There’s never been a better time to plan an event – thanks in part to technology! Strategically incorporated technology improves events. Applying the best “tools” improves marketing, enhances day of event communication needs, and simplifies follow-up. For example, a conference or fundraiser website may feature event details and allow easy communication, including registration. A wedding website raises the excitement level and provides useful details. Promotion can be enhanced by creative use of social media. An app that includes event handouts keeps attendees organized. At the end of a conference, a survey can be sent to attendees to assess success. A nonprofit may choose to hire a service that provides online and at event support for auctions, such as Bidding for Good.
To stay ahead of the curve on day-of-event technology, I sat down and talked with Cecil Dorman, VP of Business Development for AVFX, Inc, an AV staging firm offering reliable audio, video, and lighting services.
Debbie Good Miller, Good Celebrations, LLC: When I was a Development Director for a nonprofit organization, we hired AVFX to provide the sound system and visual effects for a Gala Celebration. AVFX service was outstanding. The audience enjoyed a flawless flow of on-schedule information. While brief speeches were interspersed with video clips and music, I was grateful that we had access to current technology and competent professionals who knew how to seamlessly use it.
Cecil, In this age of TEDX Talks, Flash Mobs, and virtual meetings, the event experience has changed dramatically. Many event planners rely on technical service providers. Getting the message out at an event is critical, and AVFX is a key player in the industry. What are a few of the “meat and potatoes” kinds of technology that work as a cornerstone to an event? What new services are now available in the marketplace?
Cecil Dorman: This may sound strange, but wireless technology. Wireless is surely “meat and potatoes,” but you still see a lot of cables on stage. Lighting is always key to events; there are great effects with robotics and LED technology. Sound is critical, and there are great improvements in smaller and higher quality systems. Video projection used as a lighting effect is another interesting way to enhance audience experience.
A new approach to look for is projection mapping. This technique uses one projector to take multiple inputs and project the images onto an irregular surface. Imagine three videos playing on three sides of a cube. With software in the projector and on your computer you can crop your imagery to project on an interesting shape.
At the end of the day, a well-rehearsed event can deliver a lot of value without a lot of “bells & whistles.”
Debbie Good Miller: That’s a good point. There’s no substitute for rehearsals. Events benefit, too, from technology improvements, cutting edge technology, and how best to apply each.
The design and goal of the event should drive the technology. Oftentimes event planners have definite ideas for how to convey branding throughout the event. Can you think of a time when a technical expert listened to an event planner’s vision, suggested technology that was not originally included in the request for services, and by incorporating the technical expert’s ideas, the event was greatly enhanced?
Cecil Dorman: Great events result from great collaboration, and planners should include their vendors as early as possible. A/V is often thought of last after the décor and food. I think many planners base their A/V decisions on price without engaging the vendor and asking for input. We have a suggestion we champion called Partner/Vendor Approach. We encourage our clients to select the best partners and tell them to work together, develop great plans, and don’t mark up each other’s services.
Debbie Good Miller: If someone is planning an event and reaching out to you for the first time, what questions should they be asking a technology service provider? How can they be reassured that the technicians care about presentation detail, quality, and high level of collaboration?
Cecil Dorman: I think planners can tell when someone is sincere. Probably the main question to ask yourself is, “Will they value your business?” Asking for references is great, but ask those references how it was to work with them. Listen for real issues and creative solutions.
Debbie Good Miller: Great advice. That level of questioning can be applied to all vendors. Thank you, Cecil for your valuable insight and helpful recommendations. Your guidance enables all to ask the best questions and attain the most effective technology. Technology plays a key role in day-of-event production. Technology improves events.
Improve your next event with Cecil’s suggestions.
Good Celebrations, LLC
Life is short. Celebrate!