Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 07 2013

The New Technology That Will Transform Your General Session

By Mary Reynolds Kane

3d projections

If you’re like me, you struggle to tune in to the typical pre-show sponsor role calls that seem to kick off every general session. That’s why I was surprised when I found myself glued to every word when the Canadian Society of Association Executives National Conference & Showcase began in Winnepeg, Manitoba last week.

So what actually caught my attention?

3D projection. CSAE used AVW-Telav’s new projection mapping product, Pandora, to create a one-of-a-kind, attention-grabbing look. Consider this AV on some super powerful steroids. This type of technology caught the eyeballs of millions of viewers earlier this year when producers at the Grammys turned Carrie Underwood’s dress into a sea of projected designs and colors, all of which were timed perfectly with her performance.

Bonus: Cut Some of Your Other Costs

If your meeting typically requires loads of lighting, stage construction and different gobos or other sponsor assets, projection mapping represents a potential opportunity. You can delete some of those “usual” items from your list of expenses and shift your spending toward something a bit more unexpected.

It also allowed CSAE to easily use the same room for two very different purposes: general sessions and a black-tie optional gala (side note: I opted to leave the black tie at home).

Of course, this kind of “wow” factor still comes with a price tag. CSAE’s production was around $60,000-$70,000 for everything from pre-production and creative to labor.

SEE ALSO: Engage Your Attendees and Satisfy Their Technology Addictions

So, How Does It Actually Work?

After being so impressed with the session, I decided to attend a backstage tour with AVW-Telav’s VP of Sale, Steven Bury. Here’s a look at what you’ll need and how many people you’ll need to do it in order to add projection mapping to your general session.

Screens
  • Center: 15 Ft by 52 feet – used for picture in picture displays and attention-grabbing visuals
  • Sides: 2 curtains called cyclorama used for projection
  • Cubes on the sides of the stage
Projectors
  • Main: 2 projectors blended together
  • Sides: Each curtain had one; each set of white cubes had one
Labor
  • Sunday: 16 people (pre-rig)
  • Monday: 20 people to complete set up and test
  • Tuesday: 8 people to test
  • Live show: Stage manager, audio manager, Pandora operator, PPT manager, camera man, graphics
  • 2 days of work (Recommendation: try and do the mapping off hours with a split crew to lessen the chance of the equipment moving and make the process more cost effective)

Timing Is Everything

If you’re constantly making last-minute adjustments to your meeting, I should warn you that this type of technology will force you to lock in your decisions. It’s ideal to have each element of the session locked in no later than one week prior to showtime - - and that may still be generous. It’s optimal to have nearly everything approved one month out.

Have you done anything to update the typical approach to your general session? What technologies or techniques have played a big role?

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