A stunning Spy themed corporate event at Crown Melbourne

What magic lies in the make-up of a spy theme that makes it so popular with event planners and attendees? How is it that one character, has managed to captivate audiences for so many years? Perhaps we all secretly yearn to be a suave secret agent or the girl who catches his eye. Whichever one you are, find out how we took this popular event theme to a whole new level.
To live up to the heightened expectations that come with a spy themed gala event, Crown Melbourne’s brief included four key objectives to create an immersive experience to delight guests at their two Palladium VIP Events: To create a spectacular and innovative visual, lighting and multimedia production To create connection between performances and multimedia To creatively utilise over 520 LED panels throughout the production To develop animated content for over 520 LED panels As the in-house AV team at Crown Melbourne, Staging Connections has produced this event annually since 1996 and in 2015 was set to exceed the client’s expectations like never before! Producing an immersive Spy themed VIP gala dinner Staging Connections produced two exhilarating events using world-leading audio visual, lighting and multimedia production to bring the thrill of a spy themed movie to Melbourne. . As the doors to the The Palladium opened, the 650+ VIP guests were immersed in a James Bond adventure. A grand entrance to the event was designed using 64 LED panels suspended from the roof, arranged to form four arches which together, created a tunnel effect. The LED archway was brought to life using motion graphic content of iconic James Bond opening sequences. Guests were invited to walk beneath the canopy and into the main area for the gala dinner. This made for a dramatic start to the evening and set the tone for what was to come! Once guests were seated, James Bond himself descended from the roof via a pre-installed foot loop to surprise guests, while Ninja’s abseiled down from the ceiling at different points around the room. At the conclusion of the opening performance, Kate Cebrano appeared from behind a 15 metre Kabuki drop reveal that doubled as the scenic backdrop for James Bond’s opening number. Behind Kate Cebrano on the main stage, stood a magnificent 15 meter LED – one of the newest products to Staging Connections’ vision portfolio. Our talented Melbourne event stylists chose to use sophisticated yet minimal event styling so the sweeping stage design, LED archway and AV remained the hero elements of the night. They created beautiful table centrepieces with crystal beaded chandeliers and beaded wired cylindrical votives as the hero features. The beaded chandeliers and votives beautifully reflected light around the room and added to the drama and grandeur of the ‘Spy’ theme. Using the latest AV and motion graphics to enhance the Spy event theme
Performances of iconic James Bond theme songs by Kate Cebrano and Sally Cooper, were enhanced with bespoke animated content, lighting routines and wind machines for additional effect. A total of 75 moving head and 55 static light fixtures accentuated the mood of each performance with dramatic colour changes.
Throughout the evening, beautiful scenic vistas from various Bond movies were showcased across 180 LED panels that combined to create a 14 metre panoramic screen across the stage. This was further enhanced by two additional 30 metre x 10 metre drop screens with 18k Christie projectors. Accentuating the theme, 340 LED panels were artistically used across the venue with LED totems on stage, 4 metre LED strips at the front of the room and four LED arches that welcomed guests at the door. Staging Connection’s digital media team created all themed content for the evening, including six custom animations and over 30 scenic stills that used the Ken Burns effect to create running movement. Overall, the content stretched over 12,000 pixels wide, well beyond the normal capacity of 1920 pixels. Staging Connections responded to the client brief bringing world class technology to life for maximum effect. Crown Melbourne was delighted to treat their VIP guests to two spectacular events that left a lasting impact on all attendees. Staging Connections Melbourne Events Team
Our Melbourne team is proudly led by Haig Walker and comprises some of the most talented design and styling professionals in the industry, offering event excellence across 7 key venues. If you’re looking to host your next corporate event in Melbourne, than we’re the experienced events team you can rely on. We proudly offer Australia’s largest range of event services across audio, lighting, staging, vision and extending to styling, multimedia and digital event solutionslike webcasting, live polling and event social media. Get in touch with us today or call 1800 209 099 to speak with one of our event experts. … Read More


Are smartphones really killing your corporate event?

Smartphones - and more broadly speaking, mobile devices - are receiving a lot of negative publicity at the moment in the meetings and events circles, with claims they're distracting your audiences. There's even been a call to arms to ban them entirely. Vice President of Digital Solutions at Freeman Digital, Ken Holsinger, steps in to defend our beloved friends, claiming we need to encourage engagement with them properly, not to ban them altogether. And we agree! Don't ban them - engage them! When it comes to the subject of mobile devices and disruption, everyone’s got a lot of opinions, often even emotional ones. There are officially more mobile devices on our planet than there are people — the real-time ticker from GSMA Intelligence shows the current number of worldwide mobile connections at over 7.66 billion, and it’s growing by the second. Love them or hate them, smartphones and tablets are now a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, and event marketers are struggling with how to best tackle the situation at hand. Now industry groups are buzzing with the question: should we ban mobile from meetings? IMEX and MPI cite Amy Gallo from Harvard Business Review in their new study, which says that 40 percent of meeting professionals would support a blanket ban on devices at meetings and events. Gallo and her experts say nobody’s really multitasking as well as they think they are, and that device users can be distracting, even upsetting, to those around them. However, keep in mind that these experts are speaking in the context of the everyday workplace, where they also recommend keeping meetings to seven people or less and not let anyone sit down. Maybe that’s sage advice for your typical office environment, but we don’t hold big events in the corporate conference room. Trying to apply the same advice to the events industry is not a one-to-one comparison. We are talking about taking devices away from people who are on the road, away from the office, and away from family for several days at a time. Not to mention that our biggest attendee audience has grown up with devices in hand—try telling a Millennial that his or her phone isn’t welcome at your event and see how well that goes over. It’s not exactly setting the groundwork for repeat attendance. So let’s be real for a minute—people aren’t going to stop using their phones. According to KPBC’s annual Internet Trends report from 2015, 73% of the global population use mobile devices, spending almost three hours on mobile apps and almost two hours on social media every day. But by taking advantage of the already-in-hand mobile devices, you have a ready-made communication channel with the potential to drive deeper engagement and create more connected attendees. Here’s how you can harness the true power of mobile to focus attention and drive outcomes. Mobile devices provide a personalized event experience Mobile devices are the perfect guide for attendees at any event, providing easy access to maps, session information, schedules, reference material, and even networking apps to help them connect with peers, speakers, and prospects. They can help attendees plan their days at events and provide reminders to move from session to session, providing an event experience that feels much more organized and seamless to attendees. Personalized content tailored to each attendee’s areas of interest, industry role, and more can be pushed straight to mobile devices, pushing past the one-size-fits-all approach to a more intimate, targeted event experience that focuses on fulfilling attendee wants and needs. Mobile interaction fully engages attendees during sessions Would you like deep insight into how your audience responds to content, what they’re looking for from presenters, and even who might be interested in working with you? Mobile devices can be your best friend during event sessions when you utilise them to interact with attendees through technology offerings like second screen applications. By integrating second screen interaction via mobile right into your session, you get your audience more connected from the start, encouraging them to actively respond and participate in the presentation. This leads to higher performance overall, from presenter scores to levels of engagement. Audiences rate presenters often as much as 15 percent higher when they utilise second screen in their sessions. But that’s not all. Using second screen, you can take attendee questions and adjust content on the fly, poll your audience for rich data that can be used to fine-tune future presentations, and collect valuable feedback that could help you close deals and win new customers. We see a significant increase in audiences commenting, tweeting, and asking questions when using a second screen platform—sometimes by as much as several hundred percent, depending on how well the presenter has worked the platform functionality into their content. Mobile creates communities Don’t fight the attendee urge to post hashtags, check-ins, and selfies to social media. Use it to your benefit and create a sense of community for your event that turns attendees attention away from their Facebook wall and back toward your event by making it easy for attendees to share their insights and observations via mobile interactions. Plus, the rich data from these social media interactions can inform decisions for your event…not just for next year, but literally in real time! Second screen applications often allow social sharing directly from the app during a session, and attendees can see questions and comments from the rest of the audience in real-time. More and more event planners are opting for social media integration platforms that display social posts live on screen aggregated by a branded event hashtag. Encourage attendees to post nuggets of wisdom from speakers, snapshots from the show floor, even selfies in your host city—and tag themselves with the event hashtag. And from LinkedIn to Twitter, it’s a tool that attendees use to connect with one another, so get involved and help guide the conversation. Mobile devices help amplify your message Keep in mind that attendees aren’t just checking in with the office or connecting back home when they’re online. Many use social media in smart ways on show site, and they follow and track hashtags, locations, speakers, and peers who are tweeting and Instagramming up a storm. According to our study with the Event Marketing Institute on the viral impact of events, only 23% of companies are using social media during events to reach remote or non-attendees and industry members. Remote event attendance is booming, so don’t overlook the audience who isn’t right in front of you. This is a huge opportunity to utilize on-site attendee voices to maximize the reach of your message. Let them drum up a healthy sense of FOMO amongst their followers that turn them into future attendees, ready to register (or at least tune in) for your next event. Advertising that specific and marketing that organic is priceless! General Manager of Digital at Staging Connections, Tim Chapman, says "the fact is mobile phones are part of our everyday life. Don’t see the mobile device as the enemy at an event, embrace it and get it working for you." Don’t let buzz on banning mobile devices distract you from the unlimited potential they can bring to any event. When you look at mobile as a tactic rather than a roadblock, you open up the possibilities of engagement and interaction with your audience, and gain data insights to improve year over year and offer attendees the kind of personalized experience they won’t find anywhere else! This article was originally posted on Freeman blog Related Articles Bring Your Own Device To Events 25 Reasons You'll Love Event Poll How to trend on Twitter ... Read More

Awards night uses projection mapping for WOW-factor stage design

One of the most beautiful, intricate and technically complex stage designs of 2015. Staging Connections delivered a visually captivating event for the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) Awards for Excellence at The Star Sydney. Celebrating the best of the hotel service industry, the event offered guests a visual feast, combining complex stage sets, intricate styling, technically advanced projection mapping and strategically prepared video content. Inspired by the geometric logo elements the Staging Connections event production team built a custom stage design comprised of a 20x5m hard projection set interspersed with coloured acrylic panels to emphasise the geometric elements of the clients’ logo. Video and imagery was projected onto the 3D set using state-of-the-art projection mapping, illuminating the stage in a thousand colours that drew the audience’s attention and ensured a memorable result. Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”. Selina Rumble, General Manager of Partnerships & Events at the Australian Hotels Association was delighted with the creative event design that perfectly answered the Association’s brief to deliver a memorable occasion. “The Australian Hotels Association has worked with Staging Connections across Australia for nearly 10 years, and the team know how to push boundaries to produce a stellar result every time. They went above and beyond for our Awards for Excellence, delivering not only a visually stunning experience but a seamless event as well for our 500 guests. “Whilst a celebration is memorable in itself, we delight in using technology to create a striking event environment that our guests want to share with their friends. Staging Connections have the technology, the team and most of all, the know-how, to deliver special events that continue to impress our guests,” said Ms Rumble. Stu Buchanan, Event Director at Staging Connections led the team in managing and producing the entire event. “It was a star-studded event and we were keen on impressing both our client and the event’s attendees. Our team worked hard to design the multimedia for the event that took over 125 hours to prepare, and the result was a dynamic and impactful backdrop that guests raved about. “As an integrated event staging provider, every element of the event was carefully thought out, from the set design of tessellated triangles, to the mapped digital backdrop, to the three 16:9 screens and the table styling featuring illuminated glass terrariums filled with copper string lights. The event environment was warm, inviting and had an ultimate wow-factor,” concluded Mr Buchanan. Staging Connections worked in collaboration with The Star Event Centre’s technical and audio visual team to deliver the spectacular result for the Australian Hotels Association Awards for Excellence. Related Articles First of its kind - a Kinetic ceiling installation at The Million Dollar Lunch gala Transform your corporate event with creative stage design How projection mapping can add an extra dimension to your events ... Read More

4 rules to an effective event hashtag

Most of the conferences and networking events you’ll go to will have their own hashtag. You'll see event planners and marketers alike splashing the hashtag on all communications leading up the event and on the event day itself. The hashtag has become so ubiquitous that it has now become odd not to have one. As Mashable explains, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organise content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. In the events world, hashtags help event attendees organise their online conversations – about panels, speakers, ideas and opinions – and stay connected virtually long after the event itself has ended. These online conversations have become an important part of the life cycle of an event. We've previously discussed the trend towards creating online communities to help promote your event. This hashtag will be crucial in executing this strategy. As corporate event organisers look for new ways to engage their audiences and provide rich brand experiences, incorporating a hashtag is one of the simplest and most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. However, if done wrong and without proper consideration you could be heading towards a huge #fail with no one using it or worse, facing public humiliation (remember Susan Boyle's album launch #susanalbumparty). That's why it's important to choose the right hashtag so that people actually use it. The four golden rules of an effective event hashtag It's Unique Make it memorable It makes sense Keep it short 1. It’s unique The purpose of a hashtag that’s associated with an event is to enable those at the event (and sometimes those who couldn’t make it in person) to connect to one another, share their thoughts, experiences and content, and continue to network after the event. So if your hashtag is being used by another event or group, or is too broad, it muddies the conversation and makes it hard for your group to find each other. The best event hashtags are those that are unique to the event at hand. If, say, your event is a travel event, you probably don’t want to choose a hashtag like #travel or #lovetotravel (too broad and not specific enough). You can easily cull unsuitable hashtags by performing a quick search on Twitter and Instagram to see what results are already there. We recommend creating a list of 3 - 5 possible hashtags that you'd like to use, run a search on them and decide from there which one to go with. If all fail, then start again! One thing to consider is dating your hashtag. You would need to decide whether you want it to be specific to that year's event, or whether you have an ongoing event and want to build traction behind the hashtag - #SCtech15 vs #SCTech. 2. Make it memorable It would seem only reasonable that if you're displaying your hashtag on every piece of communication to promote the event, and throughout the venue on the event day, that audiences would remember your hashtag? Well, unfortunately this isn't the case. If you're organising a travel expo event in June of 2015 and the hashtag is #TravlXpoJn15, it is highly likely people won't remember it, misspell it or can't be bothered to go back and search for it. Was it #travelexpojune2015 #travelex15? The best hashtags are the most memorable. They relate well to the event at hand (a travel event should probably have the word “travel” in it, for instance), and they stick in the brain either because they’re short and sweet, they make obvious sense, or they’re fun and cool. A good example for this could be #TravelExpo15 (or whatever the name of the event is). 3. It’s intelligible Looking back at the previous Travel Expo example the hashtag - #TravlXpoJn15 - isn’t easily readable. When you see the letters you can partially understand what it is meant to say, but not being true words we wouldn't easily remember it. You'll also have to consider when in practice, upper case titles often get removed or people forget to add making your hashtag even harder to decipher - #travlxpojn15 (???). It's safer to use actual words than abbreviations unless they're common ones such an inc. for incorporated. In this instance, a better and more sensible hashtag would be #travelexpo2015. It might be a little long, but at least anyone who sees it – whether they’re at the event or they just stumble across it while browsing social media– will understand what the hashtag is all about at first glance. Additionally, if your event attendees are not sure what the official event hashtag is, using something like the above example means it could be easily guessed. Other things to consider: Spaces aren't supported. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#TravelExpo). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results, so searching for #TravelExpo will yield the same results as #travelexpo. Numbers are supported, so you can include dates to help identify your events. Only words and numbers are allowed so don't try to include punctuation marks, ampersands or any other special characters Keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different. Using @ before a person’s Twitter or Instagram handle will post to them directly. 4. Keep it short and simple Last but not least, you want your event hashtag to be short and sweet. In this example, #travelexpojune2015 might be too long. It’s 19 characters long. If someone wanted to share a link, let’s say, while using your hashtag, they’d only have about 100 characters to write their message. And if they want to leave room for a retweet, they’re down to just about 80 characters. For a little context, the previous sentence was 87 characters long. The shorter the hashtag, the more room your attendees will have to share their thoughts. So instead of #travelexpojune2015, you might want to shorten it to just #travelexpo – much shorter, and it has the added bonus of being useable after the month of the conference, in case you want to make it an annual event. What's next? Encouraging interaction at your corporate event Now that you have applied the four golden rules to an effective event hashtag, how will you promote your hashtag to get audiences using it? We've mentioned previously that event organisers include the hashtag on their promotional materials and often the first speaker of the day will mention it during House Rules. However, these are still quite passive approaches. How do you start the conversation and actually encourage people to post? What if we said you could display a live social feed of all the posts tagged with your event hashtag onto a large screen for all your audience to see? Event Feed is Staging Connections social media wall which pulls in all posts from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that include the event hashtag. Event organisers have been using it at conferences and awards nights across Australian and New Zealand and have found it to significantly increase their audience engagement and social spread of the event. Interested in using Event Feed at your next corporate event? Head over to the Event Feed page for more information or contact us to start planning your next event. Related Articles Say Hello! to Event Feed - Event Tweet has had an upgrade! How to trend on Twitter 5 Clever Ways to Use Twitter at your event 25 Reasons You'll Love Event Poll Post orginally seen on Adweek and repurposed for events ... Read More

4 ways you can increase ROI by webcasting your event

It’s little surprise that brands are wanting more from events. The technological world has evolved to allow them to connect with a virtual audience in a similar way to how they would with an in-room audience. The sophistication of today’s live-streaming, on-demand downloads, and online audience participation make webcasting events not just a great engagement tool, but also a revenue raising opportunity. By delivering your event through webcasting, you’re creating three distinct forms of valuable product: Content, Exposure, and Measurement. And you’re creating an opportunity to boost your revenue much higher than you would with a one-off, one-location show. Four ways to make money from webcasting your event By broadcasting your event through a tool like Staging Connections’ Event Webcast, you’ll be able to target the key areas of sponsorship, content and marketing collateral. Here’s a little bit more on how to get the most of it. 1. Paid access to content Sometimes, there will be people who want to attend your event but just physically, or geographically, can’t be there. You might want to offer training, or have a global audience who is keen to hear what you have to say. That’s where paid access can come in handy. Staging Connections can help you set-up a pay wall to view your streamed event, so people can participate from afar and still have access to your valuable content. The branded webcast page will also be live for up to a year after your event, allowing you to continue hosting and charging access for. It’s a great tool for maximising the return from your event. 2. Sponsorship Opportunities Staging Connections’ webcast platform is the most customisable in the Australian market. The webcast skin and embedded features provide brands with many sponsorship opportunities. Below are some ways you can use the realty to attract sponsors vying for the same audience: Brand name or logo insets on the webcast skin Branded questions included in the live polling platform (available only in certain packages) In-video and pre-roll advertisements similar to what you see on YouTube Branded social media links posted on embedded social media feed Branded downloadable documents Don’t forget, you’re online with a webcast, so directing participants to a sponsors website, video content, social media or any other web-based promotion is a very simple task. 3. Data capture The great thing about giving viewers the opportunity to stream or watch ondemand is that will provide invaluable data in order to access the content. When you register for a webcast you are often asked to submit your name, company, job title, location, email address and even phone number. This information coupled with some basic web analytics can provide a lot of information about your audience. You can measure everything from who attended, their location, what device they’re using, how long they watched the video for, and even who interacted with the webcast add-on features such as live polling or social media. Once captured this data can help create audience segments and aid future marketing and business initiatives. This is especially useful for business development and lead generation. Now that you know what content the audience is interested in, and they have given you their information, you can start a conversation and follow-up with additional webcasts or cross-promote other services your brand offers. The webcast is used to start the conversation and now it’s up to you to nurture that lead and turn them into a loyal customer. 4. Marketing Collateral By their very nature, webcasts are a fantastic platform for your sponsors. Why? Because you’re hosting an event that’s capturing the attention of a very specific target audience, something traditional mediums of advertising just can’t offer for branded messages. When you webcast, you’re not just streaming live – you’re recording valuable video and audio that can be repackaged and repurposed for future use. And you’re doing it at a fraction of the cost of sourcing footage in other ways. This means you’ve already got yourself material for ads, promo videos, and branded material for you to promote on your website and on social media. It’s a saving on your marketing budget that can lead to big things. Of course, when you host material on your website you also get the added benefit of increasing your content, driving traffic to your social platforms and sponsors links, better SEO, and cementing your credibility in the market. Benefits of Webcasting your event Staging Connections has brought webcasting to events for a wide array of applications. Beyond conferencing or sales, webcasting can be used for connecting with global audiences, streaming celebrity clients for launches, and ensuring people don’t miss out on important events all around the world. We’ve helped Australian manufacturers’ webcast announcements and demonstrations for products to a worldwide network. We’ve helped companies communicate from the CBD to remote Australian towns. And we’ve helped our clients do this quickly, and effectively – so let’s talk about how we can help you do the same. Webcast your next event Not sure if webcasting is right for you? Get in touch with us and one of our experienced event directors will help you find the best products to match your event objectives. Related Articles on Webcasting The benefits of webcasting your event Opinion Piece: Making Money from Webcasting by General Manager - Digital, Tim Chapman Launching Hobart 39 - a live webcast of ship unveiling ... Read More


5 corporate event trends we've noticed for 2015

1 Companies Stopped Spending Money On 'Stuff' And Started Spending On Experiences. This trend applies to both big and small companies, as the consumer culture has shifted in favor of experience rather than a simple act of buying. If before, the purchased product was enough to justify the act of spending money, nowadays the act of purchase has to be an event in itself. Apple has pioneered this concept with its Apple Stores. This had a dramatic impact on event marketing. In part because of this consumer obsession with experience, companies have started spending more money on event marketing than ever before. While this seems like good news for event marketers, it is important to remember that the expectations of companies for event marketing have increased. This trend disproves the earlier assumption made by many companies that the physical object will be valued by people more than the intangible experience. Apparently, when spending their money, the people are paying more attention to the emotional side of their brain rather than the logical one. That is why enjoyable experiences, such as vacations or concerts, are highly valued by people and are always in demand. That's why you need to choose the location of the event wisely. 2 Mobile Event Apps Are More Popular Than Ever Before. A great number of event marketers have stressed the importance of mobile event apps. Most of event marketers are using at least one mobile event app, while many other event marketers are using multiple event apps for a single event they manage. This helps them streamline every aspect of their event marketing work, everything from check-ins to guest interactions during event. 3 Event Marketers Are Stressing The Importance Of Integrated Technology Solutions. With a proliferation of technology, more and more devices are becoming available to an event marketer. With this multitude of devices has come a need for one unified data set that can be accessed from any device. This is important not only for the purpose of work simplification but also for the purpose of ROI measurement. That is why mobile event apps should be integrated with existing marketing automation platforms and customer relationship management software. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and makes it easy to measure data. 4 Event Marketers Are Still Unsure On How To Prove The Event ROI. More than half of event marketers interviewed in a marketing study said that they believe that the event ROI is going to be the primary measure of their effectiveness. Nevertheless, the vast majority of event marketers cannot identify the key metrics that can be used by companies to measure the event ROI. This points to yet another interesting trend in event marketing that we discuss below. 5 Adoption Time For New Technology In Event Marketing Is Still Quite Long. While the new event marketing technologies are entering the market almost every month, not many of these technologies will have a permanent place in the pantheon of marketing. The vast majority of marketers seem to be aware of this phenomenon, so they shy away from many new technologies, in part because they require investment of both time and money. However, the fact that mobile apps have gained ground in event marketing in a relatively short period of time is an encouraging development for all the tech enthusiasts out there. ... Read More

Celebrating International Stage Managers Day 2015

International Stage Managers Day (Saturday 10th October, 2015) was created in 2012 by the Stage Management Association in the United Kingdom, and what began as dedicated hashtag (#StageMgrs15) on social media, has quickly evolved into a global day to celebrate those who work behind the scenes. With all sorts of performances requiring creative stage management, the day recognises those talented men and women in black, who you’ll find behind the scenes with their headsets on. They’re renowned for finding creative solutions to problems and without them, the show would literally not go on! This year we are celebrating one of our longest serving Stage Managers, Fiona Robinson, who kicked off her career over 15 years ago as an assistant to the Account Managers, before progressing through to Project Manager and then Stage Manager. Her passion for creating special experiences that go off without a hitch has ensured her success, working on some of the largest events Staging Connections has produced like Rotary, the IUCN World Parks Congress and special events like the Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s Great Humpty Ball which brings together some of Australia’s biggest celebrities. Fiona shares her thoughts on her career, the industry and how to get ahead. Q: How did you get into the world of events? A: Before I joined Staging Connections I worked at the Hordern Pavilion back when it was owned by the Royal Agricultural Society, so my background was in events but in a predominantly Rock n Roll Venue. Fifteen years on, I’m still loving being a part of the event world! Q: What event would you LOVE to work on? A: EUROVISION would be my ultimate event. Q: There’s always ups and downs, what have been some of the highest highs for you? A: Working on really big events like Rotary, or the IUCN World Parks Congress, the Humpty Dumpty Foundation’s Great Humpty Ball and working with some big names/performers is the best! Some people can be very diva-like, but at the end of the day they will turn to you for help, so by showing them you are all business with a few laughs thrown in to put performers at ease, sets you in good stead from the get go. One particular event I was dealing with a well known singer, and during her introduction to bring her onstage the MC wasn’t supposed to mention her name - it was meant to be a big reveal - but the MC accidentally told the crowd who it was. Her manager had a total melt down backstage and there was dead silence! Awkward! After a minute, which felt like a lifetime she went onstage as the manager was still going on about it so I had to pull him away and tell him to ‘get over it’! The singer wasn’t impressed about it but she powered through like a pro and had a great show. She came off stage upset with her manager for carrying on – it felt like a reality show was playing out in front of me! Never a dull moment… Q: And the lows? A: It can be a real challenge when there’s no rehearsal time, or when some people take up too much rehearsal time because they are running late. I’m a stickler for being on time! Q: What do you do to overcome any challenges? A: This is a tricky one. You basically have to fly by the seat of your pants and be on point for anything that can happen. There are no real solutions but one thing I have in the back of my mind is, the audience doesn’t have the run sheet in front of them so if something does go wrong or someone stuffs up, the audience has no idea, so just run with it. It’s a challenge working with those who don’t listen to briefings because “they’ve done it a million times” and then they walk out on stage and they have the old, deer-caught-in-headlights look! Q: Is the events industry a supportive environment for women? A: There are certainly more women in the audio visual side of the business these days. With more women around we tend to lift each other up and support each other when it’s needed. When things get hectic, sometimes you just need a debrief, or glass of bubbles so it’s great to have a supportive team around who understand the perfect time for each of these! Plus with women’s networking associations like Business Chicks, who Staging Connections sponsors, I’ve been able to get involved and I love what they’re all about. They also have really empowering speakers at their events which are produced by an all-female team YAY! Associations like these have certainly lifted the profile of women in many industries, including the AV side of the events industry. Q: Any tips for budding stage managers? A: Learn the art of patience! You will also need to be quite forceful and firm to get things moving or it will all fall to pieces. Be prepared, ensuring people are ready to go on stage way ahead of time. There is nothing worse than having a speaker or performer who is late to the stage, it reflects badly and could have been avoided with a little more preparation time. Also learn where the green rooms are and make sure that they’re set to their riders/requests. Oh and the big one.....always check as to when do I/we get fed, this is very important to know! Q: When you’re not busy behind the scenes, what do you get up to? A: Doing a Marathon…Not running of course, a TV Marathon, of any new series I can get my hands on. I can’t get enough once I’m hooked. I can have 3 different shows on the go at any time. Staging Connections is an equal-opportunity employer. Visit our Careers and Training page to see current opportunities to join ANZPAC's leading event staging and technical production company. ... Read More

Catwalk to Trackside: This Year's Spring Racing Event Trends

Taking inspiration from this seasons catwalk trends, Staging Connections’ talented stylist for SA and WA, Alana Bolt, has translated the stunning looks from the Spring Racing Carnival and transformed them into dazzling styling ideas for events of all shapes and sizes. One of the most glamorous events of the social calendar, the Spring Racing Carnival is renowned for its flowing champagne, delectable food and a sea of beautiful millinery and fabulous fashion. So what stylish event trends fit this time of year, like a glove? White, White, White Timeless and crisp, white is the colour of spring. It’s elegant, chic and a versatile. Bring white into your event with soft drapes, tablecloths, chair covers, flower walls, candles and floral centrepieces. Add some shimmer, with elements that will dazzle attendees and lift the event space; from glistening crystals adorning mirrored table centrepieces, to metallic leaf centrepieces. Add natural colours and textures to balance an all-white space, like green foliage topiary balls hanging from the ceiling or faux grass below a casual seating area. Simple yet elegant, white will brighten up your event. Floral Frenzy When the sun starts to shine brighter and the fields bloom with bright flowers, Spring has arrived! And what says Spring more than beautiful, fresh flowers? Florals make a strong fashion statement, combining colour, detail and texture. Don’t just rely on flowers in a vase to liven your event, make an impact using strong prints as backdrops or furnishings, with 70s and Japanese inspired designs the epitome of style this year. Or add a floral wall – it doesn’t have to be the size of Kim Kardashian’s wedding backdrop, even a small wall filled with bright flowers is sure to be the ultimate talking point. Run a competition using Event Feed to see who can capture the best photo of the flowers and share it on social media. Hang paper lanterns or umbrellas from the ceiling to mimic the feel of an evening garden party. Simple, feminine furnishings in soft pink tones, combined with bursts of floral prints covering cushions, or relaxed seating and dashes of lace and frills will give your event a special ambiance. Sleek Blues Ombré is not just for hair this season, it translates perfectly for events as well. Rich blues gradually blending into white or apricot creates a warm, soft setting. Using a complimentary colour scheme like blue and apricot, incorporate soft furnishings to create a sense of warmth, florals to brighten the space and a dramatic ceiling installation or stark white entry arches for a modern and stylish design. Add an Event Backdrop with stylish design so attendees can have their photo snapped on an illuminated ombré wall and share it with their followers online. For cocktail events, blue and chrome bar stools pair perfectly with sleek accent drop pendant lighting to keep the look modern and stylish. This understated elegance will bring warmth and class to the event environment. Spring Sensations Take inspiration from the season. Pump up the volume with bright, bold colours. Australia has some of the most unique flowers in the world, so go on, use them en masse! Make a big statement by showcasing hundreds of peonies in tin buckets, combine seasonal colours like orange, blue, green and pink to get the ultimate spring effect. Potted plants of all shapes and sizes scattered or stacked on wooden pallets create a relaxed, unstructured space, with additional pallets stacked to create functional bar tables and casual seating areas. Astro turf is a quirky addition and can be used to easily break up a large space into smaller sections. Line the edges of the space with potted blooms or a bright coloured picket fence. Bigger and brighter is what this trend is all about. Add digital styling elements like projection mapping and holding slides with custom art work, created with the bright colour palette in mind. Black, White and A Pop of Colour A monochrome theme has been a favourite of events for many years. It’s smart, it’s sophisticated and it’s timeless. Think Derby Day, with black and white table décor and black draping with white furniture. Silver horseshoe centrepieces make a statement when decorated with a flourish of spring foliage, add a mirrored disk underneath for extra glam. Monochrome also lends itself well to a pop of feature colour if you want to mix it up. To truly get in the racing spirit, consider matching your colour accent with the signature flower of each racing day – Caulfield Cup Day has a white rose, Cox Plate Day has a Cecil Brunner rose, Victoria Derby Day has a blue cornflower, Melbourne Cup Day has a yellow rose and Crown Oaks day has a pink rose. Get greater engagement with your guests by hosting your own betting pool. Using Event Poll, get guests to vote on which horse they feel is the winner! Rustic and Earthy For an organic and authentic rustic event setting, use garden props like wheelbarrows, watering pots and herb gardens. Hay bales and corrugated iron walls really add to the authenticity of this trend. Emphasise a sustainable theme right from the beginning by using recycled paper invitations and stationery. For a really authentic track-side experience, set up a marquee on grass, or to stop those heels digging into the grass, roll out the astro turf instead. Enhance a marquee with striped overhead draping and beaded chandeliers, covered in ivy strands. Add wicker furniture with floral and crystal obelisk centrepieces. Create a focal point with a ceiling installation made from twigs and native Australian flora and use a variety of lighting effects throughout the event. It’s easy to translate what you’re seeing on the catwalk to the theme of your next event. It just takes a little imagination and some clever effects. Credit: Header Image Punters ... Read More

6 insider tips for making sure your Christmas party is on trend

The job of planning the company Christmas party can often feel very overwhelming. To add to the stress levels, there are often time and budget constraints, despite expectations for it to be bigger and better than last year. Fortunately we’re here to help. Below are 6 insider tips every Christmas party planner needs to know. 1. Create a hype plan for your event How will you get the word out there and make sure everyone is excited for the event? Send a ‘Save the Date’ calendar invite as soon as your venue is secured. Create posters to stick around the office. Invest in an awesome invite design that really captures the theme or mood of the event. Plan when you’re going to send reminders and what they’re going to say. Each email should contain some new information and create intrigue and excitement. 2. Find a venue with an AV partner AV is often left to the last minute – even though it is the most important element for transforming your event and bringing to life the theme. Being smart with your AV can often save you a lot of money in theming and styling because you can easily create an event theme with great content on screens, lighting projected onto the walls and floors, smoke machines, sound effects...the list goes on. External AV hire can also quickly chew up a lot of budget as you’ll need to cover operation costs above the equipment hire. Most premium venues do have in-house AV so you’re likely to get a much better deal, as well as the peace of mind knowing the audio and vision is taken care of. Venue Locator is a great tool because all venues have Staging Connections as their in-house AV provider. 3. Make sure your theme and styling is on trend Styling and theming isn’t just about the odd draping here and there, it should be integrated throughout every aspect of the event. We’re experiencing a shift towards immersive events where AV and styling become one, creating an unforgettable experience for your guests. To maximise your budget we recommend bundling styling with your AV and venue so make sure you ask this when reviewing your venue and AV partner. See what themes our stylists are predictions for this year. It’s also important to consider your guests’ journey – What will the entrance look like? What do they first see when they enter the room? Are the toilet facilities themed? Can we design a themed menu? 4. Balance your styling and branding Pictured: Event Backdrop used at a recent awards night in Perth. One of the hardest things event planners face is striking the right balance between styling and branding. If you go too far towards styling your brand gets lost, but if you go too heavy towards branding your event loses the festive vibe. Staging Connections has recently launched a branding solution, Event Backdrop, which allows you to get the best of both worlds at the price you hoped for. Now your branding can be integrated into a stunning custom designed backdrop, printed in photographic quality onto canvas. It's the perfect way to marry your styling and branding and guarantee your branding features in photos. 5. Make it interactive The entertainment on the night can be one of the most talked about aspects of the whole event and is something that can really help bring people together and help iron out those potentially awkward moments of stilted work chat between colleagues. Pictured: Event Tweet entertaining guests at styled events. Integrating a live social feed into your event is very popular. Event Tweet allows you to capture your guests’ tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts via a dedicated hashtag and displays them instantly on screen for all to see and comment. It’s great for encouraging that festive cheer and if everyone’s going to be posting anyhow, why not take advantage of that? Pictured: Event Poll is great for asking feedback and fun questions like "Who's Best Dressed?" Award-giving is a fun way to recognise employee achievement and reward their hard work for the year. We’re seeing a trend for social events using our audience polling platform, Event Poll, for more entertainment purposes rather than instant audience feedback. For example, you can use Event Poll to ask your guests who is best dressed or who they tip to win ‘Most Valuable Player’. There are so many ways you can engage your guests with Event Poll and it’s a cost-effective way to keep everyone entertained. Pictured: Various live entertainers for Vintage Circus, Harry Potter and Enchanted Forest event themes. A more traditional approach, but still just as effective is hiring performers and entertainers that match your theme. There is no shortage of options here with popular ideas including comedians, magicians, stunt shows, aerial artists, circus acts or after-dinner speakers. 6. Ask for feedback the smart way Find out what guests enjoyed about the event and what they didn’t, this way it will help you to organise an even better party next year. Don’t wait and send a survey a few days later because people often won’t be bothered or have simply forgotten. With Event Poll you can ask the audience on the spot for their feedback using a variety of question formats to suit your event type and desired response. After the event you can download a summary of the questions and their responses with data that shows who answered what and even who responded the most. Hungry for more Christmas party planning tips? Setting the date: The best option is to select 3 – 4 possible dates so that you have flexibility when you find the perfect venue. Managing the budget: We recommend allocating the budget by what is most important to your guests and always leave some more aside as a buffer. Packaged deals: Opt for semi-customisable packaged deals offered by venues to ease the stress. This gives you the best of both worlds – whilst you’re given the freedom to choose, you can sit back and relax knowing your event is in safe hands. Guest List: Nominate reps in each dept to help chase RSVP’s & dietary requests and answer any other questions. They can also help you crowd source music suggestions. Setting the mood: Dancing at the office Christmas party is usually a must and it’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to really let their hair down. Music is key to your party so ensure it is done properly and flows throughout your venue space - this is where your AV partner can step in. Capture the moment like a pro: Many people will doubtless be snapping away on their mobile phones but hiring a professional will give you much better quality pictures and reminders of the event. Good shots can also be used on the company blog, website and social media, in marketing materials and put up round the office. Organise Transportation: Making sure people can safely get to and from your venue is important for ensuring the evening runs as hassle-free as possible. ... Read More

Backstage event a hit in Queensland

Staging Connections SEQ opened their warehouse doors to give valued clients and venue partners an exclusive back of house experience. The aim of the two-day forum was to educate, inspire and excite the local events community with practical and fresh ideas for the future. Event Type: Educational seminar for VIP event planners and Venue partners Venue: SEQ Head office and Warehouse, Loganholme Date: Wednesday 15th July and Thursday 16th July; 2 till 5pm daily Event Brief Staging Connections customers have various levels and scope of event staging experience and production. Our less experienced customers lack in AV 101 fundamentals and our more experienced customers are constantly yearning for more ‘what’s new’. We needed to deliver an exclusive event for our customers that not only entertained, but also educated so no matter their event experience they can walk away with practical tools and advice to apply and raise-the-bar for their next event. Event Solution As part of our ongoing commitment to excellent customer service, Staging Connections created ‘Backstage’ - an exclusive event for our VIP clients held annually in each State where they are invited back of house for an insightful experience learning the in's and out's of live event production and events industry trends. Our most recent event hosted by our South East Queensland team took a novel approach and was deemed highly successful. We wanted to provide our clients with an engaging and relatable experience that allowed us to address all areas of live event production whilst balancing the levels of interest and experience. Recreating the clients’ day-to-day event planning process from brief to execution was the perfect scenario. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed at our casual garden tea party setting where they could register and enjoy freshly brewed coffee and hot beverages from our friends at Alpine Cabin. Garden tea party setting created using astro-turf carpets, horizontal timber screens, white cane lounges with cool-blues and yellow furnishings. To highlight how social media can enhance engagement at your event, Staging Connections installed a large LCD TV screen displaying live social posts which were being pushed to screen via Event Tweet. This means that all guests could see their tweet, Facebook or Instagram post on screen simply by including the event hashtag - #BackstageSC. Event Tweet (left) more Garden Tea Party styling (right). From there, guests then entered into the ‘conference’ room, where Staging Connections created an intimate setting draped in black, fit for our 30 – 40 VIPs. Illuminated Rentals provided funky light lounges and pods placed in a non-traditional seating style. In the room we also installed our latest branding solution – Event Backdrop, a 4m x 2.4m internally lit framed canvas – to show clients how this cost-effective and high impact branding solution can instantly create a stunning branded backdrop and point of interest for your event. Once the guests were comfortable, the mock event planning process began. During the talk Staging Connections demonstrated the latest audio, vision, lighting, and digital event solutions showcasing their benefits and how they added value. Event Backdrop pictured in background with pod chairs provided by Illuminated Rentals. AUDIO VISUAL A dramatic Kabooki-drop exposed a key stage feature comprising a super-wide-screen, complemented by a star-cloth backdrop and funky new LED Pix-Pads and Fusion bars. Cool lighting effects with hazers and intelligent movers, slowly transformed the room and became full of light and energy with multimedia animations, upbeat contemporary music and a hint of haze to pick up the gorgeous, coloured lighting beams. Guests listened to presentations on each key AV area - audio, vision, styling and digital. DIGITAL In order to showcase our webcasting services, we live broadcasted our ‘key-note speaker’ who presented the top 5 emerging technology trends unveiled at this year’s InfoComm in the US. Director of Event Technology, Andrew MacColl presented via webcast. Staging Connections’ live polling platform, Event Poll, was demonstrated with the presenter actively asking the audience questions with their responses displayed in real-time on screen. Guest feedback was displayed live, on screen via Event Poll. As a finale to the fictitious brief, the mock conference event ended with a high-energy performance from Phoenix Fire Tribe – an exhilarating end to the agenda. Fire twirling performance by Phoenix Fire Tribe. STYLING The Backstage event concluded with an event styling retail experience which showcased our latest range of designs. Guests were invited to ‘shop’ through our 2,200m2 warehouse which was lined with various styled table sets and props. Various styled table sets guests could 'shop'. After the styling showcase, guests enjoyed delicious canapés and premium beverages provided by Wine & Dine’m Catering. Using our Event Poll platform we asked guests for feedback on the event and to share their experience. “Fantastic interactive presentation” “Love the light show” “Great format - fantastic production, educational and entertaining, many thanks” “Loved the unique approach, learnt lots, thanks so much.” ... Read More