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Overcoming obstacles to create lasting audio/visual impressions

Everything from unexpected occurrences, budget and what emerging technologies are best to bring a client’s vision to life are all important considerations for the audio/visual companies working behind the scenes of major live events.

Yet many audio/visual companies are overcoming these challenges to help their clients create experiences that stand out from the crowd.

Essential to seamless audio/visual execution to captivate audiences is an experienced team who knows what to do when things don’t go according to plan.

AV Concepts’ creative design engineer Alok Wadhwani interacting with life-size holographic projections of a jelly fish.
AV Concepts’ creative design engineer, Alok Wadhwani, interacts with jelly fish hologram.

As a creative and technical company, AV Concepts is no stranger to developing equipment to ensure an event goes off without a hitch.

“Our experience has led to us finding and developing equipment, which includes creating our own patented Liquid Scenic media server system when we couldn’t find a media server fast enough or flexible enough for our needs,” explained Daniel Roth, creative account manager, AV Concepts. “We don’t just think in terms of gear; we fit the gear into our creative solutions.”

A provider of audio/visual, technology and production services, Tallen Technology Rentals has overcome many obstacles while working events.

“We supported an event at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. The challenge was to set up a staff office, slide review, general session and five breakout rooms within two days. Unfortunately, the [venue] did not have the space to load in the entire project,” explained Andrew Taffin, CEO, Tallen Technology Rentals. “In order to run an event of this nature, it is vital to make sure you have the proper labor requirements, technical director running the show, strike labor and make sure the team has the right expertise.”

Having its onsite team allowed Tallen to complete the set-up in separate stages and work around event rehearsals. The company has also worked around unexpected equipment failures during other events.

“When working with technology in a live-event scenario, no matter how well you test and prepare, there is always a small chance that something could malfunction. It is our process to be equipped with back-up equipment on site and to have trained staff that is prepared to react immediately,” said Taffin. “In the 12 years we have been in business, we had an occasional error. However, through our preparatory and onsite processes, we minimized the impact and had a successful event.”

If equipment permanently stops working, Tallen also knows how to proceed.

“Audio/visual downtime is judged in seconds. The first thing we look at if something breaks is how we can quickly and effectively fix the problem to minimize the effect on the audience,” explained Taffin. “If equipment malfunctions due to normal wear and tear, we are responsible for the repair costs. However, if the client or attendee physically breaks or spills coffee inside a processor, it is our job to immediately fix the problem to not impact the attendee experience and, in turn, bill the client for the damages.”

Something every audio/visual company faces is meeting their clients’ expectations while staying within budget.

“Every client is different, each with different budget sizes and different challenges. Audio, visual, lighting, creative, management and more all have space in each project and are accounted for on a project-by-project basis,” explained Roth. “We rely on our engineers and project managers to break down budgets according to client goals and project specs to ensure projects are completed successfully and within budget parameters.”

Tallen helps a client launch a sunglasses line.
Tallen helps a client launch a sunglasses line.

Budgets can vary dramatically depending on the client’s vision and the experience to be given to attendees, according to Taffin.

“We do the best we can creatively to stay within the budgets and expectations of our clients; however, in some cases, it is impossible,” added Taffin. “The key here is communication – communicating clearly with your client and working diligently to give them what they want on a budget.”

When working with its clients in the tradeshow industry from ideation to event execution, AV Concepts gets to know these clients, their products and where to take their brand, according to Roth.

“We’re using super bright 35,000 lumen projectors to project on the sides of buildings but also creating custom touch-screen digital signage to guide tradeshow guests,” said Roth. “We understand the convention floor, the general session hall and the corporate meeting center, and we know what’s been done before and what works.”

For its exhibit house clients, Tallen uses stand-out technologies on the floor, ceiling and on the booth, according to Taffin.

“Integrating an audio experience with a video and or interactive experience is critical for the attendee experience. Having the attendees step across a video booth floor can be a unique interactive experience,” said Taffin. “Attendees can then follow a map or answer questions to choose the correct direction to the booth or product. Tallen can also use lighting or audio effects to let them know if they chose the correct direction or the incorrect direction.”

Both Tallen and AV Concepts take pride in the audio/visual experiences they provide their clients.

“One of our most recognized events was bringing Tupac Shakur’s holographic performance to Coachella 2012. The team used patented technology and developed new technologies to create this experience,” said Roth. “Holographic display is very useful. We can bring a live feed of a CEO or celebrity from halfway across the world without them having to leave their hometown. We can show the inner-workings of a one-ton jet engine floating on stage, and we can have computer-generated characters, from video games or movies, that interact with live actors or audiences on stage.”

To help a fashion brand client interact with its customers, Tallen had an artist draw customers’ faces behind sunglasses and display them on a 3 x 3 LCD video wall. This helped the client launch a sunglasses line.

“There was a line of people waiting to get their picture drawn,” added Taffin. “Our client was thrilled.”

After the artist drew these faces using specialized software and a smartphone, the faces were emailed to each customer for a lasting memory.

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