Technology for Live Events: Trends Big, Small, and Epic

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As we head into the 4th quarter of 2017, we’ve seen a year of much-more-than-usual technology evolution in the world of AV for live events. It’s impossible to rank all the tech trends in terms of importance– they’re all important: much more direct view LED, a boom in Laser Phosphor projectors, ultra-short throw projection for staging, LED lighting (that is affordable), DANTE in more places (for audio), more video production tools, and more.

On the business side– business is coming from unexpected places at a rapid pace at the last possible moment. Some end user clients are moving meetings/event in-house and virtual (and will more venues will become self-sufficient, lock-down, contracted, and unfriendly to outside AV?) The latter, a worrisome trend– but in the meantime the big shows keep coming.

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We’ll be looking at a variety of those issues going forward, as we assess key trends in this booming industry.Les Goldberg recently assessed for us the evolving role of the show technician, and explained that while a technician in the past could fit into a more generic category of video, audio and lighting, and today we see that roles have shifted to technical specialties such as video projectionist, LED tech, FOH A1, and Spyder/E2 graphics operator.

Of course, a lot of the evolution– and changing expectations for what a good technician can do– is in fact the direct result of the feverish pace of the tech trends we’re all seeing. New tech tools, mean new expectations for technicians. But it’s important to consider that it’s not only about learning new tech skills. As Goldberg emphasizes, “the technician of today can know everything about technology but if they provide a poor customer experience and make a bad impression on the client, all that technical knowledge becomes meaningless– these skills are even more important today, as shows have become more complex and involve a greater degree of teamwork, planning, rehearsing, and overall client interaction.”

And speaking of new technology platforms and new imaging palettes: we recently shared with our readers the spectacular (epic?) projection mapping gig for no less a client than HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and with no less a screen to project onto than the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. Projection mapping guru Bart Kresa summed up the importance of the building: “The Disney Hall is one of my favorite buildings in the world, so when this project came along from HBO I was very excited to do it.”

When you combine one of the most visually stunning buildings in the U.S., with the projection mapping by Kresa, and Worldstage, well, the results were there for all to see. And, for fun, we also recently featured asidebar to that Game of Thrones projection mapping coverage: Game of Thrones fans were given another outlet for their favorite show when the “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience” played a 24-date arena tour across North America. The tour featured the show’s composer, Ramin Djawadi, conducting a 35-piece orchestra and choirs performing highlights from the score. The 360º stage was rich in visuals and dynamic movement; d3 media servers tracked automation and drove the display of video content from six seasons of HBO’s epic fantasy series.


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Configured Control for Live Events

At the November 28th InfoComm/Rental & Staging Roadshow that will take place in Washington D.C., one of the Presenters will be Drew Taylor of High Resolution Systems, who will present “Configured Control for Live Events”, talking about new generation control systems for live events that now allow the user to quickly navigate the user interface that hides nothing and allows the user to view, edit, and have full control and flexibility of their control system. So a “configured control system” is now within reach of the average stager. How do they work?

InfoComm Awards, Digital Signage for Live Events

For years, I’ve been in charge of both the DIGI Awards, and the InfoComm/NewBay Media Rental & Staging awards. The DIGI’s, you know about– it’s the longest-running, more prestigious awards program honoring excellence in digital signage, on both the applications, and new product side. But for the last couple years– and continuing this year– there is a digital signage category in the InfoComm/NewBay Media Rental & Staging awards.

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The Perfect InfoComm for Live Events

The AV industry has perfected ways to collaborate over long distances, but sometimes there’s no better way to do it than getting people together in one place. And there’s nothing like the experience of a live show. Whether you call your specialty rental & staging or live events, the InfoComm show/conference next week in Orlando is offering a wide variety of activities to help you ramp up your technical and management skills.

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In New Live Event Landscape, Think Small and Personal

As both the current Chair of the InfoComm Rental & Staging Council and as a live event professional, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my nose buried deep in a Wired Magazine, daydreaming about how I can apply technologies like Facial Recognition, Artificial Intelligence or Natural User Interface to my clients’ meetings and events. What I’m discovering is that our industry is under threat from many directions, but also in a position to capitalize on these trends.