Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Growing Face of Technology in Events

-By Greg Christy
Event technology has evolved, taking us from just decorated events to immersive experiences. In my 25 years in business, my company has grown from a "lighting resource" to a provider of full technical services for live events. I mention it so that the impact of what has happened in the events industry is clear.

The first big evolution involved automated lighting equipment. In the way back years, we simply set up and pointed fixtures that could only illuminate one area. When automated equipment came along, we were able to use one fixture to change colors in different parts of a room or a stage. This opened the possibilities for kinetic design through the course of events. That must have happened before you were born, you say? Well, maybe.

The next big jump brought us LED as a new light source and enabled richer colors and more light for less power. We went wireless and could put fixtures where we never could before.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Today, technology has merged video and lighting as one. Video projectors automate light. Instead of a gobo, planners have the ability to paint walls and stages with video content. One example is the opening of the concert hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. We were able to take a giant tent and light it entirely with video content delivered through LED fixtures. This may seem the norm for many entering the event profession, but unless you've been around for a while, it might be difficult to realize how fare we've come.

What's Next?

Video mapping, also known as projection mapping, is the new trend. Video mapping is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings. By using specialized software, a two or three dimensional object is spatially mapped on the virtual program which mimics the real environment upon which it is projected. This way, the computer knows exactly where to project its information as it can bend and highlight any shape or form. Almost any surface can be used to become a dynamic video display of 2D and 3D images that can transform what is reality for the audience into illusions and images with infinite possibilities. The video is commonly combined with, or triggered by, audio to create an audio-visual narrative.

While video mapping is still relatively expensive, it becomes more affordable every six months. We will be seeing more of it in the near future, because using technology in this way is a large plus for our industry. It allows us to create a huge experience, a big WOW for our guests - the goal of most of our clients. An immersive experience allows us to tell stories so much better than in the days of old. Now we can offer a total experience.

Immersive Events

An example that immediately springs to mind was a birthday party in Mexico, in the middle of nowhere! Guests walked into a seamless structure. They most likely thought it just another room at the Four Seasons Hotel. However, we created it from nothing - including air conditioning, lighting, sound, video - the entire enchilada so to speak. The room contained nine-foot-high ceilings with elegant chandeliers hanging over every beautifully decorated table. But. . . there was a surprise. After dinner, we raised the ceiling from nine to 22 feet, and one wall opened to reveal a giant video screen that played a retrospective of the birthday honoree's life set to Elton John music. There's more. . . as the video ended, the screen rose to Elton John performing in person! Guests went wild. Now that is a real experience.

Cisco Event
Another event for Cisco is a perfect example of technology used as (and actually replacing) entertainment. For a software developers' conference, with attendees from five specific geographic regions around the globe, participants experienced an immersive 360-degree projection with content themed to their individual home regions. It was decor, entertainment, technology and a personal experience for the group. It made a connection that a headline act would not.


My Point

Technology is allowing us to grow and create increasingly higher value events. What years ago was a nice highlight for event decor has become the catalyst for evolving experiential events that allow customers to create the coveted emotional response in their own clients. As technology evolves, we will be able to immerse our guests into a virtual world of unforgettable experiences.

Greg Christy is the founder and CEO of Brite Ideas, Inc., an award-winning technical direction and design coordination service provided to the entertainment and special events industry worldwide. It provides theatrical and broadcast quality lighting, audio, staging and I-MAG systems for live press/media events and concert and video presentations. Extraordinary Events and Brite Ideas team up often to provide experiential events. Greg may be reached via

1 comment:

  1. Great post. This article is really very interesting and enjoyable. I think its must be helpful and informative for us. Thanks for sharing your nice post about The Growing Face of Technology in Events .
    champions league live