The fundamental essence of live events is driven by a group of people coming together to receive, understand and communicate a message. Whether in a hotel ballroom, arena, convention center, or any other type of gathering place, companies that put together these meetings are trying to create an experience for the audience. Using the tools available in our industry, such as lights, sound, visuals, or even scents, event producers set out to create an environment that awakens the senses of the attendees to successfully engage them in the message. Today, event producers are fortunate to have a wide range of technology tools at their disposal to support almost any creative vision for a meeting environment. While this range of options can be a blessing in terms of supporting innovation, it can also be a curse without considering the appropriate technology solution best suited for the right audience.
For the majority of large shows, a production company works with the end client to formulate the event strategy and messaging that will best capture the attention of the audience, and creates a vision for the overall staging and visuals. The production team then works with a live event staging company to provide the technology and to assist with the realization of the event producer’s vision. Live event stages of today can incorporate many formats and technologies, such as widescreen, superwidescreen, videoconferencing, video flown in the round, LED in multiple configurations, LED floors, 3D video, holograms, projection-mapped scenic displays, or simply a screen and podium, to name a few. Some event producers choose to create a very intimate setting, while others use massive visuals to immerse the audience in the message. The challenge for the event producer is deciphering all the available tools to find the correct mix of technology that will successfully convey the message to the audience. A message can easily take a backseat and get lost in all the available technology in the industry, and confuse the wrong audience if not implemented effectively.
How do you decide the right mix for the right audience? First, it’s important to know your audience before deciding on technology, and analyze the target demographic, taking into consideration data such as average age, profession, industry, gender, and nationality. For example, broadcasting is a common element among medical meetings, where a smaller group or panel in a remote location is collaborating and training different medical techniques to the larger audience. The technology for this type of meeting, with an audience of highly educated medical professionals, is typically designed to create a learning environment, with high quality video that will showcase every detail on the screen. In this case, the technology takes a supporting role to the message. Conversely, a corporate meeting consisting of an audience of millennials, with the goal of energizing and motivating a sales team, would benefit from a completely different technical solution, such as immersive visuals using the latest technology. For this type of meeting, technology can take a much more leading role to augment the message and create impact for an audience that grew up in the digital age.
Second, the event producer should rely on the expertise of the live event staging company for the show. The staging company should be able to introduce the producer to the range of technology on the market and provide insight on the best technical solution to execute on the creative vision of the show. When selecting an staging company to support the show, the event producer should review the firm’s experience and at their capabilities supporting meetings with a similar audience. Once the staging company has been selected, collaboration during the early creative stages will help to match the vision to the best technology.
Lastly, for any audience, it’s always important to consider the risks of the technology. For a highly technical audience, it can be common to want to use the latest industry tools and advancements as part of the show. Working with the staging company, the event producer should weigh the pros and cons and determine whether the risk is worth it to yield the end result. Anytime you make the decision to use a new and groundbreaking technology within the industry, be sure that your staging company has properly vetted and tested the equipment to minimize any risks during the live event.
Choosing the right technology for a show is not an exact science. There is no clear answer. It is about making sure you know the customer and goals, and implementing a solution what will work for the audience. Finding the best technology is no different than choosing the venue, entertainment, or keynote speakers. It’s similar to building a house - you need the appropriate parts and pieces in place, and an understanding of the owner’s needs to find the best way to construct it - and hopefully you have a great contractor on board to help along the way. Knowing the audience and what technology will allow them to learn and absorb the message is a key element to a successful show. Whether a simple video screen or a show with all the bells and whistles, the most important element is delivering on the message. Whatever the technology solution, that’s all that matters.
Les Goldberg founded LMG, LLC, a national provider of video, audio, lighting and LED support in 1984 with a small loan from a relative. He also acts as CEO of Entertainment Technology Partners, LLC, the parent company of a collection of exceptional brands within the live event and entertainment technology services industry. He recently published the book, “Don’t Take No for An Answer, Anything is Possible,” available on Amazon and iBooks. For more information, visit www.lmg.net and www.lesgoldberg.com