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An interview with Saville’s Carl Holland

Carl Holland is conference producer at Saville Audio Visual. It was – partially – the lure of free beer that got him started in the rental/staging world.

How did you get into the rental/staging business?

Similarly to many of my peers, it was a technical route through an interest that started with running discos. When I was 18, a friend of the family invited me to come and help out with the install of an enormous five day conference and exhibition in Harrogate. I thought I had died and gone to AV heaven – and it included free beer! By the end of the week, I was running my own breakout room and it all really sprung from there

What is your favourite project that you’ve ever been involved in?

My favourite project was not necessarily the biggest and most glamorous. It was a UK staff conference for an international medical company. The event was held in Dublin for about 150 people. It was the first opportunity that I been given to help a company develop its legacy based program into an innovative business driven agenda. It is an amazing feeling when you see the lights go on in the client’s team’s eyes when they realise the potential pound note return from an event that they had all deep down considered to be nothing more than 14 hours of boredom and two nights of partying. I can talk AV, IT, set and stage until the cows come home, but if you can see that an event holds no real value for the delegates or business, it is all a bit hollow.

Is there are a particular product that you’ve come to look on as ‘an old favourite’?

You can’t beat the old Folsom Presentation Pro for a simple live events video/data switcher. They stopped making them a few years back when Barco took over, and all the other products I tried were far too complicated and seriously flawed in one way or another. I understand now that Barco have a simple re-working of this model now, but I have yet to have the opportunity to play with one. Everything just worked first time, the buttons and menus were simple and the ability to adjust the margins so quickly has been a saviour on any number of occasions.

Is there a recent product that’s caught your eye that you think will be very useful in your business? 

High Definition, 3D, LED tiles – it’s all so passé and the ROI potential is limited. For me, it has to be the potential of the iPad – or other tablet product – in the meetings and conference market. We have already developed some great new software for use by presenters and delegates in a live event requirement. These are exciting times. I can’t wait to see where it all goes next.