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

AHA WA Awards 2015: When art inspires events

Ink being poured into water is transformed into visual art, for the Australian Hotels Association gala dinner by Staging Connections in Western Australia. Pulling out all the stops to deliver a creative concept for the NAB 2015 WA Hospitality Supplier Awards and Toxfree gala dinner by the Australian Hotels Association, Staging Connections combined imagination with class-leading technology to design and produce the stand-out gala event at Crown Perth, 18 May 2015. The 500 guests at the event were impressed by the smokey, fluid graphics that were themed around ink being poured into water. The abstract idea was developed by Staging Connections team in Western Australia who were looking for a concept that reflected the event’s invitation, evoking ambient energy and emotion in a unique way. The vision was projected onto a 3D modular set built from interlocking aluminium extrusion and Perspex panels, allowing for the irregularities of the venue’s event space to be incorporated into the event’s design. Idris Achmad, State Manager, Staging Connections Western Australia commented on the visually stunning event design. “Our team was essentially given free rein in coming up with a creative direction and translating it into the event design. From collaborative discussions we came up with several ideas that would be exciting yet still graceful in order to suit the prestigious award ceremony celebrations. “Projection mapping allowed us to use a modular set which overcame several challenges of tight bump-in and limited rigging options yet allowed us to completely transform the venue with immersive, almost trance-like imagery of ink flowing into water. “We used slow motion footage of coloured inks poured into water and as the ink swirled around it changed colours on the screen, slowly filing the modular set from the floor to the ceiling. “We’re always looking for ways to push the boundaries and keep our clients wowed, time and time again,” said Mr Achmad. Bradley Woods, CEO from the Australian Hotels Association was delighted with the result and commented on how the creativity of the team impacted their event. “There was such a buzz of excitement in the room, not just from the award winners but also from the 500-strong crowd who were amazed at how the room looked; lit up with colours and alive with energy from the projections. “Awards are such an exciting celebration and by making the setting such an unusual and energetic space we left a lasting impression on our attendees. “This was the first time we’d used projections on a 3D modular set and the concept worked so well we will use this again,” said Mr Woods. Having worked with the Australian Hotels Association for over 15 years, Staging Connections were brought in as an external AV supplier for the event at Crown Perth. Ensuring a clear experience for all attendees, Staging Connections mapped the set using two 12,000 lumen projectors and a 4,300 lumen projector with Dataton Watchout to create a dynamic canvas whilst accounting for the negative space and shift in perspective as the depth changed. ... Read More

Australiana themed gala dinner for Automotive Brands Group

For this year's Automotive Brands Group annual gala dinner, aptly themed Australiana, we custom built a magnificent 26 metre by 4 metre high curved screen with a multi-projector blend stage backdrop as the room feature. Background and The Event Brief Event Type: Gala Awards Dinner – Australiana Theme Venue: Pavilion Ballroom, Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast Client: Automotive Brands Group Date: Friday 22nd May 2015 Automotive Brands Group hold a bi-annual store and supplier convention which in 2015 was on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The event consisted of an Expo, Conference and four special event dinners which culminate in a Gala Awards Dinner on the final night. The Staging Connections team were challenged to design, create and manage a compelling Awards dinner that engages the audience ensuring that the finale is an extravaganza that creates a memorable evening that will be reminisced over the next 18-24 months until the next convention, while ensuring dynamic recognition for the over 600 store owners and suppliers of Automotive Brands Group. The Audio Visual Solution Our event design originated in our desire to bring the wonderful images of Australia to life using a custom built 26 x 4.5 metre curved screen which hugged the width of the Pavilion Ballroom. This panoramic vista was created utilising four Christie 18k HD projectors blended to fill the magnificent cyclorama with beautiful, animated content, commissioned and created by our talented multi-media team. Content including sky views, city skylines, images beaming across the iconic Australian landscape encapsulating our wonderful floral and fauna that highlights the natural beauty of Australia. An array of Intelligent lighting was set in the Ballroom to synchronise with the different stages of the sun rising and setting while also symbolising the different elements of our Australian landscape, green, blue, red and yellow for Rainforest, Coastal, Outback and Sun/Beach. Award winners and finalist were celebrated with ballyhoo and walk-up stings, to highlight their great individual achievements. The styling was a delicate balance to complement the magnificent curved screen with 58 dramatic yellow and red floral centrepieces symbolising the overarching Australiana theme, with these set on mirror plates and tea-light candles bringing movement and life, to the scented table bouquet. The black linen had hints of glitter in the table-runner bringing a subtle elegance to this gala setting. The combined elements resulted in an elated client, describing the event as “a benchmark for their industry, a highly professional and slick Gala Awards Dinner, which ran like clockwork – a real showstopper”. ... Read More

Big is back for end of year celebrations - Part 2: 12 Days of Christmas

This year, immersive themed events are hotly tipped to be the way to give your guests an exciting and memorable celebration and importantly - end the year with a bang! Some event themes are classic and will always inspire, while others trend alongside popular culture. This year Christmas event styling is focusing on creating immersive events that ‘tell a story’ with festive flair. Immersive events are about going above and beyond your typical styling treasure trove to embracing audio visual solutions that transform your venue. We want to give you a taste of what is hot this year in event styling and our top tips for really bringing your theme to life. Part 1: Vintage Circus and Carnival || Part 3: Hollywood Awards || Part 4: Northern Lights 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Undeniably a favourite Christmas carol, we share how to bring the ’12 Days of Christmas’ to life as an immersive event theme. With the application of the latest in digital technology, we are nearly boundless in ways to make a real impact with this theme. Imagine your event room becoming a live countdown to Christmas, where every 15 minutes the entire room transforms to bring to life the day’s theme. Audio visual equipment used to transform the room theme every 15 mins. Through the use of various audio visual techniques, we can literally make it appear as if there were ‘6 Turtle Doves’ flying around the room! Large hanging banners decorating the walls and lining the ceiling can change appearance as graphics are projected onto the fabric. Custom designed gobos can illuminate the floor to coordinate with the countdown and are a great way to brand your event. The full story can be told via digital screens lining the room, all showing content designed to work harmoniously with the other digital elements around the room. The key to being immersive is creating a space where everything works together. Banners which change design every 15mins via image projections When it comes to decorating the tables, don’t detract from the magnificent light show with over-styled centrepieces. Instead go for modern interpretations with traditional colours such as chocolate, bronze and gold with accents of burgundy or dark hunter green. Combine these with some natural Christmas flora such as mistletoe, or tree pine brush to add warmth to the centrepieces. Left: LED candles wrapped in music sheets. Right: Themed menu and table cards. First impressions count and you’ll want to wow your guests from the moment they arrive. Incorporate props, interactive photo booths and entry decorations to tease the theme. A simple and cost effective way to decorate the entry way is with Staging Connections latest product - Event Backdrop. We can create a custom design that integrates your branding, the event name and the theme to create a beautiful illuminated mural to set the scene. Top tips Whilst the AV is working to transform the room, it’s the little details at ground level which tie it all together. Including elements that give a sense of subtle nostalgia interpreted in unexpected ways such as wrapping old Christmas music sheets around tall LED candles turning them into elegant lumieres. Candles create the perfect ambience for a Christmas event. Use vintage Christmas holiday postcards as a novel way to leave personal messages for guests or table naming place cards. Want to see what other predictions we have... Part 1: Vintage Circus and Carnival || Part 3: Hollywood Awards Night || Part 4: Northern Lights ... Read More

5 Hottest Trends from InfoComm 2015

This week we're bringing you the five hottest trends you need to know from InfoComm 2015. We sent our talented Director of Event Technology, Andrew MacColl to be our roving reporter and he's come back with a treasure chest full of cool new gadgets and ideas. Here's what you need to know. With over 38,000 visitors and almost 1,000 exhibitors, InfoComm held in Orlando, Florida this year was massive – it’s where AV geeks from around the world congregate to indulge in the latest and greatest tech. The West Concourse at the Orange County Convention centre is full with every kind of audiovisual toy imaginable, and more than a few that challenge the status quo. To give you some idea of just how big the floor area for the main hall is, it’s approximately the size of 17 football fields and it’s so full that the show overflows onto other levels. The marketing tag for this year’s show is ‘WOW’ and that word somehow seemed to fall from the lips of attendees over and over throughout the day. This is one slick show, with every aspect of the attendee experience considered and executed to the highest professional standard. But enough about the stats and boring stuff. Let’s talk tech! 1. Ultra High Definition The really big thing from the display device exhibitors is 4K resolution. Every single panel, projector or display manufacturer has moved on from 2K (High Definition, Full HD or 1080P) and has embraced Ultra High Definition, or 4K. With eye popping sharpness, clarity and colour reproduction the image quality is breathtaking. It seems like it has reached a tipping point where the previously high cost of producing 4K panels has come down to a point where 2K is no longer the norm, and the industry may as well just concentrate on producing the higher resolution products. I, for one, admit to remaining sceptical and feel that with little content available, this is a change driven by manufacturers obsessed with outdoing each other. One stand from a very large Korean manufacturer has signs up throughout the exhibition space banning photographs. Call me crazy but I rather feel they have missed the point of exhibiting. 2. 3D Pixel Mapping The other technology that has really matured this year is 3D pixel mapping. Whilst the previous best known use of transforming a large public building into a mythological enchanted forest or an undersea adventure park complete with scary sharks has been great fun, it’s not really been very accessible or affordable for the average event designer. It was great to see some really high quality smaller scale applications emerge from companies like Panasonic and Barco that will filter through and find uses on shows where the budget does not exceed the GDP of a small third world country. Some of these applications such as the spinning glove and pixel mapped car on the Panasonic stand will even scale down to eye-catching POS activations for retail. 3. Mirror surface LEDs The mirror surface LED from Samsung is definitely going to have a place in events, especially for product launches. The glass of the panel is a very clear mirrored surface, just perfect for cosmetics and fashion displays. 4. 3D LED displays minus the glasses Say goodbye to those tacky black-rimmed 3D glasses, the high quality 3D LED displays don’t need glasses to enjoy the full immersive experience. 5. Architectural software/hardware display solutions A range of architectural software/hardware solutions were on show that allow striking video walls to be a hero piece in all sorts of different sizes, and orientations. As you can see InfoComm 2015 did not disappoint. Exciting times ahead for us at Staging Connections as we soon welcome some of these cool new gadgets to our ever-expanding portfolio of event technology and audio visual solutions. With over 30 years experience in the industry, Andrew MacColl is one of the most senior technical practitioners out there. We have been fortunate enough to have Andrew part of our Staging Connections team for 18 years now as he continues to set the direction for all our purchases and deployment of all show technology. ... Read More

25 Reasons You'll Love Event Poll

Want to know what your audience is really thinking? Get inside the minds of your attendees with Event Poll, technology that lets you ask questions and receive feedback in real time. #1 Brand your questions Event Poll gives you the power to customise the polls to suit your brand guidelines. Match your presentation template, use your organization’s logo and colour scheme, or let your own imagination run wild. #2 Made for Monkeys Event Poll is designed with the presenter at the heart. From creating your first poll in 30 seconds to importing multiple polls at a time to moderating from an app – it’s so easy to use a monkey could use it! #3 Works with any mobile device Whatever your audience can carry in, they can use. That means smartphones, flip phones, candy bar style phones, Blackberries, tablets, and laptops. #4 Post Event Report Your full history of poll questions and participant responses are available for you after the event and can provide insightful improvement recommendations. #5 Full Moderation You can use your laptop or phone to ensure that you’re happy with responses before they go live on screen. This also helps you to display responses that illustrate a point you’re making and ensures the discussion doesn’t go off-topic. #6 Auto-Censoring Set-up auto-censoring with a list of keywords so no colourful responses make it on screen. #7 Ranking and Grading Once you've created polls with a correct answer, you run a report to calculate how each respondent scored - and how they rank in terms of correct responses and average time to answer correctly. #8 Run a Competition Get your audience to compete - for prizes or just glory - on the questions you ask. Announce a winner for a single question, a whole section, or for the overall event. And if there's a tie, we'll break it by showing you who responded the fastest. #9 Quiz Time! Figure out who was getting the information you just presented and grade the responses in real time. You can even ask the same questions before and after your talk to see how effective it was. #10 Participation Grades Event Polls is great for tracking who attended and more importantly measuring the level of their participation. #11 Multiple Choice Questions Give one multiple choice question, or several in a row. Use it at beginning to temperature check the room, throw in a ridiculous option to keep the mood light, or keep it all business throughout. #12 True of False Questions Fast and simple, put a statement up and ask people if it's true or false. Set up games, do quizzes, whatever you like. #13 Start a Discussion Open up the floor with the Open Discourse poll. Let your audience ask questions, suggest topics, do shout-outs or give feedback and recommendations. Of course you can moderate the responses to ensure it’s all above board and on-topic. #14 Q&A / Brainstorming Let your audience not just suggest topics or questions, but vote on others as well. Create a live updating wall of questions or ideas - provided by and voted on by your audience. Great for structuring group discussions. #15 Broaden your engagement, across borders! Anyone with browser access, no matter where they are, can vote via the web. This means even your webcast attendees can contribute and feel part of the conservation. #16 Over 12 Types of Polling Formats We’ve thought it of it all! Event Poll’s range of polling formats means there’s a template to suit any type of question. Even better is the templates can be fully customised! #17 Mix it up If you have multiple questions throughout your presentation you can change the polling format to suit. #18 The Ultimate Ice Breaker Asking the audience a fun and entertaining question is the best way to start the day or revive the audience after a long session. Voting for ‘Best Dressed’ is always fun for Gala Dinners or asking ‘Where everyone has come from?’ is a nice way to start a conference day. #19 Manage your Q&A effectively Get your audience to send in their questions during the presentation so you don’t waste time during Q&A. You can also set it up the questions display as a leaderboard with the most popular displaying at the top on the screen. #20 WordClouds Audience responses can be displayed as a branded word cloud. You can ask the audience their goals for the event and come back to the word cloud as a reminder. #21 Instant Audience Feedback Ask your attendees to fill out a quick post-event survey while its fresh in their minds. This saves you having to send a blast email days after the event that might never get answered. #22 Embed your Poll in PowerPoint The Pollev Presenter App allows you to easily integrate polls into your presentation so no more fussing between different screens. #23 Insightful Data and Heat Maps After the event you can use the poll report to gain insightful data on your audience such as what location they responded from when webcasting, or which group or individual responded the most and what they said. #24 Grouping Polls If you have a group of questions that you want to turn into polls, we let you import these in a single copy-paste so no need to go one by one. #25 Bulk import registered participants You can immediately register all of your event participants with a simple CSV file and send them a link to have them certify any unknown information. Love learning the latest in event technology? Download our range of free White Papers today. ... Read More

Adelaide's Clipsal 500: Cutting edge technology on and off the track

This year the Clipsal 500 was bigger, faster and more revved up than ever before. And we're not even talking about the V8 Supercars. Held over four days from 26 February to 1 March 2015, the Clipsal 500 is a massive V8 Supercar street race that brings over 285,000 people through its gates. Run on a 3.7 km long circuit through Adelaide’s beautiful East Parklands, the Clipsal 500 is a multiple award-winning event, attracting a huge audience both at the track and via broadcast. Staging Connections’ Adelaide team has been proudly involved with the race since it was first run in 1999, and in 2015, radically upgraded their production infrastructure to make this year’s race the most technically sophisticated on the circuit. One of our main responsibilities of the event is ensuring all attendees have great vision of the track from wherever they are. This year we introduced a new custom HD vision distribution network to all screens; both indoors and outdoors. All corporate clients and viewers around the site enjoyed watching the race in High Definition for the first time, across the huge fleet of indoor 48" and 60" screens and the LED SuperScreens outdoors. David Aparicio, Crew Controller for Staging Connections, was in charge of TV Systems site-wide. “It was a pretty big change this year, as we went from a standard 32”screen to larger 48” and 60” screens,” said David. “Around 350 units went into 200-plus facilities including corporate suites, event management and race official’s offices, bars, and VIP areas.” Staging Connections new audio distribution system sees the large amount of audio inputs and outputs needed for the event routed around the track at light-speed via fibre-optic cabling. Up until 2015, audio around the track was run via telephone lines which went through a mainframe and involved copper cabling running from point-to-point. The longest fibre optic run around the track was about 1.2 kilometres. There were eight lines run previously, which were upgraded to 24 lines. In addition, some temporary military-grade fibre ran through underground pits. Every aspect of the audio system is controlled and monitored digitally from Staging Connection’s control positions, with technicians able to verify the correct functioning of every amplifier, loudspeaker and microphone around the track. The fleet of broadcast trucks positioned outside the gates were on-hand to cover the event for Foxtel, Channel 10, and V8 Supercar Media. They were able to connect to the vast audio network by simply connecting two fibre-optic cables to a new interface supplied by Staging Connections, drastically shortening their set-up times and simplifying their set-up. Over four days, through Adelaide summer heat and all the demands of an outdoor event, both the audio and video systems performed flawlessly. Staging Connections has already renewed their contract to provide production on a multi-year deal. “There are a lot of technical and logistical challenges you come across on an event of this scale. Our teams managed those challenges proficiently, which made for a relatively smooth event and a great result” added David Aparicio with modest understatement. “We are thrilled to be associated with an event such as the Clipsal 500 Adelaide,” said Ashley Gabriel, Staging Connections Regional General Manager for SA, WA and NT. “For over 16 years, the SA Motorsports Board have entrusted Staging Connections with the client-facing event technology. As a client and event owner, they are always keen to improve the attendee’s experience and ensure the four day festival of motorsport is the best V8 Supercar event in the country. To be able to take the audio and vision aspects of this event to the latest in technology is a real honour and privilege. We were ecstatic with the result.” “Staging Connections have been fantastic in working with us to understand our objective from the outset; to provide patrons with a better event experience.” Mark Warren, CEO, South Australian Motor Sport Board See the full Clipsal 500 Gallery here Want to see what we can do for your event? Get in touch with us today. ... Read More