can hear each other speak as well as hear the remote participants. This requires microphones that can capture each in-room participants’ voice and broadcast it through loudspeakers in the physical space. Consider using external microphones and loudspeakers.

Dedicated presenter

If the meeting is more presentation-oriented, then you may only have to focus on amplifying the presenter, with options that can facilitate group discussion and Q&A. The best solution for this set-up is to secure a dedicated microphone for the presenter(s) and in-room loudspeakers. Consider employing additional wireless handheld microphones to capture impromptu comments or questions that might arise to ensure all in-person and virtual attendees can hear.

A note on Microphones

When possible use wireless lavs as they appear better on camera and there is less chance of shifting the microphone which creates ambient noise for the viewer. Also, having an audio operator watching who is speaking will help cut down on a mic accidentally being left on – which your hybrid audience will hear right away.

If you will have Q&A from the audience, rather than having to run around with wireless microphones, consider using a Question or Voting feature in an event platform. Encore’s Chime platforms allow all participants both in-person and online to submit questions for moderation before going live on screen. There is nothing more frustrating for a remote audience than knowing a question was asked, but only hearing the answer and not the question. So no only is everything there on screen, it’s a great way to get all participants actively engaging with the event.  

Get the best audio with the hybrid event experts

Now that you’ve defined your goals and considered the different scenarios, work with a dedicated event production partner to decide on which audio technology is best to keep your audience not only connected, but engaged.

Encore are the trusted experts in designing successful hybrid events.  Whether your audience is local, national, international or a mixture of both, Encore has the technology and expertise to design the best solution for your hybrid event. With the largest range of solutions offered by a single provider we are your convenient nd reliable one-stop-shop.

Head over to our Hybrid+ solutions page to learn more.

Crown Melbourne rolls into 2022 with glamorous NYE Gala

Encore and the events team at Crown Melbourne hosted an
incredible, hotly awaited New Years Eve Gala at The Palladium at Crown to usher
in 2022! Over 1,000 executives and VIPs attended the glamorous “21st
Century Disco” themed event and their expectations were greatly exceeded.
Anticipation for this event had grown in the COVID-affected absence of NYE 2020
celebrations, meaning there was more reason than ever to provide attendees an
experience worth waiting for!

The gala was incredible, honestly that stage blew my mind.

Courtney Madden, Manager – Events, Crown Resorts
Disco Themed Gala Event

Choosing the theme for the gala

Encore’s in-house team at Crown Melbourne considered various
disco themes as their inspiration, settling on a 21st Century Disco theme – taking
elements from the classic theme and giving it a modern twist. Encore took this
concept and blew it up to a production size worthy of Crown’s New Year’s Eve Gala.  

Encore’s in-house team at Crown Melbourne considered various disco themes as their inspiration, settling on a 21st Century Disco – taking elements from the classic theme and giving it a modern twist. Encore took this concept and blew it up to a production size worthy of Crown’s New Year’s Eve Gala.

Disco Themed Event

Designing the perfect stage

The team collaboratively developed an innovative, bespoke design with a focus on the stage as the hero. Inspired by the beautiful stage design, the team christened the unique stage the “I Love Ramp” stage, eliciting the idea of the old roller discos of yesteryear. It spanned over 30m wide and used ramps to connect sections that stepped to increasing heights. Skirting the stage, Encore’s designers added in holographic and pearlescent fringing to create glitter and sparkle.

Disco Theme Stage Design

Adding disco lighting and more

We didn’t stop there! The team decided that the 21st Century theme undoubtedly required lasers incorporated into the design to create visual displays and a disco dancefloor spectacle. Seven colours were carved across the sky of The Palladium as six 30w lasers fired their beams, creating interlacing patterns and waves.

To offset the hard industrial lines of the truss and mounted technology, our Event Designer added softer, beautified elements. Giant silver balloons decked the truss lines like diamonds with pops of florals adding glimmers of colours. White chiffon and velvet drapes were also suspended from the truss to create wings, as well as a surface to wash in coloured light. A perfect blend of form and function! Further glitter and glamour were added by draping the walls in silver micro-dot sequins – akin to a classic disco gown.

Disco themed Stage Design

Disco themed Centrepieces

Disco theme Centrepieces

Alternating rows of tables were hued with red to pink linen, creating yet another visual delight. On top of these a simple statement of the theme was delivered by our centrepieces; hollow metallic pyramids were lined on one side with pink threading and completed with a mirror ball and disco light in the middle.

During the dance performances, Encore’s talented vision operators deployed Disguise as our vision system, enabling them to add filters and animations over the live-to-screen camera footage broadcast. No matter where one was seated there was something interesting to watch in the space. From every position in the room there was another element upon which to feast the eyes.

Encore prides itself on our ability to deliver strongly on the fundamentals, and a show of this size deserved nothing less. With Marcia Hines as the feature act and an enormous cast of dancers as support acts, Encore delivered a concert-quality audio experience.

Host an incredible Gala event with Encore

Encore are experts in delivering incredible gala dinners of all shapes, sizes and formats. Whether you’re organising a gala to reward, celebrate, commemorate or motivate, you can trust your Gala will be in the best hands in the business. We are your one-stop-shop, providing everything you’ll need to deliver your event seamlessly beyond expectation. From cutting-edge audio visual technology to bespoke styling solutions – imagine the convenience of partnering with one provider for all your needs. It’s this peace of mind that money can’t buy which is why Encore is the preferred production company for high-profile galas right around the Asia Pacific region. Discover our production solutions for gala events today!