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Basic Audio-Visual Terms Event Planners Should Know

POSTED ON May 28th  - POSTED IN Blog

Having a full understanding of all your audio-visual requirements can make communication with your AV provider a breeze. This understanding can help you communicate a better brief and therefore make it easier for your provider to supply every single need. This will help improve your relationships with suppliers and benefit both parties. Unfortunately there are terms of the trade that can be a little tough to understand, and can make communication difficult.

Once you have a better understanding of the basic terms, you’ll find planning your events much easier. Here are a few terms that AV professionals use that you may find yourself stuck on.

 

General Audio-Visual Termsaudio-visual

 

Streaming

When you stream video or audio, you are essentially sharing media from one platform to another, using the internet. You may have heard this term used in the case of Netflix or Spotify. These platforms use the internet to allow users to stream movies or music from their devices.

This technology is extremely useful to audio-visual professionals. This is for the reason that it does not require large size downloading that could waste time and memory. Streaming could be used for live events that require any audio or visual elements that play in real time.

 

Rigging

When your event requires lighting, projectors, or different types if sound equipment, you will need rigging to hold everything together. Rigging is used to hang different equipment from ceilings, the stage, or other parts of the venue.

It is therefore vital to AV professionals as it helps aid the set up of the event. This also means that space for rigging in the venue should be accommodated for. Your required rigging elements will depend on the scale of your event, and the different functions you require.

 

Front of House

Where you AV professionals will be positioned on the day of your event can affect the outcome of your proceedings.  This space is referred to as the front of house, and has to be kept in mind when considering a floor plan. From here, Av professionals can control the audio and visual elements related to your event.  Trying to fit this in somewhere as an afterthought could result in a crowded space. There could also then not be enough room for professionals to do their jobs.

 

Audio Specific

 

Sound Stage

There are some cases in which events may require prior video or audio recording and editing. All of these functions are performed in a sound stage. This space is a soundproof room in which filming or recording can take place. This is mostly used for bigger events and requires time in advance of the event to complete.

 

Microphones (and their types)

At events that require speeches, talks, or other performance, you might require microphones. This is to insure that everyone can accurately hear everything, even in the case of smaller events.  However, there are different types of microphones to suit different event needs. Some examples of microphone include:

  • Lapel microphones ( A small microphone worn on clothing)
  • Handheld microphones ( Can be wireless or with a cord attached, held by the speaker)
  • Headset microphones ( Attached to the head, allows for hands free use )
  • Madonna microphones ( Wireless microphone headset)

 

Visual Specific

 

Sight Line

A sight line is hypothetical line depicting what a person can see or not. In the terms of an event, it particularly speaks to what guests or audiences can see of the processions. This depends heavily on how practical your events floor plan is.

 

Confidence Monitor

Constantly looking up at the screen or monitor on stage while giving a talk is interrupting.  Both your speakers and audience will appreciate a confidence monitor. This device is there to help the speaker see the presentation subtly in front of him, through a small screen. This way, your speakers never have to look backwards to make sure the correct image is correlating with what they are saying.

 

Aspect Ratio

As aspect ratio comes in so many different forms it is almost impossible to learn them all. These ratios relate to size of video elements. Basically, it is the size in which your video will play in accordance with the screen size.  The most important ones to know are 4:3 (normal) and 16:9 (widescreen). You will want your Av professional to pick the best possible aspect ratio for your event screens. This will mean that the best view of the film or images will be shown, without strange distortion.

These are only a few of the technical terms you might come across when speaking to an Av professional. Your provider should always be open to discussing other terms you may not understand. If you have specific question or query, the AV professionals at Avstage are always available to help you. This way, your event can run as smoothly as possible without misunderstanding or confusion.

Light Up Your Night: The Importance of Good Event Lighting

POSTED ON May 14th  - POSTED IN Blog

Have ever watched a badly lit scene in a movie, where you couldn’t see a thing? You probably missed out an important part of the plot. As a result, you consider the whole film a flop. All because of one small thing people overlook – good lighting. The abundance of light (or lack thereof) is the important difference between success and failure.

This is especially true when it comes to event planning. All other features of your event will be left in the dark (quite literally) without it. You’ll want the lighting during the first dance of a wedding to be bright enough to see the beautiful couple, but not too bright that you can see their two left feet. Your gala dinner lighting should make every guest feel like they are at the Academy Awards. With all this pressure to make your event shine, consider these different lighting options.

 

Spotlights

 

lighting

Whether it is stolen, shared or cast upon you, the spotlight is the most well-known form of event lighting. However, a blinding single beam on a solo performer is not the only kind there is. You get different kinds of spotlights to perform specific functions. For example:

  • Follow spotlights are used to light the way for moving objects on stage – this is also great for those Ta-da moments during product reveals.
  • Beam projectors don’t have a lens, which produces very powerful and direct light. You can see this light from far away as it attracts a lot of attention
  • Ellipsoidal lights are round beams that can be adjusted and changed to suit your event needs
  • A pin spot is a beam that is focused on key items, like centrepieces or banners.

While these are just a few examples, spotlight technology is so far advanced that you can create just about any effect at your event. These used in conjunction with other lights creates a full effect, like the use of spotlights in conjunction with their lesser-known cousins, uplights.

 

Uplights

 

An uplight is just as it sounds; a light placed on the ground that shines upwards. Similar to a spotlight, uplights can either highlight a certain display or simply create an atmosphere. These LED lights are extremely energy efficient, so work perfectly in a busy venue. They can even provide colour combinations that make your event come to life. Colourful uplighting can transform your event venue to suit a corporate identity. It’s like your companies own special touch for every event. If you wanted more even more company branding, take a look at the special effects you can get with the use of gobo lighting.

 

Gobos

 

Want to see your brands name in lights? A gobo is the way to go. They can add a bright and crisp light to project a logo and make a visual impact. Or, for a more subtly themed event, gobos can provide textures and patterns to match and enhance your decor.

 

Wash Lighting

 

lighting

How do you illuminate an entire venue with a subtle glow? With the use of wash lights. This can be coloured or themed for the desired effect. Wash lighting gives you the power to set the tone of the event, so getting this right is important. Wash lighting brightness should be adjusted according to the event. For example, functions where people need to take notes or read should be considerably brighter than a social get-together. Wash lighting can even be changed throughout the night by a lighting engineer who can program different effects.

 

A Light Show

 

For a full spectacle of lights and colours, designed for awe and attention, make use of a light show production. These are often used before the start of a production to build the excitement for the main event. The perfect addition to an awards ceremony or gala dinner.

These lights – or even better – a combination of these lights will provide your event with the right look and feel. To find out more about how lighting can help you, contact Avstage.

What is a gala dinner

POSTED ON April 13th  - POSTED IN Blog, Uncategorized

So you receive this fancy looking invite and as you open it, it reads (in calligraphy of course) “You have been invited to a gala dinner”. You feel quite regal and important because you have made the cut to the Gala dinner. But, to be frank, you have no idea what on earth a gala dinner is. You hear it on television and it always seems to be an event that portrays sophistication and class, but what does it actually entail?

 

Every successful and established company always seems to be holding these gala dinners and they create a lot of buzz around the event. A Gala is basically a big party and according to the ever-so-wise google, guests need to be dressed to impress. A gala provides entertainment, food, and sometimes even auctions.

 

A gala is usually held to reward, celebrate or engage an audience with a specific brand or service. The event usually has its guests seated at a beautifully decorated table and treats them to a three course meal. Throughout the night the guests will be entertained by presenters, dancers or singers. Companies hold Gala’s to:

  • Show appreciation to their investors and clients for their support over the years
  • Hand out awards and recognise achievement.

 

Why spend budget on a gala dinner?

As one would expect, Gala dinners need a good amount of dough to successfully rise to the occasion. So, why should companies spend a portion of their revenue to throw a Gala dinner?

The answer is quite simple – to keep your clients, investors and most importantly your  employees invested in the company by showing them that they are valued and appreciated.

 

With online technology making the world bigger, we are finding that real, organic relationships are dwindling. A gala dinner provides a space where companies can rekindle their relationships with their clients, investors and staff members in a social environment instead of via email, phone or social media networks. These stakeholders then also have the ability to network.

 

Annual gala dinners

Holding a gala dinner annually secures continuous investment, making the clients and company happy! An annual event like this also allows companies to launch new products and share news about exciting future developments and projects. By doing this, companies provide shareholders and employees with the security they are looking for and excites them for the future with the company.

 

Considering a gala dinner?

If you own a company, and you are thinking of jumping on the gala wagon, there are a few things to know:

 

  • Guest lists are of great importance. Invite important stakeholders. These include all your clients/investors and even potential clients/investors.
  • The master of the ceremony needs to literally be a master of ceremonies. Hire someone who can entertain and manage a large group of people – or even recruit a charismatic staff member. It would be an honour for them.
  • Entertainment is key. Book entertainers a few months in advance so that the buzz starts developing early.
  • Equipment needs to be of the highest quality. Hire a company that provides high quality sound equipment, music, stages and lights. There is no room for technical difficulties on the night and therefore companies need to hire reliable sound and lighting companies.
  • Keep speeches, short, insightful and sweet.
  • Have a floor plan that makes logical sense.
  • Feed well and feed plenty!

 

Whether you are attending a gala dinner or hosting it, get ready for an evening filled with fancy attire, great food and drink, organic bonding and happy clients. Step away from the computer, put the cell phone down, dust that old ball gown off, squeeze into your old suit: it will be a night of building and securing important relationships with a touch of glitz, glam and with Avstage – exceptional and innovative technical displays.

 

8 things to consider for a practical floor plan at an event

POSTED ON March 22nd  - POSTED IN Blog

There is a lot that goes into planning an event whether it’s a kid’s party or a presidential inauguration. A lot of work and time is needed to achieve the objectives of the event. Budgeting, finding sponsors, arranging for catering, advertising, security and finding the appropriate venue. These are some of the consistent tasks involved in event planning.
It goes without saying that every task no matter how small it looks can easily jeopardise the whole event. In this regard, finding a practical floor plan for your event is as important as getting it right in the accounts book.

A well-planned floor plan does not only offer the guests comfort but also caters for their security. It also ensures that the other parties involved can carry out their tasks professionally such as performers and caterers. Of course, there are numerous things that you need to have on your checklist. This depends on the nature of your event. Nevertheless, let’s go back to the basics and see the eight things that you should have on your list for a practical floor plan at any event.

Audio visual events1. Accessibility

When planning an event, ensure that your floorplan allows ease of access to everything your guests and keynote speakers/performers need. Basically, you don’t want your guests to be in an overcrowded environment. An environment where it’s a pain to access the charging ports, washrooms, microphones, product booths and catering area among others. You also do not want your caterers squeezing their way and rubbing against the guests while serving them. In this regard, you should ensure that your floorplan accommodates everybody from the media to the disabled. Always go into the more exquisite details such as the need for dancing space in the case of evening parties.

2. Signage

Your guest’s number one priority is to know where various product booths or events are located in case of a big event with multiple rooms/areas. In this regard, you need to ensure that your floor plan accommodates clear signage on the relevant product booths or conference rooms. Although it’s advisable to send floor plans to your guests in advance, clear signage keeps it neat and avoids confusion.

3. VIP treatmentAudio visual events

In high profile events where you have invited VIP’s and special guests there are a few special requirements. You need to ensure that your floor plan accommodates their movements without compromising their security. You obviously do not want your VIP stranded or ‘exposed’ during the event.

4. Capacity

Depending on the number of guests, you need to ensure that your floor plan accommodates all the guests and everything that comes with them, for example, a friend or a secretary. The idea is to ensure that you do not go against the set local codes in regards to the number of bodies required in a specific location at a time.

5. SecurityAudio visual events

Security for your guests, keynote speakers, VIPs and basically everyone in the event should be a priority when choosing a floorplan. In high-profile events, some VIPs will require special considerations in regards to the seating arrangement, the distance between them and the guests/crowd and other security issues. In this regard, make sure that your floorplan allows for secure movements including ease of access to fire extinguishers and other security measures.

6. Seating arrangement

In many cases, the nature of the event dictates the seating arrangements. In this regard, you need to ensure that your floorplan accommodates the seating arrangement that suits your event without compromising personal space and ease of movement.

7. Disaster management/evacuationAudio visual events

Always ensure that you have a disaster management team in place and your floorplan allows for proper evacuation in case of an emergency. In this regard, you need to look into ease of access to various rooms for firefighters/evacuation teams and emergency exits. You obviously do not want a stampede in case of a disaster.

8.Bad weather/rain plan

Your floorplan should readily accommodate a bad weather/rain plan so that it doesn’t end prematurely in case of bad weather. You should also ensure that you can communicate effectively to everyone in the event in case there is a need to implement the rain plan.

When throwing an event you can’t always think of everything at once. These 8 things may seem simple enough to consider but it’s easier said then done. You might need a little extra help with the perfect floorplan. All you’ll need to think about who needs to be there, who needs to sit where and who should be tables apart for the affair. Maybe the ninth point to consider would be to outsource this task to the pro’s.

The difference between background music and a DJ

POSTED ON February 23rd  - POSTED IN Blog

Music plays a massive role at events and functions. It affects the behaviour of your guests and sets the entire atmosphere. You’ve probably got the option of having a DJ or background music playing at your event. Choosing which one to go with depends on what you have planned for the evening. Hiding your agenda from your technical team may result in a super awkward situation. You may expect the technical team’s sound engineer to act like Cinderella and magically transform into a DJ before the clock strikes 12.

Often, we get clients requesting background music and insisting they do not require a DJ. Being unaware of the different functions each one of these serves and the different skill sets required leads to this misunderstanding.  To manage expectations, we’ve dedicated an entire blog to explaining what it means to hire a DJ and what it means to opt for background music instead.

Opting for Background musicBackground music or DJ

By literal definition, background music is: “music intended as an unobtrusive accompaniment to an activity or to provide atmosphere in a film”. Music is therefore not the main focus of the event. Instead, it acts as a variable that sets the tone and atmosphere of an event (along with lighting, effects and decor).

This is usually the sort of music that plays in the background while something else is going on – such as an award ceremony, gala dinner, exhibition, trade show, conference or even pre-drinks at a wedding. In this case, hiring a DJ for an event of this nature would be totally wasteful because the music is not the only contributing factor or source of entertainment.

Enter the Sound engineer

A sound engineer controls background music. Unlike a DJ, the sound engineer at the event has many duties for the night. They ensure that all audio equipment is working, there is zero interference with the speakers and microphones, all tech and equipment is set up correctly and that the correct background music plays.
This implies that the background music has already been requested and decided upon prior to the event and will play for the duration of the event.

Getting it right

You may decide that background music is exactly what your event needs. You could have based your decision on the nature of the event, budget requirements or personal preference. This is totally fine and your event will still be successful as long as you do the following:

  1. Inform your technical suppliers about what sort of event you are having
  2. Decide when background music should be playing
  3. Settle on a genre of music
  4. Provide detailed information about the music
  5. Expect the music to stop when the event is over

While this seems a little overboard, it is essential that the background music filling awkward silences is creating the exact atmosphere you anticipate for your entire event. Let your technical suppliers know the demographics of your guests, mood and even artists you would prefer. Remember, because you have a sound engineer in in control of the music for the event, their own personal preferences may shine through without a detailed explanation of what sort of music you want.

When the technical team pack up, the music leaves with them. This is because the sound engineer’s sole purpose is not to play music for guests. They are there for a wide array of functions and duties. After completing their duties, they’re done for the night and free to go home. These include dismantling and packing up equipment, collecting all microphones etc.

Hiring a DJbackground music or dj

Honing in on the final point from the paragraph above, a DJ’s sole purpose is to entertain and play requested music for as long as the event goes on and the last girl leaves the party with her shoes in her hand. Most times you stipulate how many hours you require a DJ for and if you need them outside of those hours, they will just bill you accordingly for overtime.

As we write this article, one tell-tale difference between playing background music and hiring a DJ is how each is described. One either plays background music or hires a DJ.  Background music is usually preloaded and anyone can play it. This differs to having a skilled, particular person playing the role of a disc jockey. A DJ is responsible for playing requested music and mixing songs together for entertainment purposes. They sometimes even have their own lighting and effects to add to the entire entertainment element of hiring a DJ.

We’ve experienced extremely disappointed clients who have opted for background music and once the formalities are over, still expect a party with entertainment along the lines of a DJ service. The sound engineer tries to keep the guests happy by playing whatever they can find on the pre-selected background music playlist but fall short with all the bells and whistles provided by a DJ. A DJ service requires an entirely different person, skill set and equipment to keep the party going long after the formalities have taken place. If you’re wanting to keep your guests happy by allowing them to request dancing queen at 1am then you’re going to need a DJ.

Can you have both?

The answer is yes! You certainly wouldn’t want strobe lights filling the room while guests are enjoying a 5-star 3 course meal. Instead, during formalities you’d want your background music. You could even get super fancy and ask the sound engineer (before the event) to subtly transition the background music throughout the event from calm and ambient to more upbeat and lively to create the right atmosphere for when your DJ takes over and the party really starts

Knowing your guests and the purpose of the event is key to choosing the right sort of entertainment, while transparent planning and preparation with your event technical supplier will translate into a successful event.

Exhibiting This Year? 7 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd

POSTED ON February 16th  - POSTED IN Blog

Trade shows and exhibitions are great ways to gain exposure for your brand and meet potential clients in a physical setting, but they are packed with exhibiting competitors also trying to make their stand as approachable, new and exciting as you are. The competition at trade shows and exhibitions is tough. Attendees will easily overlook your stand if you haven’t put the (right) effort in.

Here are some ways you can make sure you are gaining maximum return on investment from your time and money spent on your stand as well as ensure that your business is the buzz word of the day!

The early bird catches the crowd

We’re not talking about getting there at sparrows on the day of the event, but rather preparing weeks in advance leading up to the event.

Do some market research and find out what people want handed out at expos and trade shows – what actually draws their attention these days? Find ways to be (and stay) the cool kids on the exhibition floor. Send out emails, social media posts, flyers, letters from pigeons if you have to – just get the word out and establish contact points for interested attendees to get hold of you after the exhibition.

Take a page out of Oprah’s book

You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!… Okay, so you don’t have to give out cars while you’re exhibiting,  but everyone loves getting free stuff. Avoid the exhausted things like pencils, notebooks and calendars though.

Try something quirkier and more memorable then stick your logo on it. Entrepreneurs from the YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) have shared that companies that give out logo-marked things like socks, laptop skins or Rubik’s cubes are more likely to attract people and increase their percentage of new customers. So, get quirky! You’ll also be far more memorable than ‘those guys that gave out notepads and pens’.

Make ‘em laugh

You’ve probably been told: “Humour is the way to anyone’s heart.” Funny enough, humour is also a way into a person’s pockets.

Create buzz with something humorous while you’re exhibiting. Remember – you want to provide people who come past your stand with an opportunity for conversation so give them something that gets them laughing and acts as an excellent conversation piece. There’s no doubt they will be talking about you – creating the buzz you need.

Scout the competition

Do your research. Sniff out the big dogs and learn from what they’re doing – and what’s working for them. Also, look at the unsuccessful stands from previous trade shows and take notes about their mistakes.

Display of the day

Be the Display of the Day! If you want people to notice, pay attention to and act on your stand then you must be willing to splurge a little bit on an excellent first impression.

We’re not suggesting fireworks, smoke machines and strobe lights (although we can totally help you out with that). Instead, have some great music, lure them in with a scent, string some gorgeous fairy lights and really put in some effort.

You may even have someone with a microphone running competitions or interacting with the crowd.

Planning to exhibit and keep your marketing department sane is an ordeal in itself. Try get a little help with your stand’s display. We are always here to provide advice and help you conceptualise your stand. Take a look at some of our previous work here.

Cue the queue

The human race is an inquisitive, strange species. We see a group of people and we want to know what they’re doing and why on Earth they are all there. We also want everything everyone else wants and sometimes – we have no idea why!

If you can create the longest line at the show, we can assure you that people will come running. Create the line and buzz by trying out a few of our previous suggestions.

Make friends

Be wise and socialise! Be the life of the party and become friends with everyone while you’re exhibiting. If networking isn’t your strong point, ensure you place confident, charismatic and enthusiastic extroverts at your stand to promote your product or service. Encourage them to chat about upcoming events coming or – if you have extra in the budget, plan an after-party and invite potential customers. People are drawn to fun and excitement, so BE fun and exciting.

Get the most out of trade shows and exhibitions by trying a few of the above tips. For help creating an out-of-this-world stand, contact us!

Things to Consider When Hosting an Exhibition

POSTED ON February 9th  - POSTED IN Blog

Hosting an entire exhibition or trade show seems like an extremely daunting task when you look at all the things that need to be considered. We have made it a bit easier by giving you a quick guideline.hosting exhibition

Budget

This will always be your starting point. Cash flow and budget are major factors that need to be considered when planning your exhibition. Set out your budget and start researching suppliers way in advance.

Venue

The venue you choose is of the utmost importance. You need to find a secure location that can handle the expected capacity. Your venue needs to match your style, size and space requirements. The venue should be easily accessible – specifically to your target market.

Parking

Exhibitions and trade shows create chaos for those attending and even those that aren’t. It is enough to quite literally drive people away, so the question you need to ask yourself is, “does the venue have parking space?” if not then are there usable parking lots in the radius of 500 metres?

It’s also a good idea to find out if there are any routine events in the area that could possibly congest your event parking.

A venue with sufficient parking space is what dreams are made of but we know that this isn’t always the case. If you feel the parking space will not be enough you could look at the UBER or Lyft event discounts and then distribute the discount code to all attendees. This not only solves the parking space conundrum but if alcohol is available at the exhibition, it also promotes safety on the road.

Vendors

Whether you’re hosting a bridal, RAGE or hobby exhibition, ensure that all vendors are relevant and agree to follow event guidelines.

Placing the correct (quality) vendors at your exhibition almost guarantees return attendees and gives your exhibition credibility.

Theme

Although your vendors may follow guidelines, they will all be different. Tie the exhibition together by deciding on a theme.

How would you go about doing this? Decide on the sort of atmosphere you want and use special effects throughout the venue to portray a consistent theme that gives your exhibition an overall identity.

For example: You may want a dreamy, warm and relaxed atmosphere. You could make use of smoke machines, mood lighting (fairy lights, up lighting etc.) and fragrance.

Music

Music can really set the atmosphere of any exhibition. It does, however need to be the right volume, type and quality for the type of attendees you’re expecting.

If music is a major part of your exhibition, pay careful consideration to the acoustics of the venue.

Guest speakers

Special guests are very important when attracting people to attend your exhibition. Find speakers and special guests that are relevant, exciting and influential. For your exhibition to make an impact (and ensure people attend the next one) your speakers must attract and engross your audience.

If you are planning on having a couple of speakers or guest appearances at your exhibition, make sure you have the correct equipment for them. With so many attendees, there will be plenty signals jamming up channels. The microphones you use should be zero-interference microphones for a seamless and top-quality presentation.

Imagery

Visuals, visuals, visuals! Everybody loves pretty things and that is why it is important to dress your exhibition up as beautifully as possible – this follows suite with deciding on a theme.

We hope these guidelines gear you up for a stress-free event. Avstage are experts in providing audio and visual technical innovation for any size exhibition or trade show.
Contact us for a little help!

Affordable last-minute year-end function ideas

POSTED ON November 21st  - POSTED IN Blog

Your year-end function is an awesome way to boost morale amongst employees. It can increase efficiency, profitability and employee retention. These type of functions don’t always have to be extravagant and flashy. They’re pretty much just to give employees a pat on the back and the recognition they deserve for a successful year. Staff members have the opportunity to mingle and get to know one another on a more personal level – strengthening employee relations and creating a powerful workforce.

It would be a shame if your year-end function has to be jeopardised by tight budgets. In South Africa’s economic climate, year-end functions are sometimes the first things to get cut. You may be in luck by managing to get a little bit of last-minute budget from the top to do something small for your team to show your appreciation.

A few budget-friendly last minute year-end function ideas for you to consider:

Keep it in the office

year-end function

If budget is an issue then hiring a venue is totally unnecessary. If you’re reading this post it’s probably because this is a last-minute function and most venues are likely to be fully booked anyway.

You may have some hidden culinary talent within your team – find out if a few team members would be willing to whip up some snacks and treats for the day. Reimbursing them the cost of the ingredients will work out far more economical than hiring an entire catering company.

Pull together staff content. If you really want to keep your function intimate and personal you can ask staff for content to display during the event. This includes office photos, stories or site photographs they may have taken and documented throughout the year. Put together a little PowerPoint preseon to project and run in the background of your event.

Parking lot cook-out

If you have an awesome open parking lot on your premises, gather a few braais from staff members or hire a spit, set out some benches, get some great sound and work with what you’ve got!

You could even do a sunset braai and allow everyone to go home, get into casual clothes, bring their families and enjoy a year-end braai together.

Don’t hire out a venue – book tables.

year-end functions

You may be lucky enough to have an awesome restaurant in your area. Instead of paying a fee to book a venue for a private event, call and book a few tables. This way you’ll have everyone together and the venue still stays open for other patrons.

You’ll still be able to make your toast at the table, say your speeches and acknowledge excelling team members.

Join forces

year-end function

Talk to your sister company, partners or even other companies in your office block and have a combined year-end function. It’s a win-win and may even have some surprising business benefits – you’ll be able to network, meet new people and set the tone for an awesome new year.

By joining resources you have access to other premises, staff capabilities and talents and most importantly – extra budget!

Shop around

year-end function

If you did manage to pull a little extra budget and have the opportunity to look for suppliers, shop around. Some suppliers may be doing discounted year-end packages or just have better rates than others.

We, at Avstage are able to supply all the audio-visual elements of your event and we’ll try our best to make it work within your budget. Contact us to book a consult.

6 Cities, 7 Days, 3 Teams – A Successful Medshield Broker Event

POSTED ON November 7th  - POSTED IN News

Since 1968 Medshield has been providing reliable medical schemes to over 160 000 members throughout South Africa. For the past 5 years, Saints Branding has assisted with the annual Medshield broker event. We, at Avstage have been lucky enough to be a part of this phenomenal event. Here’s how it all comes together.Medshield broker event

The Medshield broker event aims to bring brokers together from various firms to discuss exciting Medshield product launches for the following year and any benefits they may have added to their existing products. Medshield use this event to celebrate their company achievements – such as AA ratings and provide brokers with sales tools to recruit new members. To produce a seamless annual event, Saints Branding works alongside an event production company – Alan Glass Production.

Avstage have been working directly with Alan Glass of Alan Glass Production for many years, on various projects. Alan Glass Production specialises in corporate communication, event production and facilitation, TV / video production and advertising services in South Africa and Mauritius. Alan Glass is also part of Fried Glass.

Each year the Medshield broker event pulls together a fantastic team of people that make the event possible and memorable. The team consists of a number of dedicated specialists. We have been providing technical solutions for this annual event, for the past 5 years.

Since it started, the annual project has grown. It now includes two Joburg events. One for Medshield Staff (+- 250 Pax) and the main event for Medshield brokers (+- 350 Pax). Medshield then then do a 5-city roadshow with a smaller version of the event for all the brokers in Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, PE, and East London. Setting up and providing audio-visual equipment for 6 cities over 7 days requires planning, resources, technical know-how and most importantly, 3 incredible teams!

Our itinerary looked something like this:Medshield annual broker event

Day 1 – 25 September 2017:
Our first team set up in Kyalami, Johannesburg at Theatre On The Track.

Day 2 – 26 September 2017:
The staff show took place at Theatre On The Track.

Day 3 – 27 September 2017:
The show for the brokers took place at the same location. Here’s the challenge – we needed to produce a scaled-down version of the show in Cape Town, the very next day.

While the broker show was taking place in Johannesburg, we had a second team, with a second set of resources, setting up in Cape Town.

Day 4 – 28 September 2017:
We had set up in Cape Town at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. While the show was in action, we had a third team, with their own set of resources setting up for the fourth show in Durban.

Day 5 – 29 September 2017:
Our team were set up in Durban at Moses Mabhida Stadium, ready for the show that day.

Day 6 – 2 October 2017:
Over the weekend, we had time to gather ourselves. The Durban team were ready to move on to Port Elizabeth where the next broker event took place at Protea Hotel, Marine.

Day 7 – 3 October 2017:
The Durban/PE team were set up and ready for the sixth show on day seven in East London, at the International Convention Centre.

Day 8 – 5 October 2017:
We had reached the last destination of the roadshow – Bloemfontein. The same, incredible Durbs/PE/EL team had already set up for the seventh and final event which took place at the Protea Hotel, Willow Lake.

Apart from showing off our insanely capable team, each year we use the annual Medshield broker event as an opportunity to showcase the latest and greatest technology at no extra cost to the client. It’s a two-fold strategy: The show turns out spectacularly and we have fun playing with new toys – obviously.

The equipment that made the Medshield broker event possible

Projectors

medshield broker event
For the Medshield broker event we used Christie Projectors purchased from Stage Audio Works. We use this particular projector for all our events. It is compact, provides a bright, high res image and has wonderful flexibility when it comes to screen size. We swear by this brand but always have a spare on hand.

Microphones

medshield broker event
Shure claims to be the most trusted audio brand worldwide. We purchased the latest wireless microphones from Wild & Marr. The Shure wireless microphones are absolutely incredible. We use them because while there are many devices competing for wireless airspace, the Shure Wireless microphones seek out areas in the wireless airspace with the least interference. This results in flawless sound with no drop out or decrease in quality.

Lighting

Medshield broker event
This is the department where we really like to show off.  Robe Lighting – purchased from DWR Distribution, never lets us down and provides incredible, impressive stage effects.

We cannot wait to be a part of next year’s Medshield event where we will meet new professionals, push our limits, test our resources and play with a whole new range of the latest and greatest technology.

All photographs featured in this article were taken by Snapdragon.

 

How to choose independent suppliers for corporate events

POSTED ON October 13th  - POSTED IN Blog

The venders you choose could either make or break your corporate event. If you’re choosing to throw the event yourself instead of going through an event coordinator, apply this formula for each aspect of the event you need a supplier for:

1. Nail your vision

You won’t be able to tell suppliers what you’re looking for if you’re not entirely sure to start with. Sit down with your team and discuss things like:

  • How many guests you will be expecting
  • What atmosphere you’re hoping to achieve
  • What sort of location you have in mind
  • Possible themes
  • Budget
  • Your end goal for the event or what you want to achieve from hosting the event.

This will enable you to figure out exactly what you will need from suppliers on the day. This will also help later in the process when you’re evaluating supplier proposals against your event criteria.

2. Ask around

Who better to ask about suppliers than others that also use suppliers? You can ask event coordinators, planners and other corporates who they have previously used.

A misconception is that event coordinators, planners and other corporates are reluctant to give this information out. On the contrary, they may be more than happy to give recommendations as it helps them forge stronger relationships with the supplier and the supplier may return the favour for the referral.

3. Do your own research

Asking around is fantastic as it allows you to network and gain honest word-of-mouth referrals. This doesn’t mean that you are only limited to what others recommend.

Google is your best friend here! Search for the type of suppliers you are looking for, check out their websites and their social media activity. You may even find reviews on other sites like Hellopeter

Tip: A key indicator that suppliers are up to date with the latest trends and technology is that they are active on their online platforms.

4. Shortlist

Once you’ve done your research and asked around, it’s time to shortlist the venders that caught your eye. Tabulate them according to their function. Your shortlist could look something like this:

Food Audio-Visual Decorations Entertainment
  • Avstage

5. Go for coffee

We highly recommended meeting with potential suppliers in person. This allows you to share and bounce-off ideas, gauge their capabilities and ask them everything you need to ask. If you’re unable to accurately articulate what you’re looking for, they can also help you fill in the blanks with the correct technical terminology.

Treat this meeting as an interview. Have questions ready and find out exactly what the supplier can do for you.

6. Site visits

Ask your potential suppliers if you can pop in to an upcoming function. Here you can see their work ethic, interpersonal skills and ability to think on their feet. For some suppliers, a site visit may be the only way to understand their capabilities – this would apply, for example to food vendors.

7. Send out proposal requests

You might find that you can’t quite settle on a supplier yet – even after all the research, interviews and site visits. Ask your shortlist to send their proposals and evaluate each proposal according to your initial criteria.

8. Seal the deal

Select your supplier, negotiate terms and sign the contract. The hard work is over!

9. Remain loyal to your suppliers

After all the hard work you put into choosing the perfect supplier, it would be a shame to forget about them for your next event.

Using the same suppliers consistently guarantees you a certain level of work ethic and deliverable. The relationship you form with suppliers could be highly beneficial. They may cut you some slack down the road or even throw in a few extra favours. Also consider how many other people your suppliers interact with. If one of their other clients is looking for what your company offers, they may recommend your services.

You are now ready to go out and find your suppliers! If you’re still looking for an audio-technical solutions supplier – look no further than Avstage.

What other steps do you recommend when choosing suppliers?

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