The Speed Of Staging

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At the Bahi Faith event at the JW Marriott this December, Velocity provided full production support for several performances. SAN DIEGO, CA--Velocity Audio Visual was started through a partnership of two industry veterans looking to make their own mark in the staging world. Both partners brought a unique background that would eventually shape the direction of the company. The founders, Dave Howell and Toby Russell, formed Velocity AV in 2002 out of San Diego, CA. Russell spent most of his career as a much sought after DJ, eventually expanding his services to include projector and screen rentals. In early 1990 Russell started offering AV support along with his DJ services and began producing awards programs and special event. Howell spent much of his career as a video producer, working with several large staging companies and eventually helping to create "Mobilelink," the nation's first fully deployable remote uplink/production truck, in 1989. Throughout the 90's, Howell worked his way up for AVHQ in San Diego, until he left to join Russell in creating Velocity after doing several shows together.

Though a small company, Velocity has found a niche for itself in the Southwest. In 2006, Velocity experienced tremendous growth, increasing to five full time employees and revenues doubling from 2005. Velocity also relocated in San Diego to a facility twice as large to house their rapidly expanding inventory. Velocity also opened a branch in Tempe, AZ to service the rapidly growing area, placing local industry veteran Darin Lessner in charge of operations. Lessner commented, "Velocity was doing a lot of shows out here, so it was very cost effective to have a office in Arizona. The location exceeded the financial forecast for its first year in 2006, we've just had some great shows."

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Liza Manelli at the 2006 UPMC's Cancer Foundation Fundraiser where Velocity AV provided all projection support and this faux waterfall using widescreen blending.
Velocity attributes its success to constantly looking for new ways to service its customers. Howell explained, "Velocity has always looked for ways to service our customers with products that are different and offer unique looks. Velocity was one of the first rental companies to purchase the Martin Maxedia media server as a beta product, which has now become a widely used component of most major TV shows and entertainment events, providing visual design elements and adding to the lighting effects on today's widely used LED wall elements. Our next venture was into the LED lighting realm. This newly available technology has proven very effective for use in all aspects of Velocity's services." Velocity also now sells its services inclusive of design and dcor elements. Howell continued, "Velocity operates with the knowledge that not all shows are created equal, therefore each event is special and unique. We take on each event with this position and make it a success. We know how important every detail is to each of our clients, so we focus on each event, and make our clients shine."

Velocity's inventory reflects its customers based on their needs and desires. Russell said, "Our goal is to give all of our customers the best that is out there all at an affordable price. If it works right, looks great, and is a solid performer Velocity will buy it."

Velocity tries to keep as much equipment as possible to avoid cross renting gear. Howell expanded, "As a rule, Velocity tries to avoid as much cross rental as possible. We do this to ensure the quality of the equipment we use onsite for clients. When you cross rent you can never be certain the gear you get will be of the quality you expect. As a rule, we try to own what we need."

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Velocity provided for Golden Key's International Honour Society event at the Westin Kierland in Phoenix, AZ.
Among many notable events for 2006, Velocity did UPMC's Cancer Foundation Fundraiser in Pittsburgh from May 3-5. Velocity aquired the show through an entertainment company it frequently worked with in San Diego. Velocity worked with AOO (An Original Occasion) or Las Angeles, and provided all the visual support for this very large event. Held indoors at the Pittsburgh Steelers training field, the venue was transformed into the four seasons of the year with five performance stages, aerial acts, even ice skaters on the winter stage. The show took three days to setup with endless cable runs and one of the largest dance floors ever assembled over the top of the playing field. Velocity provided a 40 x 12 foot wide screen blended projection of a waterfall. This was the effect off the main stage and the water seemed to flow into a small pond installed at the foot of the stage. Velocity also provides six flown screens that projected live performance footage, as well as prerecorded seasonal video loops, and provided four live cameras and live switching for the event.

Velocity's future has never seemed so bright after such a successful year, 2007 holds expansion and new clients. For such a small company, Velocity has learned to attack its niche with unparalleled service and a unique take on staging. Howell commented, "We will expand our presence in the East with a yet to be announced location on the east coast. This will allow us to better service our national accounts as well as allow us to explore new business opportunities in that region. Velocity is also currently undergoing a quarter million dollar expansion for the first quarter of 2007. Our imagination is really our only limit, besides our budget." For information visit www.velocityavs.com.




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