Thursday, March 27, 2014

FX and Events

An Interview with Kevin Bilida of TLC Creative

Kevin Bilida is the creator of the unique 360 video screen reveal and release that dramatically opens every Lakers game at Staples Center. He and his company have designed unforgettable moments for Superbowl Halftime shows and brought new and innovative interactive light technologies to engage audiences to create excitement for brands around the world.

EE caught up with Kevin in-between gigs to ask him to share ideas with us.

EE: Kevin, what are some cutting edge FX design ideas that event producers can use for corporate events?

Kevin: To help keep events fresh and exciting, corporate event producers should think out-of-the-box and include creative show moments and live special effects to wake up their crowd and get each person excited and motivated to see and hear every message being presented. Don't let a dull speaker ruin a great meeting. Include "larger than life" cues and music and video to keep energy levels up.

Creative ideas can connect meeting themes to a real effect; such as a meeting in hot Puerto Rico that said to the sales people assembled: "as a group we have a LOT of power, so much so that we can make it now in San Juan!" Suddenly, simulated snow falls, immersing the audience in the message of group power.

Revealing key speakers with exciting effects can add memorable energy to the event, and for the speaker a more receptive and motivated group. Themed video production can create a story that is concluded with the speaker's entrance, a set-up and execution that becomes entertaining and memorable.

Look at the powerful reveal cue for Justin Timberlake on the ESPYS at the right. It was a combination of fog effects and pyrotechnics, timed in such a way that large billowing plumes allowed the performer to enter the area hidden, and then dramatically be revealed as if he appeared from nowhere. This balance of effects used and the perfectly timed execution is how this reveal is a cutting-edge moment. Why not introduce a keynote speaker this way?

 Incorporate a 360-video cylinder, such as we did for the Lakers. Think about it. A show that suddenly appears in mid-air. The effect is thrilling in person. Think about how the Staples Center goes dark and a couple of seconds later a huge screen fills the arena for the pre-game show. It is a creative use of video projection and screens and has been performed live over 500 times to energize Lakers fans at every game. Why not bring such unique energy to corporate guests to create a rush like no other?

EE: What new "effects" do you see available in the future?

Kevin: Future effects are here TODAY. New LED lighting technologies are exploding with amazing effects and interactivity that are exciting people like nothing else. True interactive experiences and devices are available now.

Think about incorporating LED wristbands that not only light up, but pinpoint where guests are. They can network with each other or indicate how long an individual was at a stage or a bar or dancing. These can be utilized at meetings and conventions effectively.

In the photo below, technology created a spectacular half-time show for the NBA Detroit Pistons. Each fan in the stands had either a white or blue XyloBands LED wristband, while the performers wore red ones, connecting the fans AND the show with live controlled lighting effects in sync with the show, making the audience part of the show.

This technology and other new wireless remote controlled technologies provide significant impact at all types of special events.

Live controlled and wearable media are creating technology and fashion hybrids that are truly a new era. Radio-controlled lighting and remote devices, like flying miniature blimps or balls of light that glow and change colors on cue, are surprising people today. RFID and NFC ID chips have huge potential to transform events and shows in many ways, engaging fans with interactive content and providing producers with analytic data to see exactly how fans engaged with the event. What great immediate feedback for producers and clients alike!

EE: What is the best piece of advice you can offer planners on how best to work with designers of special effects?

Kevin: Be prepared to take calculated risks to get the greatest outcome. High risk, high reward is a formula that, put in professional hands, can create unforgettable results.

Kevin Bilida of TLC Creative / Xylo Bands USA has been an innovator in the world of high technology entertainment since 1974. Kevin loves the challenges inherent in critical work and has designed and technically directed thousands of live events and shows. He creates special effects for TV and Film, corporate events, concerts, and all types of events large and small. Live special effects, interactive light and laser entertainment and custom reveals are among the unique talents of his teams at TLC. For more information, please visit:;; and

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