Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scene Change in Hobart

In a very cheeky move Hobart’s new AV company Scene Change managed to attract plenty of attention at the MEA conference.

First up they postered vantage points such as bridges along the route from the airport to the city and they had more posters around the CBD area that the conference was being held in. Next they took a trade stand at the conference and they also parked their black “AV response” van opposite the conference venue.

Scene Change directors Peter Kolevas and Ian Whitworth are former senior management folks from Staging Connections and when they opened their Hobart business they attracted key people who defected from Staging Connections.

Their “revolution” T shirts distributed at the conference were a hot item and were quietly sought by Staging Connections Sydney staff attending the conference.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MEA conference technical woes

This year’s Meetings & Events Industry conference in Hobart was well received and we have many of the delegates gracing our social pages along with a full coverage of the industry awards.

One sour note was the standard of production for the plenary sessions in the Concert Hall. The sound was patchy as was the lighting and the imag was feeding back on screen.

Let me address those issues. The video feedback occurs when the imag screen is in shot giving a repeated image on the screen, this is very distracting to the audience and easily avoided by keeping the screens or the cameras a little bit higher. Cameras at the rear of the auditorium were fine but the handheld at the front of the room seemed to be shooting straight at the screens.

In the opening ceremony the stage was filled at times with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra or a children’s choir, both groups very underlit, something I was very aware of as I tried to photograph them. I looked up at the rig and could see a good row of profiles on the FOH bar that were barely glowing and defiantly underused. Sure the stage looked pretty with washes on the walls but surely the performers deserved better.

However the most disappointing technical aspect was the sound. Something that was commented on by delegates and a couple of the presenters. The rig consisted of a standard stack flown on either side of stage with some small infill speakers across the front of stage. When I was down the front I couldn’t hear anything from the infill and the sound was patchy to say the least throughout the room.

The day after the conference finished I had cause to go back into the auditorium and was surprised to see that the two side stacks were removed and the house crew were tuning a centre cluster. I asked the audio tech about the speakers and was told that the centre cluster is the house system and that Staging Connections had decided to bring their own system. That night I attended a concert by the TSO and the house system was used for extensive commentary and onstage interviews by the ABC’s Christopher Lawrence. The sound was perfect.

Now one would think that if a company is a major sponsor for a conference of industry peers and potential clients that all effort would be made to ensure that what they do they do exceptionally well.

Moral – if it ain’t rooted, don’t root with it.