Tag Archives: event technology

Best Practices for Working with your ETM Partner

What is the best way to maximize your relationship with your Event Technology Management partner?  The most important thing to do is engage your ETM partner as early as possible in your planning process.  Haven’t chosen a venue yet?  Why not invite your ETM partner along on your site visits?  Use their knowledge and expertise to figure out which venue and which room will work best for the kind of technology you want, or need, to use.  Room shape, size, and ceiling heights all play a major role in the design of a stage and what event technology (audio, video, and lighting) can be utilized.

Another great way to best use your ETM partner is to rely on them to figure out what technology is needed… after all it should be what they are experts in.   By sharing with them a clear understanding of the purpose of the event, the desired audience response, and the allocated budget, they will be able to offer a practical, viable, and affordable solution.  For example, perhaps the best way to light the stage is to rig a truss in the ceiling, but your budget doesn’t allow for such an expense.  Your ETM partner can figure out a way to do a ground supported light system that is more affordable.  However, be sure they tell you what you are losing, or what the downsides to that alternative are, so you can decide if it is worth the cost savings. That, once again, speaks to the importance of open and honest communication.

Probably the hardest “best practice” when working with your event technology management team is to trust them.  There is a reason you chose to work with them, so utlize their expertise and trust that they will give you the best show you can have with the money you have to spend.  They should be spending your money as if it were their own… not just adding in technology because it fits the budget, but using what is necessary and what makes sense, and possible saving you some money in the end.

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It’s all about the Customer Experience!

Our staff recently attended InfoComm Live 2015, which is a conference for audiovisual companies in the live event business. One of this year’s speakers focused very intently on the customer experience.  The discussion revolved around the idea that we need to engage our customers on such a level that the experience is not just good, but great.  Here at Advanced we often say that good enough is not good enough, so this discussion was one that we saw a lot of value in.

Walt Disney once said, “Do something so well that people will come to see it again and will bring their friends.”  That is the ultimate goal of a great customer experience… getting them to come back and to tell their friends.

In the Advanced world, we chose to focus our attention on the three primary areas of the event technology… audio, video, and lighting.  By choosing to stick to those three elements and not expand into other areas of the live events world, we are able to not just be good at delivering those services, but great.  That covers the doing “something so well” part.

Time and time again, we have proven that once a client partners with us once, they will come back again and again.  Our people, processes, and equipment combined together make for a recipe for success and one that our clients want to taste again.  That covers the “will come to see it again” part.

Referrals have been, and continue to be, our best sales tactic.  Having a client or partner recommend our services to a friend, a client, or sometimes even their competitor is the best compliment we can get and it is the easiest way to grow our business.  That covers the “bring their friends” part.

What does all this mean?  It means Advanced Staging Productions is just like Disney World!  Okay, maybe not, but it does show that we have set ourselves on a path to great success, just like Mr. Disney.

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Sometimes the solution is just that easy.

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Ever look at a maze, and think, “How could anyone ever get through this?”  Ever read a word problem, or hear a riddle that once you were given the answer, you thought to yourself, “wow, is it really that simple?” Ever have a task set in front of you by your boss that you were certain would take you all day that you ended up finishing in an hour?

We often let our imaginations get ahead of ourselves when faced with certain issues or challenges. We instantly start following paths in the maze to try and make our way to the exit without actually taking a step back and looking at the maze from a logical perspective. Sometimes, as in the picture above, the answer is really right there!

Put this in terms of planning an event and handling all the various details. We are not event planning experts, so forgive us if we don’t mention all the elements… but you have to choose a venue, catering, decorations, handle travel arrangements, develop content, coordinate agendas, and of course… hire an event technology management company. Many of these tasks require a lot of work. Some may not. The point is, it is important to take a step back and look at the whole maze and figure out which paths you need to go down first and which ones you can conquer more easily. Some of the tasks have multiple layers to them and may be easier to navigate if you bring in other resources. That is where, if you reference back to some of our other blogs, you will see why choosing the right partners to work with is so vital to the planning process.

If you look at just the technology needs of an event… Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about the audio, video, or lighting at all? Wouldn’t it be great if at the end of the event, you realize you didn’t deal with anything from a technical standpoint? Wouldn’t it be great if the solution to the maze that is event technology management was as simple as the picture above? We have a secret… it is that simple. It is… The Advanced Way.

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It’s time we start working together!

Client ABC wants to hire an event technology partner for their general session.  They feel that there is no need for more than 4 technicians in the room during the running of the event, and they simply will not pay for more than four techs.

Here is what the general session consists of: Audio support for 300 people, with up to 8 presenters on stage at a time (that’s at least 8 wireless microphones to manage); two screen show with multiple video rolls; basic stage wash with back lighting and some up lighting around the room for decor.  Sounds simple enough and could be operated with 4 techs… except there are also three cameras for IMAG (image magnification) and recording.  Well, unless the cameras are not moving (which will make for a unique shoot), or they are remote controlled (which they are not), three of our four techs will be tied up.  That leaves one tech to run audio, video, and lighting.  Is that possible? Of course it is possible.  Is it likely to be a smooth running, successful event?  Doubtful.

We would like to point out, before we get an influx of angry comments from event planners, that this scenario could easily be flipped, where the event technology company tries to dictate to the client what they have to have in the room from a technology and labor perspective, regardless of what they want or what they can afford.  Just because you can do something, or because it is the best way to do it, doesn’t mean you have to.  Is it nice to fly the technology from the ceiling?  Yes. Is it always necessary or worth the extra expense? No. There are many ways to effectively get your messaging across to your audience using technology. The trick is to work as a team to figure out what equipment and labor meets those needs as well as the needs of the budget. Sometimes concessions and/or compromises will have to be made on both sides, but that is why it’s called a collaboration and what makes it a true partnership.

This is why we have spent years perfecting what we call The Advanced Way. The Advanced Way is a philosophy of doing business that permeates throughout our company.  It is that philosophy that sets the stage for great collaborations and that allows us to be a trusted resource for our clients.

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Should I have my Event Technology Partner travel with me?

Why would I want to have my local event technology partner travel to other cities with me?  Can’t I just hire someone local to my event?  Won’t it be too expensive to travel all that equipment and labor?  Are these questions that burden your decision process when selecting an event technology provider for your event?  Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to have your technology partner travel with you, or to hire a local company:

1) What is the size and scope of the event?  If it is a small event with basic technology needs, it will most likely be more cost effective to find a local company in whatever city you are holding the event.  Keep in mind, that your regular partner may be able to make some referrals of companies that can meet your needs.

2) You and your event technology team have most likely grown quite accustomed to working together.  They can probably anticipate your needs both before the event and during.  If they are a good partner, they will most likely always be prepared for the unexpected things that may pop up with your clients.  How much more time and energy will you have to dedicate to making sure everything is exactly as you, and your client, like it?

3) If you work with a specific company on a regular basis, odds are they have built arapport, not only with you, but with your staff, clients, executives, etc.  How will bringing a new entity into the mix affect the rest of your team?  Will it add more work for some folks that are already stretched thin?  Will the new team know how your CEO likes the confidence monitors setup and his/her style of presenting?  What impact might that have on the success of the event?

There are definitely times where it might make sense to hire a local company to handle your audiovisual and event technology needs, but be sure you know what you are getting yourself into.  It is important to know what you are saying yes to, when you say no to having your regular event technology managment team travel with you.

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Are You Working With The Right “Experts?”

Technology is changing on a daily basis.  There is always a new phone, new bluetooth device, new tablet, or new wireless electric razor that also brushes your teeth and combs your hair at the same time coming on the market.  Event technology is not much different in that there are always new developments in all aspects of audio, video, and lighting.  What is the latest in LED lighting technology?  What is projection mapping and 3D projection all about?  What are the benefits of working with digital audio consoles and digital, multitrack recording?  How will the lighting on my stage be able to bring my theme/vision to life for the audience?

Keeping up with the latest trends in the event technology world can almost be a fulltime job.  Should that be your job?  No… not as long as you have a trusted Event Technology Partner working with you.  A truly professional company will employ experts in their given fields… experts that are passionate about their trades and that are always striving to not only better themselves and their teams, but better the experiences of their clients.

When deciding on who you should partner with from an event technology standpoint, take a few of these questions into consideration:

1) How long has the company been in the industry?

2) What is the average tenure of their employees?

3) How many years of experience do their employees have in the industry?

4) Do they employ professionally trained experts in audio, video, and lighting?

5) Do they own the equipment and staff that they are telling you about in their sales pitch?

There are a number of audiovisual companies out there that can give you a list of equipment, assign some labor to your show, sit back and collect payment.  Is that going to give your client the best experience they can and maximize their return on investment?  Or would it be worth finding an event technology management partner that sees your event as their own; will spend your money as if it is their own; that knows the best choices to make in which technology to use; and that will work closely with you on designing your event to have the wanted (or needed) impact on the audience?

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Winter Is no Match For The Advanced Way

We began the New Year jumping into our normal routine of national sales meetings in the various resort destinations, which our staff were even more eager to do given all the snow storms.  Thanks to our planning processes, we never had to miss a beat because of something Mother Nature had to throw at us.  We can attribute that to our detailed and thorough planning, which we see as a key element to true even technology management.  A delayed equipment delivery or a delayed flight could mean the event ends before it even begins.  That is why during the winter season, we pay close attention to the weather and plan our shipping and receiving accordingly.  On a couple of occasions, we flew crew members in days earlier than needed to insure that they would be ready to load in as scheduled. 
However, let’s say for argument’s sake, a truck did arrive half a day late for an event load in.  What would your technology partner do?  How would they be able to get the show up on time?  If your partner is doing things The Advanced Way, they would be able to rely on their local partners that they trust and work with often to assist with necessary elements to get the ball rolling.  Once their truck arrives, what does it look like?  Is it a hodgepodge of cases that aren’t labelled or loaded properly for easy access?  If things are being done The Advanced Way, the truck is packed for easy offloading and the cases are all clearly marked with their contents and the staff knows exactly where in the ballroom they need to go.  Once opened, all the cases are neatly packed for quick setup.  Organization is imperative to a smooth, painless load in and set up of a show.  It can mean the difference between the show being successful or not.
All of this starts back at the office when the event starts to be formed.  The organization and detailed planning begin as soon as the equipment is entered into a quote and/or the drawing of the room begins to take shape.  This, along with solid, consistent communication with the various team members, the client, venue, and other vendors is what separates run of the mill AV companies from true event technology management companies.  Is your current partner doing things The Advanced Way?  Why not?

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How Your Event Technology Management Team Ensures A Flawless Event

From the beginning of their event to its end, an event planner has several key goals they hope come to fruition. One of those goals is wawa tent interior_1_blog19-resized-600starting the event with a bang, and maintaining a steady stream of excitement throughout. This doesn’t happen without an event technology management team who is able to efficiently run your event technology

Jeff Haden, pro public speaker, recently wrote “10 phrases great public speakers never say.” In his article, Haden lists everything from starting presentations with bad jokes to boring your audience with irrelevant information. The article focuses mainly on the speaking aspect of presentations, but several of those spoken phrases derive from stage technology issues. For example, “Can you hear me?” and “Can you read this?” don’t exactly reflect a responsible event planner or a reliable event technology team.

You want to avoid instances where stage presenters are blinded by bright lights or muffled by audio issues. AV issues are sometimes inevitable, but with an event technology management team, you eliminate those unnecessary on-stage instances that reflect on you as an event planner.

Live Sound Checks

When your presenter has to double-check their sound impact, it not only looks tacky, it makes it seem like the audio element of your event was ill prepared. This puts an immediate bad taste in the mouths of your audience. They start thinking, “Isn’t this supposed to be tested before the event?”

You don’t want your presenters asking the audience for volume feedback, but you don’t want their words bellowing over a screeching amp, either. Your event technology management team helps you avoid this by checking and double-checking all sound systems long before the audience arrives. They ensure the volumes are at correct levels before your presenters even touch the microphone.

Blinded By The Light

You don’t want your presenters to get on stage and jerk their head back, shield their eyes, or worse, trip and fall. If they are presenting on stage for the first time, they won’t know what to expect. The last thing you want your presenter to do is put up their hand-visor and exclaim “Wow! Wish I brought my sunglasses.” This might make for a chuckle or two in the audience, but again, it boils down to inadequate preparation, which reflects poorly on the event planner.

Your event technology team is going to ensure adequate lighting but they are also going to make sure your presenter is aware of its impact. A good technology team knows that a stage consists of not just equipment, but people. They take this into account when setting up.

Microscopic Text

If slides are presented on stage, the general rule is that font size should be twice as large as average audience age. When your presenter asks the audience about text visibility, they are basically revealing a lack of effective event preparation or rehearsal, which ultimately reflects poorly on you, the event planner.

When you hire an event technology management team you ensure that all projector and screen components are in place before the event. Any slides used are tested for visibility beforehand, and adjusted accordingly. Event technology management teams are familiar with any and all standards for screen resolution.

Avoid these unnecessary and potentially career-damaging instances by hiring a solid technology team for your next event. Event technology management teams ensure your audio, video and lighting needs are all calibrated to perfection, so the audience never questions your preparation or abilities.

Want to learn more about how the right event technology team runs a flawless, event from start to finish? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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Why A One-Stop Event Technology Management Shop Is Your Best Bet

Event planning involves coordinating a great number of details and Event-resized-600variables. Your Event technology shouldn’t be one of them. Recruiting the right lighting, audio and video professionals is essential to the success of your event. You could gather a team of individual pros from all different companies, or you could take advantage of a full-service event technology management team.

Event technology management companies have grown increasingly popular because they act as a one-stop A/V shop for event planners. Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for companies to only provide a single service. Planners had to hire and coordinate multiple companies to work the same event.

Now, audio, video and lighting technology are so intertwined that the best A/V companies offer them as a package deal. When these three essential event technology disciplines are all under one umbrella, it is much easier to manage them in accordance with your event. Here are a few ways this one-stop shop philosophy trumps the practice of using multiple event technology companies.

1. Effective Communication

Anyone who has worked in an event planning capacity knows how important communication is. When working with a large group, it’s easy to lose track of people, not to mention the progress of their individual tasks.

Your event technology management team has previous work experience together, so they already know how to operate like a team, and will have a seamless communication system already established. For you, this means less pressure to establish and maintain communication flow, ultimately translating to less stress. What event planner doesn’t want that?

2. Reliable Resources

Sound Systems run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand.  LED walls start around $10,000. How do you know which event technology you need? If your event calls for specific equipment, not only do you spend money purchasing it, you spend valuable time researching the right solution.

When you hire an event technology management company you get an experienced team capable of helping you recognize any opportunities for resource optimization in order to stay on budget and on schedule. Event technology companies come equipped with abundant knowledge of the event technology industry, allowing you to focus on your expertise – event planning.

3. The Big Picture

When charged with coordinating and putting on an event, you establish your vision first, and then work out the details of how to achieve that vision. Working with individual experts to achieve this vision may prove difficult when filtering different individual tastes and opinions. A team of various professionals may work well together physically, and have some effective tactics in setting your stage, but they may find it challenging bringing your vision to life. Working with an established, cohesive team of event technology experts allows you to communicate your vision once and then focus your time and energy on the various other priorities.

You know when your event looks good, and when it looks exactly as you had imagined. You want a group of people who work well together, understand your end goal and have the ability to make your vision a reality.

The concept of a one-stop shop is convenient regardless of your industry – offering one cohesive solution to multiple problems. However, one stop shopping is especially useful when it comes to planning your event. When it comes to event planning, the one-stop shops are the teams that offer everything you need with one comprehensive service.

Want to learn more about a one-stop solution for all your event technology needs? Contact the event technology management experts at Advanced Staging Productions at 866-431-8202 and open the door to event planning success.

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