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How to deliver the ultimate live event

Credit Holly Clark Photography

With audiences expecting ever more impressive and engaging experiences, it can be a challenge to deliver events that offer something new while delivering on quality. Following these guidelines from White Light should set you on the right course:

Fully Utilise Your Environment

Your chosen venue will no doubt yield countless opportunities to enhance your events, making use of the architecture, exhibits and surrounding environment to introduce styling and production elements. Carefully designed lighting – be it uplighting, automated effects, full colour or pattern washes; will serve to complement the interior of any venue, bringing a new life to the event spaces and creating engaging moods and atmosphere. Within museums and galleries, lighting will also highlight the iconic collections displayed and reinforce the very special experience of being a guest in these venues outside of general public hours.

Other inherent features of the architecture, from the building façade to interior windows, beams, walls and recesses, provide canvases onto which you can project creative video content. This creates opportunities for enhanced branding or enables you to bring a venue to life in a more immersive way and tell a story. We have utilised projection mapping in many venues, including the Tower of London, Guildhall, National Gallery and Banqueting House, and this has been extremely effective for both small and large-scale events.

We also work with numerous blank-canvas spaces. These offer largely unrestricted scope to introduce creative production through numerous AV techniques.  

Build up to a Wow Moment 

For a heightened experience and to maximise opportunities for guests to make social media noise about your company, the production can slowly build as the event progresses, towards a pivotal moment. Subtle lighting and choice of colours can intensify gradually, especially during the day-to-night transition. Projected content, from simple pattern effects to captured scenes or talking heads, can be used as an ambient or captive audience feature as required. 

This proved extremely effective at the UNICEF 2018 Halloween Ball, where the core objective was to elevate the importance of the charity’s work to the 300 guests in attendance. After dinner, we used projection mapping to play a campaign video on every internal window of the venue. A powerful full blackout moment signifying a loss of power and then slow building audio and video content brought the room back to life with a heart rate monitor. This had huge impact and served to reinforce the key message. 

Immersive Content 

To make your event truly immersive, the lighting, audio and video production should be executed in a synchronised story or journey. With all of these elements working effectively together, you will achieve maximum impact on the guests’ experience.

A themed street-party we delivered at Banqueting House depicted six decades in one night. For this, soundscapes combined with lighting and video footage relevant to each era, set the scene for a different live performance each hour to welcome the new decade changeover. 

Importance of Pre-production and / or Technical Rehearsal 

Live events are very much like a show comprising numerous different scenes, carefully choreographed together. As many venues are only able to accommodate limited set-up times, a pre-production build and / or full technical rehearsal can be crucial to achieving flawless delivery on the day or night.

By engaging key members of the production team and troubleshooting any pre-build issues, or inviting your stakeholders to a full rehearsal, you remove potential challenges arising at a late stage.

At White Light HQ, we have built Studio 15 – a dedicated technical rehearsal facility including video and audio editing suites. This offers our clients a real-time show sign-off solution and added peace of mind for the live event. 

Sustainable Set

For event planners, creating sustainable events is a high priority. As a technical production supplier, we help our clients eliminate the need for single-use pieces of stage set and printed artwork. Digital content, including logos, itineraries, menus, directional signage and table plans can be far more cost and environmentally effective than building a physical set.

Communicating with your guests in this way makes more impact and helps tick those all-important green credentials through minimised waste. It also maximises the brand and story opportunities by being able to change the images over during the course of your event.

Basic Video Content Considerations

Many events, especially conferences and meetings, call for a level of video production that is more straightforward. However, it is crucial that the following considerations are made in advance to ensure seamless execution on the day.

  • Have a technical running order, showing the names of your different guest speakers, which presentation(s) they will be using and any additional information to assist the delivery team.
  • Make sure you are aware of the format the presentations are in (i.e. PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi,
  • If a presentation contains video links, ensure that these have been embedded and that the audio is working. Wherever possible, always bring external copies of the videos, especially if you have a switcher on the job.
  • If your event does include multiple speaker presentations, a switcher not only provides peace of mind by facilitating hot backup, but also allows you to have a holding slide when switching between user laptops as well as cue videos ahead of time on a dedicated player.
  • Consider the size of the venue, location and size of the screen surfaces and explore a range of technologies. Projection has been the traditional presentation method, but evolving LED screen technologies now offer new potential.