We made a mistake…

Cisco Meraki

Since the lockdowns began around March 2020, our businesses have changed. Live events has been mostly non-existent. In order for businesses in our industry to survive, we’ve had to adapt, try new things and learn new skills. Not only that, but budgets are different (smaller).

I’m very pleased with the way that we’ve adapted in the last year. We’ve been able to offer our clients excellent quality live streaming and virtual events at the right price. I’m also happy to say we’re dong it the right way, with highly skilled staff, on some of the best and most reliable equipment currently in the industry.

But it’s been a journey to get here. A few months ago, we were asked to do something new. We were asked to record 20 people in HD from a Zoom meeting. We thought we could do it. In the ‘old world’ it would have been easy. We would have been on site, brought in 20 video feeds from anywhere around the world and rented in a rack of video recorders. The quality would have been excellent and the budget doubled. This time around, we wanted to do it from our studio and we wanted to keep it cheap and keep the client. We did some testing, all appeared to work. We looked over our test recordings, they seemed ok. We confirmed with the client and won the job to work on one of their most high profile projects that year.

We started the job, pressed all the buttons, everything looked good and the ‘event’ took place. After the event, we confirmed we had files, nothing had crashed and we would send everything to the client. Everyone left (virtually) feeling happy.

It was only went we went back over the recordings that we found the quality was poor, to say the least. Very poor. They were certainly not something I was happy delivering to the client. We worked through the night to fix the issues in post (video joke) and by the morning, we were able to deliver something. I say ‘something’ because it still wasn’t good enough, but it was something.

Now there were only a few things left for us to do.

  1. Apologise to the client profusely. Obviously we didn’t send a bill despite the fact we know the end client did pay for the eventual product. From my point of view though, as a business owner, I was not happy AT ALL with the work we had done and was not prepared to let the client pay for that quality of work.
  2. Research, read and learn everything we can about how we had made a mistake.

Now we’re in a unique position that we’ve made the mistake and we’ve learnt from it. And so what’s the outcome / silver lining? We know how technically challenging it is to deliver something like this. We made the mistake and we’ve learnt a lot. As a result, we rebuilt our entire network (more money than we’ve ever spent before one a single item) and changed our workflow for this kind of project. Now we know exactly how to deliver this project, should we ever get asked again! And next time, we’ll get it perfect. Even better than that, as a result of the new things we’ve learned and the improved infrastructure, our workflows for all kinds of projects have changed and improved. Everything we do is now to a far higher standard.

Webcasting from the Museum of London

The Museum of London asked for our help to live stream educational content to over 600 students in 25 schools.  We used YouTube as a platform, given that this was a public event and we needed it to be openly accessible to as many people as possible.

We provided cameras, audio, encoders and crew and the whole thing went off without a hitch.

YouTube is a great platform for this kind of educational event.  It allows a mass audience to watch high quality video in real time.  It lacks some functionality that other corporate platforms might be able to offer but of course, it is free.

We look forward to working again with the Museum of London in the future and in particular we look forward to rolling out more events like this one.

The power of touch…

For those of you who read our posts (and tweets etc), you’ll know that we’re all about engagement and interactivity.  That’s why we provide video links, internet connectivity and it’s why we stream events around the globe.  But our background is in the conference room providing support for meetings and seminars and that’s why we’ve now introduced into our rental stock a couple of Phillips 10 point multi touch surfaces, the Phillips 43″ 43BDL4051T.

Go to the Phillips website here…

A brand new level of interactivity is now available thanks to integrated touch technology. More flexibility and optimum simultaneous touch performance coupled with excellent operability opportunities give you the ultimate in user interaction. Multi-Touch displays are equipped with automatic touch recognition. The USB connector is HID-compliant, providing true plug-and-play operation.

 

 

Museums, Historic and Unique Venues

Over the years, Present Communications have provided exceptional technical support to some amazing events in wonderful locations. And our impeccable attention to detail and the care we put into our work has lead us to being asked to provide audio visual equipment, services and live event support to some beautiful venues. In fact, we were the first supplier ever to provide technical support to the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre after it was refurbished almost 10 years ago. Since then, we’ve been in-house at places like Lambeth Palace and Southwark Cathedral.

Most recently, you may have seen adverts in the newspaper, on the news or on the tube for the new Postal Museum which we are very proud to be supporting. We have worked for years with the staff now at that venue and so we were the obvious choice for a potentially demanding venue (in that it is open to the public during the day).

We are very proud of the fantastic work we do in these venues and we are now calling on other unique and historic venues who might be looking for a new supplier to get in touch.

Allen & Heath Qu-16 – fully featured mixing console

We’ve recently invested in a number of 16 channel digital consoles which provide ultimate flexibility at the right price point.  These have been added to our rental stock, based in London and are proving very popular.  They are great little desks, easy to use and work well with our smaller sound systems.

 

FEATURE SUMMARY

  • 19” Rack Mountable
  • 16 Mono Mic/Line Inputs (TRS + XLR)
  • Recallable AnaLOGIQTM Preamps
  • 3 Stereo Inputs (TRS)
  • 12 Mix Outputs (XLR)
  • 7 Monitor Mixes (4 mono + 3 stereo)
  • 4 FX Engines
  • 2 dedicated FX Sends / Returns
  • 4 Mute Groups
  • 4 DCA Groups
  • AES Digital Out
  • 24×22 USB Audio Interface
  • dSNAKETM Remote Audio Port
  • 17 Motor Faders
  • 800×480 Touchscreen
  • 4 Soft Keys

QU-16 FEATURES

  • Trim, polarity, HPF, gate, insert, 4-band PEQ, compressor, delay on all Inputs
  • Insert, 4-band PEQ, 1/3 octave GEQ, compressor, delay on all Outputs
  • Automatic Mic Mixer
  • Channel Ducker on all Inputs
  • ProFactory Mic Presets
  • iLive FX Library
  • Built-in Signal Generator
  • RTA with Peak Band indication
  • Spectrogram to aid feedback elimination and room acoustics
  • Qu-Drive Direct Multitrack Recording / Playback on USB drives
  • DAW MIDI Control
  • Qu-Pad iPad App
  • Qu-You iPhone / Android personal monitoring app
  • Qu-Control customisable iOS app for simple wireless control
  • Compatible with ME Personal Mixing System
  • High contrast metallic finish controls, matching premium GLD Chrome series

 

Qu-16

New Venue – The Postal Museum

We are very excited and pleased to announce that we have been awarded preferred supplier status at London’s newest venue – The Postal Museum in Farringdon.

It is a light, bright and contemporary space that benefits from a private sunny courtyard and innovative living wall and is available to hire for up to 140 people, the space is perfect for cocktail receptions, summer parties and laid back BBQs.

Also available is the Mail Rail, the Royal Mail’s very own underground tube line, available for private dinners & parties, corporate events, fashion shows and filming/photography opportunities.  It is a captivating blank canvas space, set in a historical building with countless inspiring architectural features, including vaulted brick arches and railway influences and the option to actually ‘ride’ the Mail Ride during the event.

The spaces will be used as a fully working museum during the day and available for hire outside of these times.

Present Communications ltd values long term relationships with clients and venues and we often say that our best work takes place in familiar spaces.  We can’t wait to show you all that is possible with the two new spaces and working at this venue for many years to come.

Adding Value – The Importance of a Good Accountant

Present Communications ltd has been trading for around a decade now and we’re doing just fine and we’re having fun.  But in the last few years, we’ve really gone from strength to strength and it’s due to a smoother back office.  That’s it.  We take pride in our work, our technicians understand the importance of customer service, appearance and going that extra mile but in the past, that wasn’t always something that translated to our ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations.

We made a real push to streamline, organise and always be prepared for the next thing; the next push.  One of the steps we took was to appoint a new accountant  We needed someone who would get involved, help us out when we needed it and give us advice geared towards a small, customer focused business like ours.  We went with Amity Accountants who came highly recommended.

It’s probably quite unorthodox to write about your accountant on the business website but fair is fair.  They have played a pivotal role in transforming our business and helping us to understand how exactly we were really doing as a business, how we are doing every day in fact, and where we could find opportunities to do better.

So here is to our accountant, Philip and his team at Amity.  Thank guys!

Lambeth Palace – A birthday bash…

We recently spent the day with our friends at Lambeth Palace and Foodshow to throw a birthday bash for a large multi-national company.  1,000 staff were invited to enjoy the spectacular views and surroundings at Lambeth Palace which is the 3rd largest private garden in London,.  Their evening continued with culinary delights and fairground attractions before a short awards ceremony and a party into the evening.

Present Communications ltd provided audio, lighting and power equipment and technical support for the duration as well as a branded balloon archway and balloon drop to give that final touch.

“We have been a preferred supplier at Lambeth Palace for the last few years and enjoy making event technology work for clients who inevitably have high expectation given that they’ve chosen such an exceptional venue.  Foodshow make sure the food and service received is up to the same exquisite standard and we love seeing clients’ faces as they delve into their dinner”

CatchBox – Throwable Microphone – Audience Interaction and Engagement

We’ve always been big fans of audience interaction. Our audiences can often be online as well as in the room but today we want to focus on the room.

Event organisers, facilitators, and audience members want interaction. Often the best content is from the people watching the presentations. The CatchBox is a fun way to encourage conversation, break the ice, get people talking by throwing the CatchBox microphone and breaking the ice…

Present Communications are proud to be a partner with CatchBox. We are a hire stockist and a reseller and can therefore provide the best option for you and your event. We are even able to hire you the microphone but with your own branded casing, making it perfect for high profile events especially where there might be photographers or videographers.

Check out the website to see the options and the prices – http://eu.getcatchbox.com/

New Hire / Rental Stock – Nexo PA system

It’s always nice to get something nice and shiny in the warehouse and even better when we can get it out to clients and help make your events even better.

We’ve recently introduced a new speaker into the hire stock, it’s the Nexo PS8.  Nexo speakers are known within the industry for superb quality, they’re small, light weight and ‘punchy’.

We can’t wait for you to hear them!