When IT giant HP chose to stage a trio of top level internal sales meetings in London, Frankfurt and Istanbul, its recently appointed event production company, Nteractive, selected Stage Electrics for the three-week marathon. The company, which has bases throughout the UK, designed and built stage sets for multiple rooms, provided all audio, video and lighting systems and crew – and handled all production logistics including trucking with Stage Electrics trucks and drivers.
The meetings were held at major airport hotels – the new Sofitel at Heathrow Terminal 5 for 1,200 delegates, the Sheraton at Frankfurt Airport for 1,100 and the Renaissance Polat Istanbul for 900. In each case, the job called for a keynote room capable of holding all the delegates for opening and closing sessions, which was then divided into two or three breakout rooms, plus nine separate breakout rooms, each seating between 70 and 450 people. Each event ran from Monday to Friday and the Stage Electrics team proved its logistical prowess by de-rigging the T5 Sofitel event on Friday night and being ready for the opening session in Frankfurt the following Monday.
“It was an exciting challenge,” said Mike Jackson, Stage Electrics’ head of live events. “We provided all the AV and lighting equipment, built the sets, provided the crew and trucked the equipment to the venues. As a multi-venue, international tour for a blue chip client and a top production company, we had to be on our toes. From their point of view they only had to deal with one project manager rather than four or five from different suppliers, and we demonstrated that by using our integrated service they were saving a significant percentage of the expected cost.”
“Another factor was that were able to provide multi-disciplinary AV crew, so that one crew member could operate a breakout room and deal with all the projection, lighting and sound issues, rather than having to have specialists in each discipline,” he continued. “For the main room, when it was being run as a keynote for all the delegates, we provided specialist audio, lighting and video technicians.”
Each room had a fully branded stage set, 16 x 9 front projection screen, and stage lighting and sound systems. Nteractive and HP were responsible for the on-screen content, while Stage Electrics’ design team provided a set design to fit the latest HP corporate branding guidelines, incorporating a seamless Scanachrome cloth backdrop in HP’s corporate blue tint.
Set construction was provided by Stage Electrics’ own scenic department, and stage set elements included front projection screens and a branding device of an angled slope carrying an HP logo, while Stage Electrics carpenters designed and built custom extra-wide lecterns to accommodate two laptops. Of key importance was the tourability of the sets which were dismantled and re-built for each event.
Video was a key element of the job with 15 data projectors deployed. For the keynote room, Stage Electrics provided a full high definition projection system using the company’s recently acquired Panasonic WUXGA PT-DZ 12,000 lumens HD projectors with end-to-end fibre optic from the presentation laptop on stage and a Di-VentiX2 DVX8044 seamless switcher, complete with Orchestra event controller – another new investment – to bring in a live camera relay. Lighting included Selecon Fresnels and ETC Source 4s with an Avolites Pearl 2008 in command for the keynote room.
Audio systems included L-Acoustic KIVA and KILO line arrays for the main room with L-Acoustics LA4 amplifier/controllers, EAW JF Series and Mackie SRM450 loudspeakers with Duran Audio AXYS UFM 265 stage monitors, with Crest and MC2 heading the amplifier line-up for the breakout rooms. Shure SM58s with radio systems topped the microphone list, along with a large number of AKG lectern and Sennheiser G3 lavalier radio mics. The mixing console inventory included Allen & Heath and Spirit Folio boards for the breakouts and a Yamaha M7CL for the keynote room. The larger systems were completed with Lab.gruppen FP6400 amplifiers and XTA DP224 loudspeaker processors.
“In each venue,” said Jackson, “because the keynotes were only used for the full audience for the opening and closing sessions, we subdivided the keynote room to create extra breakout rooms using each venue’s temporary wall systems. In the 30 minute coffee break before the first breakout sessions, we divided the keynote room, split the AV and lighting systems between the newly created breakout rooms and were ready for action as soon as the coffee break ended.”
“The first show in London was easy enough,” he concluded. “Then we had to leave on the Friday night, having already sent equipment ahead to Frankfurt as it was released from use in London, and built the sets and AV rigs over the weekend in Frankfurt ready for Monday morning. It made for quite a busy weekend.”