Event highlights

Empathy, Emotion and Technology with Purpose…For the Win!

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Brand Experience, Breakout Sessions, Design Thinking, Education, Engagement, Event highlights, Event Trends, Exhibits, Expo, Freeman Face to Face blog, Hot Technology, News, Photos, Scenic Design, Video walls

A Look at the 2019 Edition of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas

When people hear South By Southwest mentioned, they typically think of the music festival founded in 1987, however over its 30+ years, it has grown to encompass many more attractions than just the grass-roots music festival that it was once intended to be. Also known as “South By,” SXSW now includes an interactive media conference, a huge variety of education sessions and music, gaming and film festivals. Lasting for almost 3 weeks, South By sees nearly 80,000 people attend the various conferences and festivals, also bringing nearly $350 million dollars of economic impact to Austin, Texas.

Several members of our Freeman AV Canada team traveled down to Austin, Texas in March to see what South By had to offer, and here are some key things that stood out!

Focused on Improving the Attendee Experience

As conventions and festivals grow in size they often develop a detached feeling for the individual attendee, and rightfully so; how do you create an individual and personal experience for each person when dealing with 80,000+ attendees?

South By has employed several empathy tactics to help connect with attendees on a personal level. Creating spaces such as a Wellness Areas, focusing on attendee’s safety through the use of holding graphics in sessions and implementing live breakout room capacity monitoring via public boards and the conference app are all fantastic ways to show your attendees that you really are thinking about their experience.

The Future Understands You 

Several major technology players including LG and Sony were showcasing futuristic concepts that can actually understand what you are feeling. Whether it is small robots that greet you while reading your facial expressions to understand your needs, or a mini robot dog that can really tug on our need for companionship and do it strategically 😉, it’s all exciting to us! Then we got thinking, and these questions arose:

  • What will this mean for events of the future?
  • Will we have event signage that customizes messages based on your feelings and needs?
  • Will we have event experiences that change based on the collective heart rate of the audience?
  • Can you imagine the possibilities?

Let us know how you see this fitting into your event!

Something For Everyone 

South By can certainly say they have something for everyone, with nearly 300 sessions per day, variety is in no short supply. Fortunately, the conference app allows you to search by things like interests to help focus on what applies directly to you. Smart event planning also meant that most sessions in the same track resided in the same or adjacent venues. This allowed you to maximize your time especially when sessions are held in basically every venue in the city. Some of the key tracks that our team focused on where: Cities, Government & Politics, Coding & Development, Design, Experiential Storytelling, Food, Game Design & Development, Intelligent Future, Social & Global Impact, Tech Industry & Enterprise, Touring & Live Experience and VR/AR/MR.

Standing Out – Brands Creating Their Own Spaces

Major brands are always looking for that way to make them stand out from the crowd. Over the last several years the tool for this has been activations, and South By was no exception to this. From shipping container structures, to bars completely transformed into a brand experience space – these installations truly do provide a unique personalized experience that focus directly on the brands defining traits and characteristics.

Some highlights for our team were the Dell installation at a bar across the street from the Austin Convention Centre, featuring an outdoor main stage and an indoor Dell feature tour showcasing some of their key technologies.

LG also made a big splash at South By, but perhaps we won’t see the ripple from the splash for a few years as their activation was VERY future focused. Robots that know your feelings, roll-up LED displays, ice cream/frozen yogurt capsule machines and even capsule based home breweries; LG certainly took us for a quick ride in a time machine to the maybe not so distant future. We even noticed several brands create impactful, personal activations right in the convention space and we see this as a great opportunity for a lot of our corporate clients looking to get a personalized message across to their attendees in a more personalized manner than typical plenary setups can offer.

DELL Technologies Activation

LG Electronics Activation

The common threads of Empathy, Emotion, Personalized Experience and Technology with a Purpose were evident in all aspects of this show. What can you do to create a more personalized experience within your next event? Understanding who comes to your event and why they are there are key factors to help you tailor your event to meet your attendees needs and wants. Taking the time to plan out the details, brainstorm them with your colleagues and/or industry partners will help you focus on what’s important. Creating those personalized experiences provides better value and meaningful interactions from live events for your attendees. So we ask you, “are you helping connect people in meaningful ways?”

Brian Johnston
Freeman Audio Visual Canada
National Director, Creative Innovation

3 Factors to Consider When Thinking About Audio for Your Next Conference

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Audio, Breakout Sessions, Education, Engagement, Event highlights, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Power Point, Technicians, Video, Video Conferencing, Webcasts

There are many variables when it comes to organizing a successful conference, from selecting the right presenters to taking breaks at the right time for networking. When it comes to audio, one of the variables that deserves attention is sound reinforcement. The point of reinforcing or amplifying your presenter’s voice in a ballroom, or any room for that matter, is not just so that he/she can be heard from the front to the back of the room, but more importantly, that he/she is comfortably understood from the front to the back of the room.

In addition to sound reinforcement, sound quality is equally important. This is especially the case if you plan on recording your conference. This documented evidence of your event is likely to be used in the future for promotional videos, training or archived for private or public record.

So when thinking about the type of audio support needed for your event, we encourage you to consider the following three key factors:

  1. Your Purpose

The audio needs for a Town Hall, a sales rally and an awards gala with entertainment are all different. Fail to match the type of meeting with the appropriate audio solution and you could end up with understated audio or audio overkill. For example a meeting with the purpose of imparting new information or learning requires a focus on clarity of speech and equal coverage throughout the room (arguably this should always be the goal). Therefore, the audio system selected should complement the dominant frequency range of the human voice which is generally accepted to be around 300Hz – 3kHz. This is the spot where intelligibility and recognition like to get together and party.

  1. Your Equipment

Once you’ve understood the purpose of your meeting or event, list out your audio needs as this will dictate the equipment required. Use your agenda to visualize the day from your attendee’s and presenter’s points of view. A sound system comprises of four main elements that will work together to capture and amplify sound at your event. They include:

  1. Input devices –wired and or wireless microphones, discussion systems designed for multiple participants and playback devices.
  2. Processing devices –audio mixers and signal processors for adjusting the quality of sound through equalization, compression, feedback suppression, etc. Used skillfully audio processors can eliminate/minimize unwanted echoes, vocal pops, feedback, etc. and aim to control the audio being amplified.
  • Amplification devices – amplifiers to boost the input sound to the loud speakers. This boosting is required regardless of system configuration applied, hence the term ‘sound reinforcement’. Amplifier configurations can either run independent of loudspeakers or they can form part of the loudspeaker itself. In the latter form this is usually indicated by the term ‘powered speaker’.
  1. Output devices –loudspeakers and headphones, depending on how the audience intends to receive the sound.

Depending on the nature of your conference, you may need additional ancillary equipment for recording, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or streaming. This is uniquely beneficial when all attendees or presenters cannot be at the event at the designated place and time.

  1. Your Audio Partner

When the audio fails at event – people notice. And keeping in mind your purpose and equipment, having the right partner’s onsite can make or break the experience you are trying to create. An audio company that takes the time to understand what matters most to you and your brand, is creative in their approach, and has the experience to troubleshoot, are always worth more in the long run. Consulting with your sound/audiovisual company early on in the process will ensure that the event space you have selected is suitable for the type of audio-visual support your event will need. For example, low ceilings, pillars, rigging points, built-in counters, big windows, proximity to other meetings on the day, power distribution and other factors can dramatically affect the setup of your audio equipment, your budget and ultimately the intended experience of your presenters and attendees.  Ultimately your audio engineer’s efforts towards achieving great sound on your event are governed by the laws of physics, not magic, and takes years of training, experience on show sites, and continued learning to master these skills.

Focusing on your event purpose, understanding the equipment you need, and selecting the right audio partner, are three ways to guarantee exceptional sound at your event. And remember, a good sound engineer is ALWAYS listening.

For more information, contact the Freeman Audio Visual Canada team today.

Rene Barrow
Freeman Audio Visual Canada, Account Executive

Joining Freeman in 2009, René Barrow brings nearly 20 years’ experience of customer relationship management experience in the banking industry and 13 years’ experience as a technician in the performing arts. His extensive expertise and positive approach means that clients never have to worry about their audiovisual solutions when René is in charge.

Where Inspiration and Tech Meet: CSAE’s Tête-à-Tête 2017 Tradeshow & MPI’s Charity Auction & Dinner

By | Brand Experience, Event highlights, Freeman, MPI

New technology, proven marketing, and touching moments give event professionals something to talk about

Winter may be in full freeze, but things are already warming up in the Canadian brand experience category. The Tête-à-Tête Tradeshow sizzled Ottawa on February 2. It was a full day of groundbreaking tech, rewarding networking, and insightful information that set the tone and raised the bar for the rest of 2017.

Hosted by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), Tête-à-Tête brought together premier suppliers, association executives, government procurers, and meeting industry professionals. Here’s what had the 1500 delegates, sponsors, and attendees bussing.

Virtual reality is a reality

Without a doubt, the big splash at the event was the official release of the Freeman virtual reality offerings to Canada’s event industry. Attendees eagerly waited for their turn to immerse themselves in the in-booth VR experience. When applied to brand experiences, marketers can employ the technology to show how their product or service works in the home or workplace — as well as create remarkable experiences on a show floor. What’s more, it can be used for planning, allowing planners to explore how various design approaches look in a specific space or take simulated tours of a site.

Speaking of success

Beyond the engaging tech and bustling networking, Tête-à-Tête provided two keynote speakers who focused on inspiration, following dreams, and achieving goals — as well as the importance of persistence and self-efficiency. The first keynote was The Amazing Race Canada host and Olympic gold medalist Jon Monty, who talked about the importance of taking risks. At one point he said, “The more often we take those first steps toward the things in life that scare us, the easier it is,” adding later, “The only way you build confidence is you earn it through repetition.”

Afterward, disability rights activist Rick Hansen also inspired the audience. He explained that success breeds success and that focus was the main key to success. Showing a picture of himself in his wheelchair on top of the Great Wall of China, he further said, “There are no walls too big in life that can’t be climbed.”

The picture was taken after Hansen had toured around the world in his wheelchair, revealing that perhaps for marketers to climb their campaign walls they need to go on a journey of discovery first.

Social events for measured results

It certainly wasn’t all work and no play at this tradeshow. Canadian Destinations hosted Reveal Social at the Craft Beer House the night before Tête-à-Tête began, while PCMA Canada East Social held a reception at Daly’s in the Westin after the event.

The social climax for Tête-à-Tête would have to be the MPI Charity Dinner & Auction, held after the PCMA Canada East Social. More than 700 association executives, government procurers, meeting planners, third-party planners, and corporate planners met not only to network, but to also raise money for two charities, The Ottawa Network for Learning and Hopewell, an eating disorder support center, proving that social responsibility and brand experience go hand-in-hand.

The main stage of the Charity Dinner & Auction was adorned with three large screens, the middle one a circle with truss around it, all continually broadcasting useful content to the audience. The lighting of the mains stage corresponded to the brand color of the sponsor when he or she was speaking. Physical stencils (Gobo’s) were placed in many of the light sources to create a breathtaking starry field across the room.

Many professionals claim that Tête-à-Tête sets the pace for the year in terms of leads acquired for planners and feedback to perfect later events. Considering it’s a one-day event, it seems time well-spent and time well-invested for attendees early in a busy year of so many brand experiences.

Huge thanks to the following Freeman team members for making these shows such a success:
Jeff Coppola, Chris Ferris, , Sean Watson, Travis Sexton, James Thorpe, Adam Rochon, Mike Herrick, Robin Ackerley, Davis Elgear-Ascender, Danny Watters, Jeff Mills, Steven Laramee, Chris Johnston, Garret Brink , Calvin Daye, Michael Forceno , Janis Zarins and Stephen Nelson

Thank you to the Freeman sales and marketing team that represented Freeman at Tete-A-Tete: Danielle Lachapelle, Bryan Glube, Jamie Holland, Guido Guzzo, Jamie Donaldson, Brian Goyette, Rick Robert, Brian Johnston, David McSherry, Heidi Welker, Steve Bury, Philippe Dupont and Robert Pallen

Pillar Community Innovation Awards

By | Case Studies, Event highlights, Staging

*La version française suit le message anglais

The annual Pillar Community Innovation Awards bring together London, Ontario’s, nonprofit, business and government sectors to acknowledge their work together to build a better community. Hosted at the London Convention Centre for 800 attendees, the awards show requires a stage design that truly supports the acknowledgement of its finalists and award recipients. Freeman Audio Visual Canada utilized a three-quarter LED-illuminated spandex circle as the focal point of the stage—where winners would be announced—with 120 feet of grey drape as a contrasting backdrop. The front stage was raised so attendees could have a clear view of the ceremony. Those seated near the back could view magnified images of the stage presentations on 9’ x 16’ screens hung on either side of the stage. Additional LEDs and custom gobos infused bold lighting and colour accents into the environment for a polished look.

“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Freeman over the past several years as our audio visual service provider,” said a representative from the Pillar Nonprofit Network. “Each year, they find unique and creative ways to work within our remaining budget.”

Pillar Community Innovation Awards

L’événement annuel Pillar Community Innovation Awards réunit les organismes caritatifs, les entreprises privées et les services gouvernementaux de London, Ontario, afin de reconnaître leurs efforts conjugués pour améliorer leur collectivité. Pour ce gala de remise de prix qui se tenait au London Convention Centre et accueillait 800 personnes, il fallait que la conception de la scène renforce véritablement la reconnaissance exprimée envers les finalistes et lauréats. Freeman audiovisuel Canada a utilisé comme élément central de la scène — là où l’on annonçait le nom des gagnants — un cercle de tissu en élasthanne illuminé par des DEL et 36 m de rideaux gris comme fond contrastant. Les personnes assises à l’arrière pouvaient voir des images magnifiées des présentations sur des écrans de 3 m sur 5 m suspendus des deux côtés de la scène. D’autres DEL et des pare-lumières faits sur mesure ajoutaient de vifs accents de lumière et de couleur à la salle et lui donnaient une allure raffinée.

« Nous avons le plaisir de travailler avec Freeman comme fournisseur audiovisuel depuis plusieurs années », a rappelé un représentant du réseau Pillar Nonprofit Network. « Chaque année, ils trouvent des moyens créatifs uniques de s’organiser avec ce qui nous reste de budget. »

Freeman Audio Visual gets EPIC in Ottawa with Jeff Hurt!

By | Audience Engagement, Creative Services, Education, Event highlights, Projection Mapping
*La version française suit le message anglais

With the goal of transforming and extending the world of live engagements, Freeman Audio Visual Ottawa partnered with leading meetings industry authority Jeff Hurt to host a half-day learning workshop at the Ottawa Marriott for 60 of Freeman’s top clients. The overarching theme of the event was EPIC, an acronym which represented Hurt’s four event success principles: Experiential; Participatory; Image-driven; and Connexity.

With Hurt’s PowerPoint presentation as a guide, our Creative Services team produced an image-driven environment designed to encourage information retention among audience members. Similar to the scheme of the Periodic Table of Elements, each letter in the word EPIC was given its own colour and two-letter symbol. While two traditional widescreens hanging at the front of the stage displayed the bulk of Hurt’s PowerPoint presentation, three centre LED columns and bordering projection-mapped 3D cubes accentuated each of the four EPIC event success principles with their periodic table representations as Hurt discussed them.

“The EPIC meeting was educational and brought new energy to the thought process,” noted an audience member in a thank-you letter to the Ottawa branch. Click here for a Storified recap of #freemanepic in Ottawa!


C’était EPIC pour Freeman audiovisuel à Ottawa avec Jeff Hurt !

Fidèle à son objectif de transformer et de faire grandir le monde de la participation en direct, Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa s’est joint à Jeff Hurt , une sommité dans l’industrie des congrès, pour tenir un atelier d’une demi-journée au Ottawa Marriott pour 60 clients importants de Freeman. Le thème central de l’événement était l’acronyme « EPIC », qui résume les quatre caractéristiques à la base du succès d’un événement selon M. Hurt : Expérientialité, Participation, Imagerie, Connexité.

En suivant la logique de la présentation de Jeff Hurt, nos services créatifs ont produit un environnement axé sur l’imagerie, conçu pour favoriser la rétention d’information chez les participants. Imitant le schéma du tableau périodique des éléments, chaque concept formant le mot EPIC était associé à une couleur et un symbole à deux lettres. Pendant que Jeff Hurt parlait et que deux grands écrans suspendus à l’avant de la scène affichaient la majeure partie de sa présentation, trois colonnes centrales à DEL et des cubes tridimensionnels de mapping vidéo situés aux extrémités accentuaient chacune des quatre caractéristiques EPIC faisant le succès d’un événement et leur représentation en tableau périodique.

« L’atelier EPIC était éducatif et a apporté une nouvelle énergie à notre réflexion », a noté l’un des participants dans sa lettre de remerciement à la succursale d’Ottawa. Cliquez pour un aperçu de l’atelier EPIC d’Ottawa sur les réseaux sociaux.

A Colossal Communications Solution for Canada’s Largest Union: CUPE Biennial National Convention

By | Event highlights, General Session, Projection, Simultaneous Interpretation, Wide screen projection

*La version française suit le message anglais

With over 635,000 members across the country working in health care, education, social services, transportation, airlines and more, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada’s largest union. To facilitate the communication needs of 2,700 delegates, staff and guests at its Biennial National Convention, Freeman Audio Visual Canada provided a large-scale audio visual solution with interpretation services to support both official languages inside the Vancouver Convention Center.

The sheer scale of the plenary room support made the CUPE convention especially buzz worthy. The central screen in the main convention hall spanned 100’ wide by 25’ and was flanked by two 15’ by 24’ displays. Four more screens were dispersed throughout the hall for optimal viewing for delegates seated near the back of the room. Twenty-two projectors provided screen content designed by our Creative Services team, I-MAG and additional presentations. In addition to an extensive audio configuration, 2200 simultaneous interpretation receivers were distributed so that delegates could tune into presenters in their language of choice, English or French.

“The Freeman team worked really well together. They made my job easy,” noted the plenary producer.

Regroupant plus de 635 000 membres actifs dans les domaines de la santé, l’éducation, les services sociaux, le transport terrestre et aérien et plus encore, le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique est le plus grand syndicat au Canada. Pour satisfaire les besoins en communication des 2 700 délégués, membres du personnel et invités à ce congrès national biennal, Freeman audiovisuel Canada a proposé une solution de grande envergure avec des services d’interprétation simultanée dans les deux langues officielles au Vancouver Convention Centre.

À lui seul, l’imposant déploiement du soutien audiovisuel pour la plénière justifie de s’extasier sur le congrès du SCFP. L’écran central dans la grande salle de congrès mesurait 100 pi de largeur sur 25 pi en hauteur. Il était entouré de deux écrans de 15 pi sur 24 pi. Quatre autres écrans étaient installés dans la salle pour offrir une vision optimale aux délégués assis à l’arrière. Vingt-deux projecteurs remplissaient les écrans de contenus conçus par notre équipe des Services créatifs, d’images magnifiées et de présentations additionnelles. Outre une configuration audio très élaborée, 2 200 récepteurs ont été distribués aux délégués pour leur donner accès à l’interprétation simultanée des présentations dans la langue de leur choix, français ou anglais.

« Les gens de Freeman ont vraiment bien travaillé en équipe et m’ont facilité la tâche », a souligné le producteur de la plénière.

Event Staging for Canadian Psychiatric Association 65th Annual Conference

By | Event highlights, Projection, Staging

*La version française suit le message anglais.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association’s Annual (CPA) Conference is the largest psychiatric continuing professional development program in Canada. Each year, more than 1,200 psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals attend the conference to keep up-to-date on the latest research, exchange ideas, and network with colleagues from across the country. All-delegate keynote plenaries, including very highly regarded guest speakers well versed in their areas of expertise, were a new initiative at this year’s event. In addition to providing the technology support for the event, Freeman Audio Visual Canada was inspired to find that certain something special to create a more memorable experience. To do this, our Freeman team designed a custom look using three screens and “Watchout” to animate moving images and create panoramic vistas across the screens. To further enhance the room look and feel, the live screens were treated with scenic elements called “Hoop Dreams,” to draw the attention and focus of the delegates and create a center piece. Coupled with moving lights and colour-rotating LEDs, the effect was dynamic yet subtle, very suitable for all delegates.

“As our preferred AV supplier, Freeman always delivers top-notch service and equipment…but this year was exceptional,” said a CPA representative. “This set truly provided the wow factor CPA was looking for that helped unveil this initiative and bring our conference to the next level. Special thanks to Brian Goyette, Chris Ferris and Sean Watson.”


Mise en scène d’événements:

65e Congrès annuel de l’Association des psychiatres du Canada

Le congrès annuel de l’Association des psychiatres du Canada est le plus important programme de formation professionnelle continue pour les psychiatres au Canada. Chaque année, plus de 1 200 psychiatres et autres professionnels de la santé mentale assistent au congrès pour se tenir au courant des dernières recherches, échanger des idées et établir des contacts avec des collègues de partout au pays. Cette édition s’est révélée la plus importante à ce jour et a introduit une nouveauté : des assemblées plénières menées par des délégués mettant en vedette des conférenciers possédant une vaste expertise dans leurs domaines respectifs. En plus d’assurer le soutien technologique de l’événement, Freeman audiovisuel Canada a trouvé l’inspiration nécessaire pour donner un petit « je ne sais quoi » au décor afin de créer une expérience mémorable. Pour se faire, l’équipe Freeman a imaginé un style unique en utilisant trois écrans en plus de « Watchout » pour animer les images et produire une vue panoramique incorporant tous les écrans. Afin de mettre davantage la pièce en valeur, les écrans en direct ont été agrémentés d’éléments de décor appelés Hoop Dreams (anneaux de rêve), attirant l’attention des participants et constituant la pièce maitresse. En combinaison avec les projecteurs mobiles et les DEL de couleur rotatifs, leur effet était dynamique tout en restant subtil, ce qui était très approprié pour le groupe de participants présent.

« En tant que fournisseur privilégié, Freeman répond toujours aux attentes avec un service et des équipements hors pair… mais cette fois-ci, ce fut exceptionnel, » a déclaré un représentant de l’APC. « Ce décor a vraiment fourni l’élément sensationnel que l’APC recherchait et a contribué au dévoilement de cette initiative en élevant notre congrès d’un cran. Nous tenons notamment à remercier Brian Goyette, Chris Ferris and Sean Watson. »

Event Staging at China-West Filmmakers Alliance Awards Gala

By | Event highlights

*La version française suit le message anglais.

The China-West Filmmakers Alliance (CWFA) is a not-for-profit member organization supported by filmmakers from the Chinese and international communities. Its mandate is to promote collaboration in film among China and the western countries. This year, CWFA co-presented its inaugural awards gala in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Freeman Audio Visual Canada worked with the organizations to provide a complete audio, visual and lighting package customized to coincide with their shoestring budget. We also supplied the velvety red carpet, a film awards gala must! With this being the first awards gala produced by the partner organizations, there were several impromptu schedule changes during the live production. Freeman accommodated these last-minute requests with ease, while the show proceeded without interruption.


Mise en scène d’événements :

Gala et remise de prix de la China-West Filmmakers Alliance

La China-West Filmmakers Alliance est un organisme à but non lucratif réunissant des cinéastes chinois et de diverses origines. Son mandat consiste à faire la promotion de la collaboration cinématographique entre la Chine et les pays occidentaux. Cette année, la CWFA a présenté son gala inaugural de remise de prix en partenariat avec le Festival international du film de Toronto (TIFF). Freeman audiovisuel Canada a travaillé avec les deux organismes pour fournir des services audiovisuels et d’éclairage complets, conçus sur mesure pour leur mini-budget. Nous avons aussi fourni le tapis rouge, un élément essentiel à un gala de cinéma ! Comme il s’agissait du tout premier gala de remise de prix produit par les deux partenaires, il a fallu improviser et modifier le programme plusieurs fois au fil de la soirée. Freeman a aisément pu répondre à toutes ces demandes de dernière minute et le spectacle s’est déroulé sans interruption.

'The Tech Side of New York Comic Con' with Projection, Lights and Staging News

By | Audio, Event highlights, Freeman, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Hot Technology, Interesting Articles, Lighting, Projection, Video

comiccon ny

Kyle Gaul, technical director for New York Comic Con and director of technology for Freeman Audio Visual south of the border, shares a behind-the-scenes look at the logistics, audio, video, cable, lighting  and crew that work together to assemble and execute New York Comic Con, the largest comic convention in North America.

Read the article in Projection, Lights and Staging News.



The Leacock Foundation’s 16th Annual Great Fundraising Debate

By | Event highlights, Scenic Design, Staging

*La version française suit le message anglais.

Founded by Peter Oliver, a partner of Oliver & Bonacini Events, The Leacock Foundation works to inspire and empower youth in need through literacy and leadership opportunities. The Carlu Event Theatre, a historic event space described as one of Toronto’s best examples of Art Moderne architecture, played host to the 16th Annual Leacock Debate, a witty and humourous fundraising gala moderated by American journalist, humorist and novelist Calvin Trillin. Four-hundred guests watched as Globe & Mail columnist Tabatha Southey and Conrad Black debated lawyer William McDowell and former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie on this topic: “Be it resolved that the cream always rises to the top.”

Oliver’s vision for the event was an intimate, refined stage setting that enhanced the elegance of the venue and had the look and feel of a contemporary-home living room. As The Carlu is a classic art-deco designed space, Freeman Audio Visual Canada deliberately selected the set’s colour tones, accent lighting and artwork décor to complement the original scheme of the room. Little touches, like art deco window glass designs and custom art deco lectern inserts, were also designed to emulate details found in the event space.

The set was designed to sit on the stage at a 30-degree angle with an elevated back-entrance “hallway” for grand walk-ons. Freeman covered the stage entirely with broad-loomed carpet for a luxurious, homey feel. The original wooden and aluminum front stage grating was concealed by Freeman with a custom-designed wooden frame panel covered in black fabric. This black base gave the illusion that the entire set was floating from the audience’s standpoint, which helped to immerse them further in the scene.

A sponsor loop and video playback content were displayed on a flown 9’x16’ projection screen and two 50” monitors built into the side walls. All three display surfaces were surrounded with custom-molded silver picture frames to match the elegant set. Finishing touches, like borrowing a 1940’s antique wooden radio from an employee’s family member, were noticed by the client and staff of the venue.

“Working with Freeman was a pleasure. They listened closely to what we wanted to achieve and executed our vision accurately,” said Oliver. “Creating the right atmosphere for the evening contributed greatly to our overall fundraising goals. They are real pros.”


Le 16e Grand Débat annuel de financement de la Leacock Foundation

Créée par Peter Oliver, un associé d’Oliver & Bonacini Events, la Leacock Foundation vise à inspirer les jeunes et à les rendre autonomes par la littératie et des occasions de montrer leur leadership. C’est au Carlu Event Theatre, une salle patrimoniale considérée comme l’un des plus beaux exemples d’architecture Art moderne à Toronto, que s’est tenu le 16e débat annuel de la fondation. Ce gala spirituel et humoristique était animé par Calvin Trillin, un journaliste, humoriste et écrivain américain. Quelque 400 invités ont assisté au débat de la chroniqueuse Tabatha Southey du Globe & Mail et Conrad Black avec l’avocat William McDowell et l’ancien juge de la Cour Suprême Ian Binnie, sur le thème « il est résolu que la crème monte toujours sur le dessus ».

M. Oliver avait imaginé pour cet événement une ambiance intime dans un décor raffiné qui faisait écho à l’élégance de l’endroit tout en ayant l’allure d’un salon dans une résidence contemporaine. Le Carlu Event Theatre étant une salle art déco des plus classiques, Freeman audiovisuel Canada a consciemment choisi des couleurs, un éclairage d’accentuation et un décor qui s’harmonisait à cet environnement original. De petites touches comme des vitraux art déco et des éléments art déco faits sur mesure pour les lutrins rappelaient les détails décoratifs de la salle.

Le décor a été planté sur la scène à un angle de 30 degrés avec une entrée surélevée à l’arrière créant un « corridor » donnant beaucoup d’effet à l’arrivée des débatteurs. Freeman a couvert toute la scène d’une luxueuse moquette pour renforcer l’impression de confort chaleureux. La grille d’origine en bois et en aluminium à l’avant de la scène a été dissimulée avec un panneau à cadre de bois recouvert d’un tissu noir. Du point de vue de l’assistance, cette base noire créait l’illusion que tout le décor flottait, ce qui favorisait encore plus l’immersion dans le débat.

Du contenu vidéo et du matériel promotionnel du commanditaire étaient diffusés sur un écran de projection de 9 pi sur 16 pi surmontant la scène ainsi que sur deux moniteurs de 50 po insérés sur les côtés. Des cadres en argent faits sur mesure entouraient ces trois écrans pour les intégrer de manière élégante au style de l’endroit. D’autres petites touches finales, comme la présence d’un antique meuble radio en bois emprunté à la famille d’un employé, ont été appréciées par le client et le personnel de l’établissement.

« Ç’a été un plaisir de travailler avec Freeman. Ils ont bien compris ce que nous voulions faire et ils ont parfaitement exécuté notre vision », mentionne M. Oliver. « Le fait de créer la bonne atmosphère pour la soirée a grandement contribué à ce que nous atteignions nos objectifs de financement. Ce sont de véritables professionnels. »