Festivals, concerts, theatre – online

The festival market is booming. More and more people are attending festivals with an estimated 32m attending last year in the US alone. 145,000 attend Glastonbury, the UK’s largest festival, every day. And many of these festivals are attended, unsurprisingly, by young people i.e. millennials. So what’s next for the music industry?

SXSW, one of the World’s most famous festivals/conferences generated over 1m tweets last year, showing an increasing blend between the online and the offline, the internet and the physical. And of course, it’s not just music festivals. The RoundHouse streamed the Poetry Slam final live and a number of theatre groups are using platforms such as LiveStream to make their performances public.

The technology is there, the platforms are there. We no longer need expensive satellite trucks and broadcast facilities in order to make these performances available on the internet. More importantly, artists are beginning the appreciate the value that an active online presence creates for them. When did you hear about a singer or movie star who is ‘less wealthy’ because his/her video went viral on YouTube? But you certainly do hear about the singer who made it for the same reason. The UK’s National Theatre have been streaming shows for years and the Royal Shakespeare Society reportedly have a larger audience for one online show than see their shows in ‘real life’ in a whole year.

Now that high quality HD content can be made available online, we’ll see more and more artists asking for their shows to be made available to their fans, providing a value-add content to people who go out and buy their records anyway. Event organisers will see their online presence only strengthening their brand and ultimately, helping them sell more tickets. This isn’t a ‘what if’, this is what the evidence is showing us.

Present Communications ltd look forward to live streaming your event in the future.


The Living Wage Foundation

The Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that Present Communications ltd has today accredited as a Living Wage employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Present Communications ltd, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors; receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.40 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour set to be introduced this April.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Present Communications ltd feel it is not only important to value their hard working staff but also important to attract and retain the best quality staff to ensure the best experience for the customer.

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Katherine Chapman said: “We are delighted to welcome Present Communications ltd to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer. 

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
“We have accredited over 2,500 leading employers, including Present Communications ltd, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”


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!


Live Interpretation for Webcasting

The World is getting smaller, we are at the forefront of bringing people together using online technologies such as webcasting and video conferencing.  Technology is available for us to make events accessible to people wherever they might be at that specific time.  ‘Delegates’ (in the new sense of the word) are able to interact with each other on mobile devices or at their desks, even from an aeroplane (yes, we have done this).

There are a few obvious challenges to overcome.  The two big ones, time zones and languages.

The first is difficult to change, we can’t change time zones but we can be as flexible as possible with our event and we find ourselves now working on events at more peculiar times of the day.  If live interaction is not required, we can stagger the streaming in different countries.  Or perhaps two or three live events can be staggered throughout the day for the convenience of various audiences.

‘Languages’ are easier.  The stream, already going over the web can be interpreted live with questions and online interaction translated in real time.  This is becoming a relatively common way to stream and something that works really well for multi-lingual audiences.

In this photograph you see a remote location with real time video sent from the event location to an off-site venue which housed our interpreters who were them streamed live in the web.  It’s a big world, but it’s getting smaller.


Video Conferencing with Ultimate Flexibility – anytime – anyplace – PresentAnywhere

When our customers require the ultimate in flexibility and reliability, it becomes necessary to bring the entire offering in house. We’ve been offering video conferencing bridging and firewall traversal for some time through our trusted and (frankly) brilliant partners but the time has come for these services to be provided by our own team. This gives us the flexibility to change, amend and adapt on site as required and often at the last minute and I don’t need to explain to event professionals how important that is.


Event Management – how to deal with the stress…

Over the last few years, numerous surveys have been carried out which consistently show that being an Event Manager or Coordinator is one of the most stressful jobs around.  It has ranked around 5th in most surveys, only below jobs which would be expected such as military personnel, police officer, firefighter and airline pilot.

CareerCast in their survey claimed that the stress was due mainly to having to ‘reconciling a client’s vision with a successful end result’.  It added that ‘bringing together ideas and turning them into a functioning, large-scale event takes an unflappable professional’.  Some from outside the industry suggest that the constant entertainment, free parties, champagne and canapes can somewhat offset the stress but this is not fully understanding the breadth and scope of the Event Managers’ role leading some 83% of event managers to state that they believe stress to be a significant problem within the sector.

It could be said that the very skills which make an Event Manager great at their job are be the same skills which cause that stress.  Their attention to detail and passion for perfection could in fact be their most useful characteristics whilst also causing their biggest problems.

Kelly Baker, former president of ISES UK is aware of the pressure.  “The event industry is infamous for being inherently stressful, no matter what level of seniority you’re at.” she comments.  “Possibly the largest problem is that you can be immersed in one event with the next three coming over the horizon.  It demands that those working in events are permanently on the ball and flexible to ever changing demands”.

But there is plenty we can do to alleviate the stress caused by our jobs (although sometimes it feels like more than just a job). Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, says taking the time to prioritise your to-do list can make even the most stressful deadlines seem easier. “Look at your in-tray and say to yourself ‘What do I really have to do?’” he suggests. “For an event manager, this could mean asking yourself what comes first: dates, venues, speakers and so on. It’s important that you don’t try to handle this all at once – and don’t get diverted by other tasks.”  Seeing a doctor might also be useful with treatments such as hypnotherapy and meditation working well for those who believe in them.

The first step is to recognise that there is a problem; it’s important to know what the signs of stress are.  Each person feels the affect of stress differently but common symptoms are fatigue, lack of sleep, muscle tension and headaches, loss of interest in work and/or social life.  The ‘fix’ to some of these might seems simple but often it’s easier said than done.  That said, a simple change of diet, exercise and sleep can work wonders.  It’s also important to talk about these problems; start with your line manager.  They might be best placed to help identify where the Event Manager is feeling stressed when that perhaps does not need to be the case and also where work load might be able to be delegated.  Of course the key to feeling less stressed is to remember that we love this job, we do it because it’s our passion and we love the look on a client’s face when everything is perfect.

Start at the beginning… Change those things that are in your power to change and outsource the tasks that you don’t personally need to oversee.  A great place to start is your audio visual requirements and Present Communications want to help by taking just a little of your stress away.  If you are an event manager, please sign up to our newsletter on the right and we’ll make sure to send you a little gift as a thank you for reading our article.


AJA Ki Pro Rack

We’ve recently invested in the industry standard AJA Ki Pro, a unit that has proved to be of superb quality and reliability for us over the last year.

With a wealth of professional connections, Ki Pro Rack will fit right into your existing cabling and routing system and record 10-bit Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD files direct to removable hard disk or SSD Storage Modules, eliminating the need for time-consuming logging and capturing. The files can be used in most editing systems without the need for additional transcoding or importing processes.

  • HD/SD Solid State Video Recorder
  • Ability to switch between Apple ProRes 422 and Avid DNxHD
  • Built-in broadcast-quality Up/Down/Cross conversions
  • HD/SD SDI, HDMI, and HD/SD analog video I/O
  • Multi-channel AES, analog balanced XLR, and embedded audio I/O
  • Remote configuration and control via Ethernet LAN connection
  • Ethernet file transfer
  • Stand-alone operation and configuration, no need for external computer
  • RS-422 machine control, genlock, and LTC connections
  • Dual Media Drive Bays

Barco PDS-902 3G Scaler / Seamless Presentation Switcher

The PDS series is designed to meet today’s requirements for a high-quality, easy-to-use and fast seamless switcher with more digital inputs at an affordable price. Thanks to its straightforward setup and operation the PDS is a perfect fit for live events, boardrooms, hotel ballrooms, houses of worship, education and training facilities and fixed installations.

The  PDS-902 3G models feature four DVI-I inputs with full HDCP 1.0 support. It includes one 3G/HD/SD SDI and four universal analog inputs. All analog and DVI inputs support the EDID 1.3 specification. Users can capture and store up to three images that can be used as a LOGO source during the presentation. Built-in test patterns are also provided.

Program output

All models offer simultaneous program output via the DVI and analog connectors. The PDS-902 3G model includes an SDI output supporting SD/HD/3G rates and BarcoLink for easy connection to your Barco projectors. In addition, the PDS-902 3G offers a preview output that can be set at different resolution than the program output. Users have the option of displaying one of three signals on the preview output: program, preview or test pattern.

Processing

  • Fast source acquisition
  • Fast and seamless switching
  • Auxiliary control from Encore and ScreenPRO-II controllers
  • Up to three LOGO stores/recall capability
  • Low video delay
  • Software download via USB

Inputs

  • All resolutions from NTSC/PAL up to WUXGA including all HD resolutions
  • EDID support for analog and DVI sources
  • DVI, analog, SDI 3G/HD/SD and BarcoLink
  • HDCP 1.0 support for all DVI sources

Preview and program outputs

  • All progressive resolutions from 480p up to WUXGA/HD
  • DVI, analog, SDI 3G/HD/SD and BarcoLink
  • Full screen outputs and PIPs
  • Dual PIP mode
  • 9×2 Matrix mode
  • Zoom and Stretch fit modes
  • Supports HDCP compliant displays
  • Built-in test patterns
  • Independent resolutions for program and preview outputs

Mechanical

  • Auto ranging power supply
  • Slim 1 RU height
  • Width: 19” rack

Stage – full live event production

More and more, we are asked to provide full event production and so we’ve added staging to our hire stock so that our customers only have to go to one place to find all the equipment (and expertise) they need.

We’ve gone with Revostage from Panel Systems.  It’s quick, easy and light weight but once erected, it can safely hold 2 tonnes per square metre.   Made is Sheffield to exacting British Standard criteria, the decks come in various heights and sizes and can be used to build custom stages in many configurations.

This stage can be used for podiums, catwalks, rostrums, tiered seating areas, tiered staging areas, raised flooring, drum risers, exhibition stands and much more and comes with a grey carpet top and can be finished with a skirt or valance.


Preferred Supplier for Video Conferencing Live Events

For those who require the best service supported only by the best equipment for live events such as our Cisco C90 video conferencing codecs, there is one obvious technical support partner.
2016 has started well so far with events in the UK (obviously), Germany & France.  We love working with all our customers but signing up with new clients is always nice and encouraging to know that another company thinks we’re doing it right.

Morgan Stanley were the latest to sign us up as a preferred supplier and we are really looking forward to working with them on their upcoming events.  They use telepresence suites and other video endpoints throughout their business to communicate on a day to day basis and are looking to expand this capability more and more into their events, internal or otherwise and Present Communications are excited to have been chosen as the company to make that happen.