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The Producer’s Tip: Use digital signage to create social media buzz during your event. Create a hashtag and stream the Twitter feed straight on the screen. You will provide interactivity for the participants and obtain live event feedback, plus the free advertising this single hashtag can provide.

New Technology – The RED Scarlet

What do movies like Iron Man 3, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Bling Ring, Prometheus, District 9, The Muppets and Oliver Stone’s newest World Cup commercial have in common? They all were “shot on red” with the biggest hit among Hollywood videographers these days – the RED ONE Digital Camera. At CS2, we have this same camera in-house, ready for your next project.

The digital RED Camera shoots photos in 5K and video in 4K, snapping 12 frames per second and 30 frames per second respectively, providing an Ultra HD video with 4096×2304 pixels resolution.

Just for comparison, the standard 1080p (Full HD) today has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels or roughly 2K and the quickly aging 720p (HD) has a resolution of 1280x720pixels. This is about 1/8th of the 4K Ultra HD. All this shows that technology is developing at rapid pace and soon Full HD will be just as obsolete as SD in 4:3 aspect ratio is today.

Besides the quality of the actual footage and the ability to capture every great moment, the high resolution of RED provides greater flexibility. Thus, a single shot interview could be turned into what seems to be a two camera shoot by only recomposing the already shot image.

Why use RED? The advantage of shooting 4K today means we are future-proofing our work for the needs of tomorrow. And tomorrow is not too far away. For instance, during CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, every major TV manufacturer released affordable 4K TVs, as well as 4K computer displays. Netflix is already streaming House of Cards on 4K to Ultra HD sets and YouTube is also pushing the 4K streaming functionality.

We have the technology and can help you future-proof your message.

The Art of the RFP

Why would you ever tell your AV partner your budget ahead of time?

As an event professional, you likely have very specific goals and objectives for the events that you plan.  If your goals include staying within your designated budget, keep reading!

Have you ever flinched when you have sent out an RFP and your audiovisual supplier asked “What is your budget for this event?”  The budget question is one that some buyers are okay with but makes others cringe.  Many buyers see this question as a cop out for a supplier- if you disclose that your budget is $50,000, the supplier will surely submit their bid at $49,999.99.

A good partner will use this as an opportunity to be truthful with you about their ability to provide excellent services to you at the price point that you desire. If your budget is $50,000 and your audiovisual service provider is not able to provide the required services for less than $60,000 (maybe due to travel costs, equipment availability, etc.), a good partner will tell you that information up front.

An experienced staging company can help you determine in which technology areas you can save costs.  For instance, are you interested in an audience response system but you already have an event app?  You can utilize the polling function in your event app for a nominal fee (or maybe it is included in the base cost) and save the cost of setting out individual ARS units at each chair.  The savings can translate into adding that Video Assistant in the general session to manage the recordings or springing for a nicer scenic option that was not affordable before the cost savings.

A great audiovisual partner may also offer you multiple options to provide the show that you would like: a $40,000 option, a $50,000 option, and a $60,000 option. While the $60,000 option may be the ‘pie in the sky’ option, it could be something that you really like but will plan for on the next event or the event after that.

Without budget information, and in a competitive situation, many companies work diligently to figure out how to do the least amount that they can in order to provide the lowest possible price.  This can often be detrimental to the overall success of the event.  A company looking to just be the lowest cost provider may bid your event with less than optimal equipment or under-staff the event.  While this may help you get a low price, there are often consequences to those decisions.  A true partner will always look for ways to provide you with a competitively priced proposal, but they will also let you know which areas of your event can benefit from upgraded equipment or additional personnel.

The next time a supplier asks you for your budget before they respond to your RFP, consider that they may be asking so that they can provide you with excellent services at their best price and that they want to become your trusted partner going forward. 

From the Editor – Remember Our Information

How many times have you wondered “What technology do I need to produce a successful meeting?”  If you are a meeting planner, that should be one of the last things on your mind. 

Most great events start with thoughts about the audience, goals and objectives, and the messages that will be shared during an event.  With a thorough understanding of the outcome you are trying to achieve, your production partner can determine the best ways to share that message.  Yes, that may include using the latest and greatest in event technology… but not always. 

Your message and your audience’s reaction to it are the most important takeaway.  Sometimes that means that the technology takes a back seat to the overall event design.  Sometimes proximity to the stage is more important than having the newest in Line Array Audio Systems (if you know what that is, you MAY be too involved in the technology).

A message that is personal, or involves an emotional plea or encourages interaction with the audience may mean that the only technology in the room is an iPad in everyone’s hand.  It may mean that the most important technology in the room is the lighting.  It may mean that the best technology is NO technology. 

It is the goal of this electronic newsletter (yes, we are going to use technology) to share information: to help you make more educated decisions on picking the partners you work with and, of course, to share our experiences in a way that will help you conduct more impactful and engaging events.  We will talk a lot about ROI throughout the articles, but we will do it in a way that allows you to pick the pieces that work for you, for your organization and for your audience.  We understand that the best event isn’t necessarily one that had the largest high-definition screen.  The best event is one that clearly shares a message, allows the audience to engage with that message and provides the highest level of ROI. 

And just to make the point clear:  ROI stands for Remember Our Information.  The most basic goal of any event is to ensure your audience remembers as much of the message as possible and eventually acts on that information.  Remember Our Information: that is the mantra we will continue to chant.  We hope you will join us.

Jim

Jim Engelmann
Vice President, Creative Show Services

The Psychology of Technology

What Technology is Absolutely Essential to the Success of your Event?

How many times have you spent hours poring over a budget trying to figure out where you can cut dollars, and deciding what technology is absolutely essential to the success of your event?

Is this your audience?

Now imagine that everything you do in the room has an effect on the people in the room. Which of those technologies are most important to you and your audience?

The Psychology of Technology is a multi-part series aimed at helping you understand the psychological effect that different technologies have on the audience.  The design of your event can help the audience engage with the presentations, presenters and message.  While we can’t always afford to use every tactic available, understanding these effects may help you to determine where your dollars are best spent.

So, let’s start this series discussing the most common technology we use when presenting information… the video screen. Be it a projector and screen or a 50” monitor, visual content is king.  The way you choose to show that content can sway your audience’s perception of the materials.

So, I’ll start this conversation by asking a question: What type of television do you own?

Do you own a 27” Zenith tube television? A sturdy, rugged television that has worked flawlessly for the past 15 years providing a glorious 4:3 aspect picture?  A television that fits perfectly into the custom oak entertainment center that you paid way too much for in 1999?  A television that gets the job done?

OR…are you like the vast majority of avid television viewers that own AT LEAST one wide screen HDTV?  A 16:9 formatted beauty?  A television that shows glorious sporting events and cop dramas in seemingly endless wide angle panorama?

Most likely, you are the latter and so are the people in your audience.  While our presenters continue to be comfortable in the world of PowerPoint, (which, for some reason continues to default to the 4:3 aspect design even though 16:9 has been available for years), our audiences are more sophisticated than that.

Old technology = old news for your audience

Imagine for a moment that your main presenter walks in and begins their discussion about the newest discoveries in space, while showing his notes on an overhead projector.  What would you think?  No matter how current the content, you would think that the information was old.  When you share your visual presentation in an antiquated format, it is perceived as old.  4:3 is an antiquated format.  People have wide screens at home.  They expect content that is also wide screen when they attend your event.  If your content is not wide screen, they perceive it as old.  Of course, it won’t be long before the wide screen will also need to be High Definition…but you still have some time before that happens.

While bringing our presenters into the current format may seem like a daunting task, you do have the ability to get them there slowly.  Most systems today will allow you to provide a wide screen “canvas”, even if the content continues to be 4:3.  Just like at home, the presentation will be pillared.  The more your presenters see their content not filling the screen, the more they will investigate what needs to be done to remedy this issue.  They may even ask you to provide them with a template!

Yes, it is a major change in their world, but simply explain to them that this new format allows them to share even MORE of their wisdom with the audience.  That should help.