A theatrical set is a combination of engineering, practicality and imagination that, at its best, becomes part of a show’s narrative as it helps tell it. The ubiquity of digital video technology means that your event can benefit from the same attention-grabbing visual techniques that wow Broadway audiences. With the right content, your brand, message and story can fill screens, dance across walls and create long-lasting impressions in your audience’s memories. Even better, your content can be transported to new venues, re-used in electronic communication, broadcast on web and re-purposed as a promotional tool after your event is over.
What is a digital set?
‘Digital Set’ is a catch-all term for a combination of techniques, equipment and strategies that all use digitally created graphic content to enhance a live event. A Digital Set can be any combination of static, animated or video content displayed on screens, projected on surfaces or animated across LED lighting fixtures. The options with projection alone are almost limitless! With one projector you can present an animation on a central screen all the while projection static branding on two peripheral screens.
Set the scene of your event
The first thing you need to consider when using digital sets is the venue you intend to deploy them in and the projection space that allows.
- Small function spaces – will be well served by projection to a modest central screen, augmented by strategically placed flat-panel displays.
- Larger theatre-style presentation spaces – can support multiple projection screens and projection onto walls.
- Extremely large ballroom or gala centres – allow you to stretch your imagination. They can house multiple sized custom screens, curved screens and projection mapped immersive visuals, all on a grand scale.
Designing to your message
The aim of your event is to convey your message, a digital set is intended to enhance it not outshine it. The development of your content and its technical implementation should go hand in hand. The best AV companies now have graphic designers, computer animator and video content creators in-house, which is the ideal team for enhancing your message. Take your speaker’s PowerPoint or Keynote presentations as a starting point and work through them with the content creators. They will pick out themes, selected static or animated visuals, highlight the most important sections and help structure the presentation with visual markers.
Making use of the natural breaks
You obviously don’t want to subvert attention during your speakers presentations but there are several natural breaks in the proceedings; introductions, walk- ups speaker changes that allow you to use the whole Digital Set to entertain the crowd. For example, introducing a speaker allows you to use all visual displays in unison to immerse the whole venue in a single visual sequence. An image can traverse the room making heads spin, light and fire can rise from every corner in your event. All these transitions should be made with tight, precise timings before bringing the focus right back to the speaker.
Making an experience for your guests
Video operators ensure that all presentations are queued up on a central computer and can be edited at a moments notice if necessary. All of your creative content will be deployed across projectors and screens via media servers run through powerful video mapping software. Lights go down, animation and video come up and your first speaker will take to the stage, right in the middle of the digital set you have created.
Your presenter speaks. Slow video loops of your logo and slideshows of images pertinent to your theme run unobtrusively on secondary displays, quietly setting the scene in your audiences peripheral vision. At the moment when the major new product/direction/award is unveiled all displays leap to life in concert with the key image and text. As the details are explained, different points and illustrations make their way to different parts of the room, adjusting and focusing the audience’s attention as necessary. As the presentation ends, the room becomes one image, surrounding the crowd in the environment of the idea.
Take your digital set with you
After the applause has died down and the audience has left, your Digital Set is ready to keep working for you. You should follow-up your attendees via email, framed in the same style and content as the event and send out a link to video highlights. Make sure you tie their experience into your emailed content. You have created a memory that is branded with your visuals in each attendee’s mind, and every time you communicate with them make sure to use these same images. If your content and message were compelling, they will recall the event even more fervently.
If your event is travelling its easy to take your digital set with you and adapt it as needed to the new venue. Projections can be scaled up and down according to room size and available surfaces. Similarly, images that were split across multiple devices can be amalgamated to one or vice-versa. Digital Sets are incredibly malleable and coherent content with a clear message with translate well no matter what media is carrying it. Your digital content is now a business asset that cost a fraction of its physical counterpart with the ability to be scaled down to an iPad or up to an arena.
Digital set event packages
Encore offers Digital Sets in their Event Create packages. In-house content creators work with you with options for either static or animated imagery. Standard display options include projecting from one projector onto multiple screens or from multiple projectors onto ultra wide screens, if your venue can physically accommodate them. In all cases and all combinations, Encore will work with you to bring out the heart of your message, and enhance your event with the right combination lighting, sound and decoration to fit with your theme.
The standard package does not limit your ability to create something truly unique. Encore’s creative team and event planners love to extend themselves by creating totally individual events that create an environment for the organisation’s message. Whether it is bringing a character to life, creating a new display concept for a revolutionary product or finding a way to communicate a radical idea with absolute clarity, the Digital team love a challenge. That’s the great thing about the digital visions tools of modern AV – it’s never been easier to bring the hardest-to-image concepts to life and it’s never been more affordable to create a theatrical experience for your audience that’s every bit as entertaining as a night on Broadway.