Staging Connections wins MEA Products and Services Awards – Technical & Creative Production – Branch turnover > $5 million

The Meetings and Events Australia State Awards for NSW, ACT and
Victoria all took place last evening (March 10) at gala celebrations
held at both the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre for NSW and ACT
award recipients and the Sebel Albert Park Melbourne for the Victorian
award winners. Staging Connections performed well in
both states as the winner of the category award – MEA Products and
Services Awards -Technical & Creative Production – Branch turnover
> $5 million. Pete Urmson, General Manager Sales and Marketing of the Staging Connections Group congratulated the Staging Connections team on this great result. “Last night’s wins, coupled with the recent win of the micenet Award for best AV and Production Services Company for the second year running, positions us well. The awards are recognition of our people and dedication to excellence in all that we do”.
State winners will now move ahead as finalists at the MEA National
Awards to be held in Brisbane during the MEA National Conference from
April 17-19. … Read More

What is webcasting? And why the hype?

A webcast is a media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webcasting is "broadcasting" over the Internet. So why the hype? Webcasting has generated so much attention in and around the events industry because of the benefits the technology provides. These benefits include:• Extended reach of the chosen message• Increased event ROI• Extended event experience• Delivering the message simultaneously to many listeners/viewers• Overcoming geographic boundaries and time constraints• Positioning the brand competitively• Alleviating legal and regulatory compliance for AGMs When you sit down and consider the real application of webcasting in the events industry, Its no wonder it has been a success. Post - Matthew Allely. ... Read More

Want to fill empty tables at the front of a banquet?

Nothing looks worse than empty tables in front of your stage on banquet night, especially when you have a guest speaker. When you want to make sure the tables in front of the stage are full, put reserved signs on the last two rows of tables in the room which forces people to look at tables closer to the stage. Once those front tables are filled you can simply pull the reserved signs and fill the tables in the back of the room. A simple but effective tactic. Post - Matthew Allely. ... Read More

The PowerPoint advantage - Handy tips for presentation success

Keep the presentation simpleDon't overdue the slideshow with unecessary effects and complex builds. The more experience you have with PowerPoint the more likely you will be at risk of overdoing it. Be Passionate about the presentationThe biggest thing that separates an average presentation from a great presentation is the ability of the presenter to connect with an audience in an exciting way. Don't hold back and be confident. Leave the lights on:Don't turn the lights off so that the slides look better. Most of the projectors used today are bright enough to allow you to keep many of the lights on, and not have the audience sit in the dark. 10/20/30 Rule:10 - Is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than Ten concepts in a presentation or meeting. 20 - You should deliver your ten slides in Twenty minutes, yes you have an hour time slot but people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world you would give your presentation in twenty minutes and then have forty minutes for any interaction or Q&A. 30 - The majority of the presentations we see have a font size in the range of 12 to 16 point, then as much text as possible is jammed onto the slide. Try less text with only crucial or important points with a 30 Size Font; remember impact and the people towards the back of the room. Move Away from the Lectern:Now this will not work for everybody, some presenters need to stay behind the event lectern; I guess it's used as a sort of ‘shield'. The lectern can be a barrier between you and the audience, but the goal of the presentation is to connect with the audience. Removing this barrier between you and the audience can help you build a connection. Microphone:Generally a PowerPoint presentation is there to support a speech, don't rely on just Slides you will need to project your voice and ‘utilise' the microphone, this does not mean ‘shout' into the microphone though. Post - Matthew Allely. (material sourced from A Carsen). ... Read More

Top AV Technology Trends

Andrew MacColl, Director of Event Technology at SCGL, recently travelled to Las Vegas to attend InfoComm, the largest AV technology trade event in the world. He reveals the top technology trends from the tradeshow. 3D: The rise of the ‘interactive film phenomenon' meant 3D was the word on everyone's lips. With consumer interest driving the use of 3D in events, organisers are starting to include it to create personally tailored environments that heighten the audience's experience. But remember - content is king. LED technology: LED technology is already widely used but the latest versions have new benefits such as: 1. Improved colour rendering 2. Increased light source from a single fixture 3. Reduced power consumption - making them a better, ‘greener' technology all round. Next Generation Control Systems: Control systems allow for the best in communication technology- an essential component of ensuring smooth running of any event. Control systems have evolved, bringing new benefits including: 1. Increased sophistication through completely digitised systems 2. Saving time onsite with new software and hardware 3. Ensuring smooth event delivery with the convergence of IT and AV Event technology was once influenced by the broadcast, theatre and rock n roll industries. Now, increased consumer exposure to different technologies has resulted in a more educated and confident event buyer who has sophisticated knowledge and expectations of what is possible. ... Read More

Creating an opulent wedding at the Langham Auckland

Encore Event Technologies (previously Staging Connections) was tasked with the unique job of creating a flawless and welcoming atmosphere for Basma and Mohammad’s opulent and unforgettable wedding reception for 201 special guests at the Langham Auckland. The spectacularly beautiful reception, would be complemented and enhanced by the pink and purple décor via creative use of ... Read More

Bringing a Mad Hatter's Tea Party to life with Digital Styling

In our latest blog Senior Event Stylist, Georgia Strachan, shares her secrets to creating a 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' themed event and discusses how she brought the event alive with digital styling. In our latest blog Senior Event Stylist, Georgia Strachan, shares her secrets to creating a 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' themed event and discusses how she brought the event alive with digital styling. Georgia brings to her role 20 years of experience in design for film, television and creative theme park attractions. Her varied professional background provides a fresh take on conceiving unique event experiences for clients. Georgia injects a fresh and innovative flair for event concepts both locally, nationally and globally. In order to set the scene for my clients Mad Hatter themed dinner party I collaborated with our technical services team to bring together creative styling with audio, vision and lighting technology. Through digital styling we created exciting integrated visual content that transported guests “down the rabbit hole” from the minute they stepped inside the room through a rear projected entry portal. From there the guests enjoyed pre-dinner ‘teapot cocktails’ at the custom made Astroturf hedge bar and played highly contested games of croquet on a purpose built mini Astroturf croquet course. We also covered plinths and cubes with Astroturf to make quirky cocktail furniture and decorated this area with topiary trees and hundreds of red and white artificial roses in Victorian urns. The lighting was very bold and directional to add to the surreal, artificial nature of this concept. For the main dining experience we built a ‘room within a room’ using floor to ceiling rear projection screens to give our guests the impression that they were really in another world. With full control over the environment we had the ability to transform the entire space throughout the evening as each course arrived at the table. We also wanted to change the proportion and perspective of the room at various times making the guests feel small one minute and giant the next and we achieved this by altering the content. It was a very dramatic effect and kept the guests guessing all night. All of our 35 guests were seated at one huge table and I wanted each place setting to have its own sense of style and character so we used a selection of beautiful antique timber chairs, leather wing backed armchairs and upholstered love seats sourced from all over the venue. For the table decor I used piles of old books and stacked them with collections of clocks, feathers and flowers and table cloths were layered with colours and textures to suggest the Mad Hatters workshop. Chef created spectacular cupcakes which we placed on lovely tiered cake stands to become edible centre pieces and we used dozens of vintage porcelain teacups as votive holders to bathe the table with flickering light. Check out the pictures below and let me know what you're ideas are for the ultimate Mad Hatter's Tea Party! Author: Georgia Strachan, Senior Event Stylist, Staging Connections. Image Credits: Unless stated otherwise, all images are owned by us ... Read More

8 audio visual tips to create a successful event

When you’re preparing an audio visual budget for your event, there’s a lot more to think about than simply how much money to allocate for theming, lights, sound and vision. To ensure you’re getting the most value for money from your event’s AV design, a solid knowledge of the capabilities of both technology and your audio visual company are essential. Here we give you our top 8 audio visual tips for creating a successful event. 1. Look for creativity in your audio visual supplier When shopping for an audio visual provider, you traditionally seek service, price and reliability. All are good measures of a quality audio visual company, but to truly do justice to your event, creativity needs to be a central part of their product offering. Advances in projection and event lighting technology mean that the old business model of simply hiring out and operating gear for a client is no longer an adequate level of service. The main driver of this conceptual shift in the market has been technologies such as projection mapping. Projection mapping is the art of creating multimedia content for projection onto flat surfaces (2D projection mapping) or objects (3D projection mapping) and then using advanced computer and projector technology to bring that imagery to life. It has transformed major events, conferences and theatrical presentations the world over. While the technology is now common place, the creative talent to successfully use it is not. To really ensure peace of mind when selecting an audio visual provider, ask about their history in presenting similar events and their history at the chosen venue. Look at some examples of their work closest in scope to your event. If they have documentation of their work at your chosen venue, even better! 2. Set your event vision and share it Having a clear vision of the aesthetic feel and tone of the event is crucial at this stage of pre-production. Storyboard your event like a movie director, discuss themes and images with your key staff and audio visual team. Don’t get fixated on what you have seen done before or know to be possible; a good audio visual company should be able to take on board any creative idea you have and translate it into a practical suggestion. 3. Remember the importance of sound for your event The event sound system employed to deliver it should match the content. Important things to look for are adequate coverage of the room to ensure all attendees get crystal-clear speech as well as the full impact of any musical material. If you are employing high-energy music or cinematic sound effects ensure the system can replicate the full range of sound. A minimum of two subwoofers need to be in place to maximise the impact of any low-end effects or bass lines. Have a look at our blog post on how to get the best sound at your event for more in-depth understanding of the importance of sound. 4. Think digital Discuss with your Audio visual company about methods to digitally enhance your event. Can they digitally brand your conference with projections and then successfully transform the same space for a gala dinner? Entire ballrooms can be changed into another world, and the walls of an auditorium can ripple at the arrival of a new product. A custom built set design can be transformed into a living, breathing animal. Pretty much anything is possible, and an in-depth conversation with a design professional is invaluable to help direct your thinking in the planning stages. Understand what design and creative support the audio visual company offer and whether the in-house designers have the skills to shepherd you through the concept creation, implementation and delivery of just about anything your imagination can conjure. Creating a multimedia driven event from the ground-up can seem to be a longer process than the traditional method of simply stating a theme and letting the staging company deliver, but the results represent a much better return on investment. Elements of digital branding or presentation content can not only be used at one specific event, but also transported to similar events or venues at no further cost. The same media can also be repackaged as web content where appropriate 5. Get Mobile Almost everyone now carries a video displaying, networked computer a.k.a. ‘Smartphone’ in their pocket. This makes them capable of not only absorbing your content but also interacting with it. An audio visual company should have a lot of fresh ideas on how to make this work for your event, extending your theme and offering greater engagement with your audience. A key technology for presenters are apps to enable snap event polling of audience members and instantly display aggregated results on a main screen. For attendees, important information such as timetables, maps and key messages should be easily accessible from an app or network. 6. Ask your audio visual team the right questions Questions about the technical details are excellent for getting a sense of competence and good organisation. Is the PA suitable for speech reinforcement only or can it deliver loud, exciting music if you need it? What combination and numbers of lighting fixtures do they usually use – LED, moving lights, wash lights? Again, it’s not necessarily the specific information that you need, but the assurance of their confidence in answering. If you’re satisfied with that, then ask them what they recommend, or better yet, what they have always wanted to do given the opportunity. You’ll soon establish whether you’re in good hands. 7. Achieving cut through At Encore Event Technologies we realise that you have a unique opportunity to create an event specific to your audience. It’s worth your time to work together with a creative audio visual company to bring an original vision to life that makes a strong statement about your organisation. Your customers are already enjoying new types of audience engagement in both their professional and personal lives, either driven by large corporate organisations or the entertainment industry. The increase in quality of experience means all content providers have to compete to cut through. Watch this two minute video of an audio visual set up by the Encore Event Technologies team featuring Australia's first 360 degree projection screen, custom designed for the event and venue space to create something guests had never experienced before. 8. More than numbers Your audio visual budget now has the potential to deliver results way beyond the date of the event itself. All of your customers, employees and/or delegates are broadcasters, sharing their impressions, images and videos across their networks. Devoting time and creativity at the outset of your event planning can now pay off almost in perpetuity. Get to the heart of your message, envision the best possible shape it could take, and invest in bringing it to life in the most effective way. Written by Robert Meek, Event Project Manager With over 20 years’ experience in the meetings and events industry Rob has a wealth of corporate audio visual event experience that he brings to the delivery of the diverse range of corporate and association events he has managed. Related Blogs 5 top event tips for 2014 What benefit does vision fold back provide in your audio visual solution? Optimise your event communication with event design and technical production ... Read More

7 Lighting Tips for Your Event

Lighting your event is so fundamental and yet so often overlooked. Attention to detail makes the difference between an average event and an extraordinary one. Lighting is so much more than just putting a spotlight on your performer, it creates ambience, displays video content and can be used to in conjunction with architectural elements and dynamic fixtures to build a visual experience that will leave your guests in awe. The advanced lighting displays used at Encore Event Technologies have come a long way since the humble tungsten and halogen incandescent filaments. Since the development of the first high-powered blue LED in the 1990’s, the theatrical lighting industry has progressed beyond imagination. Here are 7 ways to make your event shine! 1. Use LEDs for event lighting Longer lasting LEDs are around ten times more efficient than their tungsten equivalent. That means ten times less electricity to produce the same level of brightness. They can last hundreds of hours longer, emit less heat and are cheaper to manufacture and replace. A rainbow of options Using RGBW LED chips (a combination of red, green, blue and white light emitting LEDs) you can electronically control your mix to create any desired colour. Before this technology you would have to put a coloured gel in front of an incandescent fixture and if you wanted several colours throughout a show you needed to set up and rig several fixtures each with an appropriate gel, and then you couldn’t change colour or position! RGBW LED chips allow you to play with the rainbow. Clever head A moving or ‘intelligent’ head, one that employs controllable motors on the lamp and its lens, allows you to move your light around ‘intelligently’. All movement can be pre-programmed in the lighting desk by the operator and recalled across the rig at the press of a button. When rigged on lighting bars and flown above stages, LED fixtures can create spectacular lighting schemes using a fraction of the time and energy that would have been required just two decades ago. 2. Make fantastic effects with pixel mapping LED technology has created new types of equipment that were impossible barely a decade ago. As they can be made very small, when fitted together closely they have the ability to change quality of light they are outputting instantly. This technique is referred to as pixel mapping and it has many exciting applications. Image pixel mapping One of the most effective uses of pixel mapping is when they are sent through image source material. LED fixtures designed for pixel mapping are usually a square or rectangular grid, pad or tablet fitted with anywhere between four to over a thousand individual LEDs. The 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony used pixel mapping on a grand scale. The front of each seat was fitted with a sixteen LED tile projecting one ‘pixel’ of a huge digital image. Video pixel mapping Even more exciting, you can send LEDs through video source material, video which can be set to display across several fixtures at once. This means the image canvas can be as simple as a screen-like grid or as complex as dozens of differently shaped fixtures rigged and set across your performance space, creating a synchronized ‘broken’ image effect. Best of all any content can be mapped, from your company’s logo on loop to a product promotional video. Plus the controllers and software that are used for pixel mapping often come with a generous amount of their own generic content that can be deployed as effects. 3. Get creative with Happy Tubes Flexible fun The flexibility of LEDs have been utilized to create a new type of fixture called the LED tube or the Happy Tube. These tubular fixtures are available in different lengths with varying amounts of LEDs but the most common specification is around one metre long with 96 to 144 LEDs. These tubes are incredibly adaptable. They can be joined, hung, flown, stacked to forma screen and used to emit light or images. You can use them on the outside of buildings to highlight architectural features or hang them from the ceiling like a chandelier. You have probably seen them used in all kinds of live events from rock concerts to conferences. Really really flexible These happy tubes can be mounted on just about any physical structure, making them a must for any event. They work on the edges of stages, screens, lecterns… you name it they fit! Once they are set-up and addressed from the lighting desk they can glow softly as an outline or pulse and ripple with waves of light. Like the pad, grid and tablet LED fixtures, image and video can also be mapped across tubes, but have the added ability to be arranged in a circle to form a 360° element, perfect for a feature at a gala dinner. Using a clever assortment of tubes you can create any effect you desire – both coherent and abstract. 4. Move your audience with Moving Heads Moving heads pre-date the LED revolution but were large, unwieldy and very expensive reserved only for elite theatres and concerts. Nowadays, moving head fixtures use digitally controlled motors, which enable all sorts of light movement and have become common even at the low end of lighting budgets. A must for any professional event. The Gobo In combination with LEDs, rotating lenses and other new technologies, moving lights have invigorated the oldest of lighting techniques: the humble Gobo. A gobo was originally a piece of metal with a pattern of holes cut into it that you placed in front of a light. They could be used for simple diffusion or to create a recognisable pattern, such as geometric shapes or leaves. As technology progressed, glass gobos were developed that could incorporate colours and detailed imagery. With modern LED fixtures a moving head fixture can use plastic gobos, less delicate and easier to manufacture than their traditional counterparts. Moving heads can even hold multiple gobos, sometimes more than one at a time creating interesting detailed textural effects. 5. Use dynamic video for effect Animated spaces New types of moving head LED fixtures can even be used as video projectors – not just your average projector, these moving head fixtures can vary the focus, angle, width, brightness and colour of the video dynamically in real-time. Projecting video from a moving head projector is almost like having an animated gobo, which can be used for some pretty incredible effects. When projected on a loop with a strong texture and colour you can simulate immersive spaces such as a forest or a city skyline. This can be used as a subtle but dynamic wash on a stage or across a wall. Learn more about 2D and 3D mapping in our other blog post. Real-time editing Lighting operator desks have evolved along with the fixtures and are designed to integrate with servers that host video files, fixtures that have video inputs and software that controls and edits video in real-time. All this added complexity means there will most likely be two sets of video infrastructure and operators to manage. 6. Ask yourself the right questions about your event With so many new lighting technologies at your disposal you have to consider a few things: What mood and colour palette do you want to create (this can also be aided by styling)? What lighting equipment should you use? How should you use it? What existing video content can you use to enhance your event? Should you create original content for a one-of-a-kind look? What content needs to shine the brightest? At Encore Event Technologies we employ dedicated content creators and video experts that can guide you through the process of achieving your creative vision. We pride ourselves on keeping up-to-date with emerging technology and we will make sure existing and new content fits the physical and aesthetic requirements of your event space. The most important thing for us is to maintain sensitive to your brief and provide you with innovative effects and techniques that will perfectly suit your content. 7. Keep your event real No school like old school ‘Old School’ event lighting (analogue tungsten and halogen lighting with gels) still have their place. Many designers prefer white light of a traditional source to an LED and in many venues (particularly theatres) the installed lighting rig will still contain many traditional fixtures. A combination of both old and new technology often combine for the best results. Incorporating traditional fixtures to your lighting scheme expands your palette and makes your budget go further. At Encore Event Technologies we are all about making your content king! When technology becomes the main attraction of an event, then you’ve lost your purpose. As they say in theatre “If the audience is looking at the set, there a problem with your show”. While we have the ability to create an artwork of pixel mapped video and columns of revolving happy tubes, using the right tool for the right job will always be more effective. Love learning the latest lighting and AV techniques? Download our range of free Event Insights downloadable papers today. ... Read More

5 Clever Ways to Use Twitter for Your Event

Twitter is ever growing in popularity in both corporate and social circles. It is a simple, free tool that enables greater engagement with your audience and extends your event space to the online world. Most people today are familiar with Twitter, but expect some the less tech-savvy amongst your guests and always be on hand as you will have to explain basic tweeting and character limitations and of course the relevant social handles for your event. If everyone uses the platform during your event you will find that they are more engaged; absorbing and analysing your content in real time. Not to mention, it is also a nice and simple way to make your webcast attendees feel involved in the conversation and the event. 1. Advertise your event hashtag The most important part of your event Twitter feed is an event hashtag. Hashtag’s are a tool for aggregating and archiving metadata and when used by every twitter user it will organize your event discussion into a single tag so you can follow the conversation. Therefore it is essential that everyone is using the right hashtag. Make sure to advertise it on the event invite and post it on Twitter several times prior to the event. Hashtags work over Instagram, Facebook and Google+ so spread the word over every possible platform for maximum exposure. During Your Event In addition to advertising the hashtag prior to the event, you must make sure it is clearly displayed throughout your event. If you hand out flyers ensure that it is clearly marked near your brand logo and if you have presentations, make sure it is visible on every slide. You’re initial presenter should encourage your guests with incentives to use it. Your event hashtag not only organises all of your guests comments and questions but invites people keeping up with the event online to join the conversation and engage with your brand. If you have a large event with lots of tweets your hashtag could end up ‘trending’ exposing your brand to a much larger audience. 2. Turn your event into a contest on Twitter Instead of just telling your guests to tweet, turn it into a contest. The respective prize of the competition is up to you. It does not need to be big, but will get your audience more engaged and invite an element of play to your event. Examples of good Twitter hashtag competitions include most creative answer to a question, best event photo (this can be hosted through Twitter and Instagram) or even a simple lottery including everyone who uses the hashtag, which inspires even your timid guests to join in the tweeting. 3. Grow your social media influence Good integration of social media during an event enhances the experience for the attendees in the room and can capture the attention of your entire market. A lively event Twitter feed displayed on screens in the venue encourages audience participation, but it also gives those who didn’t attend a tantalising glimpse of what they’re missing out on. Encore Event Technologies has a great software platform called Event Tweet that allows you to capture your in room and virtual audiences’ tweets and Instagram posts through a dedicated hashtag and send them live to screen on a template of choice. Posts can be scrolling as audiences comment on ideas or presenters can ask questions igniting feedback and conversation. Your event Twitter feed is an opportunity to develop a stronger connection with your guests. It is advisable to have a moderator working on the Twitter feed. A moderator will post tweets during the event; asking questions, answering questions, acknowledging tweets, posting quotes from the speakers and re-tweeting insightful guest tweets. They will also ensure the Twitter feed maintains it’s focus by filtering out offensive and off-topic material and help grow your brand by following all people who use the event hashtag. Follow your guests on Twitter Following your guests increases the likelihood of them following you back so you can continue to engage with them after they have left. 4. Use Twitter to collect your audiences questions during your event Twitter can assist your Q&A segment greatly. A good way of separating questions from statements is to create another hashtag for questions. For example if your event hashtag is #twitterevent then make your question hashtag #qtwitterevent. You can have these scroll through your Twitter feed in real time and then have your moderator collect them and organise them for question time, cutting out some of the inevitable question overlap and giving voice to a larger cross-section of your audience. 5. Organise your Event’s best tweets in Storify After your event you should aggregate the best tweets, photos and videos organized by your hashtag and place them in a Storify to preserve all the great content created by your guests, speakers and moderator. Storify collects content from all social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Youtube and Soundcloud so if it serves your brand you can find it and archive it together. You can then send this Storify in email blasts to all of your guests and users of the hashtag in the following weeks to keep your event working for you. Make Twitter Work For You Twitter is such a powerful tool because it gives everyone an equal voice. Intellectual and emotional engagement into your real time event is very powerful and as with all powerful tools it requires some moderation and guidance. Use Twitter wisely and it will immensely increase the success of your audio visual event. At Encore Event Technologies we have extensive experience using Twitter for events and utilise our own Event Tweet software. Want to know more? Get in touch today. Want to stay up to date with industry trends? Browse our range of downloadable Event Insights papers ... Read More