This week we’re wrapping up our 2-part series focused on How to Understand and Minimize the Cost of AV for Events. Bring your questions for our panelists! We’re being joined by the ICONIC Damian Oracki (Founder of ShowSlice), Tommy Melancon (Owner/CEO EventCollab & Level 2 Design), and Megan Powers (Marketing Communications Consultant with Powers of Marketing). What a lineup! Topics for today’s episode will include Why the Cost of AV is Often So High, How Can Planners Save Money on AV, and What Are Some Hidden AV Costs to be Aware of. Our guests will be addressing these questions and more as they share their years of experience and expertise. We’re unveiling the mysteries of the Cost of AV!

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Transcription of this episode:

Will: Aw yeah. We are here today. I am back, it is Will Curran. Unfortunately Laura is hanging out in the background today helping answer questions, I’m sure we’re going to get her back on the show soon. But today I am getting to talk about one of my favorite topics. We are doing part two, part two. That’s right, there was a part one of this, of how to save a crap-ton of money on your AV. This was such a big topic and something I’m so passionate about that we had to turn it into a two parter. And thank the Lord we did, because we had so many questions last week, we have a lot more questions to answer and talk about.

We wanted to give you something a little bit special, so we brought in a whole new panel for you guys, so you can get a completely new perspective from some of the best icons in the events industry. I’m so excited to have these guys on the show because they are absolutely amazing. These guys, I just gotta jump right in and we just gotta talk about this because we need as much time as possible to talk about how to save money on your AV, so let’s just jump right on in.

Let’s start off with Mr. Tommy. Tommy is in the house, Tommy and I met in IMEX, and he is the founder of Event Collab, if you haven’t heard of Event Collab, it is an amazing software that you should be using to plan all of your events. Imagine that project management software you are using designed just for events. Really really cool, allows you to manage your budgets and your tasks, it’s super duper cool, but we’re not here to talk about Event Collab just alone today. But, we’re actually here to talk about his former history, technically current still history as an AV designer, and as part of Level 2 Design and has gotten to do some amazing events. He literally was telling me about an event they were doing where they had to do all this crazy stuff with creating content on the fly, and they had to do a bunch of AR, augmented reality stuff, and I was just like, we have to get you on the show talk about this. And I know Tommy and I had a very passionate conversation about how in-house companies need to let the little guys in and not be hurting people with fees, so we knew we had to have him on the show. So, everybody, please welcome Tommy to the show.

Tommy: Hey, hey.

Damian: Hey Tommy.

Tommy: Thanks Will.

Will: All right, and then, you’re very welcome. I’m glad to have you on the show. And also, in the house, Megan Powers. Megan actually works with Event Collab, taking care of all their awesome marketing stuff. She is fantastic. Also met at IMEX, and we had her actually on the IMEX episode, so you got to go check out episode, I got to memorize the episode, 36 or whatever it was, and we had Megan on the show and it was so awesome to have you. And we had an amazing conversation as well, back in the day at IMEX. You used to be an account exec, correct, for an AV company as well?

Megan: So yeah, I used to sell AV production. I started out in venue, and then I sold everything from centerpiece to a widescreen high-def show, and went on from there and now, yeah, I’m helping to market event technology, which marketing is my passion.

Will: I love it. Very cool. We had that very passionate conversation again about AV, and you were on the episode last week too, and you were in the comments section and we were like, “Oh my gosh, we have to get Megan onboard because she knows all about this.” And you know I’m always really passionate about people who used to be in AV and now do something different, because they can take that AV perspective that they have and kind of apply it to something new as well, so we’re just honored to have you, Miss Megan, in the house.

Megan: Thanks.

Will: Awesome. And last but not least is Damian. Damian and I also met at IMEX, we all met at IMEX, so it was a really really good time-

Damian: It was love at first sight Will.

Will: Love at first sight indeed. And you were competing in the event startup app competition, tech competition at IMEX alongside Event Collab, and you guys, learning about what you are doing I got so jazzed and so excited. You created basically a system for people to, and we’ll probably talk about it in a little bit, but how to save money by sharing resources amongst events, and really brilliant concept. I’ve stressed with clients for a long time to do this sort of stuff, and you’re basically creating a system for clients to do this very turnkey and very easily. I knew I had to have you. You also, your past roots are very similar to mine, used to be DJ turned production guy turned-

Damian: I wasn’t DJ, you just get confused because my name is Damian John, DJ.

Will: Oh that’s right. Everyone says, I keep thinking you’re a DJ, because then you have the badass headphones, we were talking about and everything too.

Damian: I’m into sound, but I’m probably the most less-tech savvy out of us all. I come from lugging. I come from the bottom end of the event industry and then sort of worked my way to where I am now, but I’ll tell you about that in a bit.

Will: Yeah, we’ll talk about that in just a sec. So we’ll wait, we’re going to tease everybody on that one, but I was, yeah, because your Twitter username is DJ, and I always thing you’re a DJ. And you also have that like DJ swagger with it too so.

Damian: Yeah, thank you.

Will: Awesome. Well, these guys, everyone please welcome Damian to the show, please, amazing to have you on the show. Need like the clapping sound effect.

All right, so obviously very excited for this topic so I want to try to dive right in as fast as possible into this, so we want to learn a little bit about your background though for everyone that’s here so they can understand you. What got you in the events industry? What got you into AV and understanding AV? Or what got you out of AV eventually for us?

So why don’t we kick it off, Damian if you want to start off by explaining a little bit about what your background is yeah, and how you came from sound guy to running what you do now?

Damian: Well I wasn’t really a sound guy. Before I came to London, I’m from South Africa, someone said that a mate of mine was earning 17 pounds an hour building stages and helping with AV, so you know, I started work at the bottom end working for the largest crewing company in Europe. I mean I’m talking about unloading trucks, decks, setting up sound, lights, building marquees for weeks on end back to back at one location, you know, setting up festivals. I’ve basically been anything you could think of in the event industry, and yeah, then started working in the office. Running crew, managing crew, then got into health and safety, venue management, and then off to the Olympics. That was my biggest health and safety job. I started my own crewing company. So in essence we would be selling to AV companies, those were our customers, production companies and AV companies were our customers.

I was also getting into a bit of online technology and someone told me, “If you want to get into online tech, solve a problem in your industry.” And the biggest issue I had, particularly working for a crewing company, being part of it, I mean we would spend two days setting up this one massive event, unloading the trucks, setting up a gig, and then only to have a three hour event and spend the whole evening breaking it down. The next morning load the trucks, 7 o’clock, few hours and then stay at that venue for the next, wait there for two more hours, and then work for a totally new production company to start a totally new event to do almost exactly the same thing.

And there was this lack of communication between event owners, event organizers that I couldn’t quite understand. I would see it so many times happen and then we’d actually, I actually would have clients, production companies bringing their clients together back to back and saving money. So I thought, well it happens with event owners that had a large amount of events, but it doesn’t happen between separate event organizers. And that’s when I started working on Showslice, which basically breaks down the barrier of communication so that event organizers can share some of the infrastructure costs back to back, whether it be a marquee on a beach in Thailand, or just the stage set and AV setup, which as you know can take quite a bit of time to set up.

Will: Absolutely, absolutely.

Damian: Where I am today.

Will: I think we’re going to definitely have to come back to that for sure, to talk a little bit about how can, maybe even if they’re using Showslice, or if they can try to do it on their own, how can people realize, share resources. Hopefully they’re using Showslice.

Damian: I’ve got a lot to say about that in a bit, so you know, there’s things that people should be doing that anyone can do.

Will: Awesome, awesome. And Damian, if you weren’t in the events industry, what would you be doing instead?

Damian: Well, I’m an entrepreneur, I had my own dessert company before. I discovered a new type of frozen dessert, so I was doing that for a while. But I would be in business. Outside of business, I probably wanted to become an actor.

Will: Ooh, I could totally see you becoming an actor.

Damian: I would have enjoyed that, you know, just being someone else.

Will: Awesome, I love it. I love it, awesome. Megan, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what got you into the event and AV space and what you’re up to now.

Megan: So like most people it happened on accident. I was working for a dot com, got hit by the dot com bomb and had an opportunity. I had been in marketing previously, managing events, and someone said, “Hey, this new venue needs an event planner. Can I give them your resume?” And I said sure, well it turned out to be a sales planning job, sort of. And then I moved on from there after a few years to selling event production. I love events and the first company I worked for I had an opportunity to also be part of the planning. And then when I moved over to AV Concepts it became more like a hard core production really video rich company that I was working for, and got to work with awesome companies like Oracle, and all that good stuff. Yeah, and then things kind of took a turn.

It’s funny, you mentioned and what made you leave it, it was a combination of things. Sort of what pushed me off the ledge was an interaction with a customer which I know that’s like taboo, right? ‘Cause customers are never wrong, but so anyway, that’s how that kind of went down, and through a journey of different things I ended up with my own marketing consulting business, and events are my jam. I have a passion for event technology. When Tommy first talked to me about Event Collab I was stoked, because I knew it was something that industry needs. When I sold AV I wished that we had a tool that helped us manage our projects more seamlessly, so yeah. I’m working with different technology companies, but of course Event Collab is my favorite.

Will: I love it.

Tommy: I’d hope so.

Will: Don’t say that just ’cause Tommy’s in the room. Awesome, awesome. And then, Megan what would you be doing if you weren’t in the events industry?

Megan: I would be a sports reporter, sports anchor.

Will: Ooh, what would be, what’s your favorite sport?

Megan: So tennis and football are kind of my top two, but you have to like all the sports, so as a reporter. If I was calling games I would definitely want to do tennis. Or I’d be a sideline reporter for football or baseball.

Will: I love it. I love it. Tommy, all right, you got to tell everyone the story of what got you in the events industry, because I know it’s absolutely fascinating. Oh, did we lose Tommy for a second?

Damian: Tommy, come back to me.

Megan: Tommy?

Will: Oh no, Tommy might have been frozen, we might need him to reconnect real quick. I was like, man, he’s really holding that pose, really good. [crosstalk 00:12:20]

Damian: Will, Will, I’m actually interested, first of all, just let us know, if you weren’t such a great production company and DJ as you were, what would you be doing?

Will: Oh, that’s hard. You’re asking the interviewer the question, so.

Damian: Got to know.

Will: For everyone who doesn’t know, so I started off as a DJ, and then we started basically hiring AV companies and we decided, okay, we can make a better AV company. So we decided to create an AV company. But if I weren’t doing this I would probably be doing something in performance or probably marketing, to be honest, because I’m really passionate about content creation, and sharing really really awesome content that people can leverage to understand things. That was our big thing with Endless, was hey, let’s take the veil off of the AV industry and share what it looks like underneath.

Damian: And what you’re doing right now is almost the same thing, so yeah.

Will: Yeah, exactly, so I think what I do right now is perfect because I get to do a little bit of everything. But I’d do that, or I’d probably, something content marketing related or to be honest, I don’t know, I’m like the more we do events with five or six camera shoots or something like that, I love broadcast. So I feel like I would work in a broadcast studio or for a news station, because just that thrill of the show is happening. Like doing this is so exciting where it’s all live, figuring out that sort of stuff. I love that element, it is just so fascinating and so exciting for sure, so I definitely think that I’d be doing something like that.

Damian: Well you should.

Will: I would also probably be Batman too, if I could. If I had the pain tolerance. Awesome. All right, cool, well I’ll have the team try to figure out what’s going on with Tommy, but we’ll keep moving on. Until we get Tommy back in here we’ll have to hear his epic story of what got him in to this. But, one question that we kind of want to start off with. We started this one off last time, and I know it’s the most controversial question amongst AV people, but you guys obviously have either worked inside of them, you have hired them, you have worked being hired by them, why is AV so expensive, and why do you think this is such a big misconception in the events industry?

Damian: Yep.

Will: Damian, you’ve got an idea, let’s go for it.

Damian: Well, I mean it’s a misconception. It is expensive because it’s a big chunk of the budget, but there’s a lot. As you know yourself, first the equipment costs, right? Actually owning the equipment yourself, as in the AV company, owning the equipment or hiring it from another AV company costs, but then it’s also the storage of it, the maintenance of it, the logistics of it, the crew to unload and load, to set up, and then obviously the operating costs, actually using the gear onsite. So I mean there’s a lot to it, it’s not just bang, and if it’s in-house it’s in-house, but if it’s a bit of kit to come in, then yeah, there’s no doubt why it would cost a lot.

Will: Damian, I mean you’ve done so much stuff with labor and different companies. And then Mr. Tommy is back, so we’ll have to jump into his story. Why is event labor specifically very expensive? Because people look at this and they go, oh my gosh, $45 an hour, $55 an hour, why is an AV engineer or technician paid so highly?

Damian: Yeah, well I mean, why? Well bear in mind it is a professional job, okay, so there is a standard rate, but there’s also a markup attached to it, as you know. The work involved. Let’s be honest, being a lighting designer is not as easy as it looks, you can watch those guys sweat while they’re mixing the lights. Depending on what the gig is, it’s quite a stressful job. Because it’s live, and they make a mistake, then you know, it’s on them. Sometimes obviously the guests don’t notice, because they don’t notice what’s actually happened, but professionals do notice, and they are good at what they do for a reason.

Will: Absolutely, absolutely. [crosstalk 00:16:24] Megan, what about you, why is AV so expensive?

Megan: I think it’s that whole, too, when I read that, compared to what? Right?

I mean because it’s a line item in the budget. [crosstalk 00:16:36] It has a cost. There is equipment. There is labor. You have to consider, even if you’re only a half day, that video engineer gave up an entire day that he could have worked for someone else to work for you, so you have to pay him for a full day. So there’s those sorts of things that add up, and yeah, obviously, Brant touched on it last week, labor is the biggest cost. But, there is, like Damian said, all the costs associated with keeping up that gear.

It’s funny because I’ve heard lots of people say, “Well, we’ll just bring our own projector.” Or, “I could buy a TV for that much.” You know, and it’s like go for it, more power to you. And then you have to ship it, and who’s gonna set it up, and do you have the cables, and you know, there’s all these other things that go along with it. It depends obviously on the level of your show.

If you have 20 people in a room, that’s a different story than if you have 3,000 people and everyone needs to hear and see everything that’s going on on stage. But I think at the bottom line, it’s all about communication, and up front, talking with your AV companies, whether they’re already on your team or if you’re shopping for them, about what you’re trying to accomplish.

If I can do this with plastic speakers, I’ll do it with plastic speakers. Tell me what your budget is, and how many people are in the room, and what’s the most important, what are the hot buttons for your CEO? What are your attendees, is there anything that’s gone wrong in the past that we need to concentrate on? Make sure that we, obviously we want everything right, but sometimes you know, if video was the hot button and that’s why the company got fired from the year before, you’re going to pay a whole lot more attention to video and maybe more of your budget is going to be dedicated to that.

Will: Yeah. Absolutely.

Tommy: I think scope of work is a big thing too. One of the things is, what we’ve seen over an event that we might be doing for five or six years, that line item budget hasn’t changed very much, but the scope of work, with the needs of AV on a program with the technology, has grown significantly. Again, that’s part of that communication between event organizers, event planners, agencies to really understand, what is the real scope of work and the need of this event this year? As opposed to what we did last year, because every year the scope seems to be changing and shifting a lot, but the number is not changing or shifting a lot.

Damian: You mean the budget, you mean?

Tommy: In the budget, correct.

Will: Interesting, interesting. Tommy, since we kind of lost you there for a sec, do you mind telling everyone? You talked about, you have clients you’ve been working with for six years. Can you tell everyone a little bit about your background and what you do, how you got into this industry, [crosstalk 00:19:16] how you got to where you are, and how you been dealing with class for six years, and where you are now?

Tommy: Great. Great, I’d love to. So unlike a lot of people, I fell into this industry as a teenager. I started as a stagehand, fell in love with lighting, design and production design and built my career in this industry. It’s an industry I love and it’s my whole life. It’s what I’ve been a part of my whole life. But 18 years ago I started Level 2 Design, and the focus of Level 2, it’s a live event company. We provide technical direction, technical services, and production design services to event planners, agencies, and clients. So what we do, we’re typically the interface point when people are trying to negotiate between what is the creative vision of the show, and how do we implement that vision? So we work in all aspects of helping plan, put the right teams together, the right engineers and the right suppliers to support that.

Level 2 does 80-100 events a year, so we’re actively and constantly in the event cycle of planning and working on events with our clients. And then recently, last two years, out of all the process that we built at Level 2, we started Event Collab. Event Collab is project management software for the events industry. We really wanted to focus on the industry that we knew. So that’s a start up, it’s two years old.

Will: Awesome, awesome, I love it, I love it. I always love when a need comes out of what you’ve been doing every single day, because this is where the best products kind of come in. Awesome, awesome. I love it, I love, man such a good crew. I’m just so excited about our panel that we have today, I’m like fangirling over here.

We didn’t get a chance to dive into this much last week, so I want to try to, if you’re looking to learn more about how do you save money from in-house fees and things like that, last week’s going to be your episode. Go check that one out, after this episode, obviously.

Tommy: That was a great episode Will, that was a great conversation.

Will: Amazing episode. Really really in depth. Really great strategies to saving a ton of money on AV, but I want to get really nitty gritty into how people can actually save a lot of money on their AV. So my question to you is, if you have go-tos for saving money on AV, where do you recommend planners start to look if they’re trying to save money? Maybe they’re at a $50,000 budget and they need to get down to $40,000, or maybe they’re at $100,000 and they’re trying to get to $70,000. Because, you know, budget costs, you need to get an event app in this year, whatever it may be. How would you recommend they go about strategy for figuring out what to save? Let’s go, let’s start off Tommy, why don’t you kick it off. Where would you recommend that your clients start to look when they’re looking to save for AV?

Tommy: Sure. I think the most important part that you start off with is the planning side, is before you engage any suppliers or any team that’s going to cost money on your budget or your event, is to really do the core planning. When, where, why, how. Put a good schedule together so you have a clear schedule of when you have access to the venue, what’s the load-in parameters, understanding what your needs are, because a lot of times, again, you have a very straightforward, you need AV for 20 breakouts, or it’s a much more complicated general session for 10,000 people. Those are two different scope of works that require you to really think about what your needs are, do that planning before you engage suppliers. Because if you think about it, AV suppliers are doing show after show, and if you want a quote from them, the more information you could give, the more realistic scope you could give the better chance you get to get real numbers from them. And it goes through [crosstalk 00:22:59] the entire flow of the project.

Megan: Yeah, when looking for the venue, like start that. Get that all nailed in before looking for the venue and then you can be really firm with negotiating your contracts.

Tommy: Because when we start with projects, if you’re starting with a project and you don’t know where it is, you don’t know the exact dates, you don’t know how many show days, that’s a lot of guessing work that you’re just going to extend that to the entire team. And the numbers are going to be vastly different again, maybe if you’re getting quotes from suppliers, because everyone’s going to make assumptions. The least assumptions you bring the less they make, the more accurate your numbers are going to be.

Will: I love that.

Damian: And I mean, just to take it back a bit, because that’s perfect, you know? Of course planning and communication and being detail orientated, getting the right brief. But also, with what I’ve seen and what we do right now is all about negotiation, and bringing price down, and positive influence. But the whole thing is now if you’re procuring a supplier and you doing this event and it’s an annual event, you should use the powers that you have to bring down the cost.

So you’re talking to the supplier and you say look, we want you to be our preferred supplier. You start using that power, and talk about using them a lot more and you can actually leverage that to bring the price down, you can guarantee for the business, if you had more than one event than good for you. I know clients that do 120 events a year in London, and they use that as much as they can, to the extent that they use their preferred AV company and they even dictate what crewing company that AV company should use. So then they go directly to the crewing company, pay basically, because as we know AV companies put a markup on them from 50-250%, I know in London they do. Anyway, and yeah, so you can leverage the power of what you have. Now if it’s a one social event then make it work for you, you know? But I find that actually can bring the cost down, yeah.

Tommy: Damian brought up a great point. It’s knowing your data. You know, everybody talks about in the industry, you’ve heard the big terms over the years, big data. Well, we have an opportunity, whether an event planner is doing three shows a year, or 200 shows a year, you have data over those shows that you could use to your advantage. For example, you know, who are the suppliers you are using the most and which suppliers you should leverage? You should have that data inside of your company or your organization that you’re planning events for, ’cause to me that’s the most important thing.

We hear that a lot when we’re working with agencies, they might want to look at the budget line item, and they want to take it off the tech costs, meaning all of the AV, staging, scenic, and labor. Well, that’s fine, but it’s good to know the numbers, and who you want to work with. If you’re going to ask for a deal from a supplier, what does that relationship look like? Are you giving them the kind of work that warrants the kind of discount you’re requesting for this maybe one time?

Will: Okay, so some really solid points. I love it. Yeah, leveraging the amount of big events you are doing. I think, also along with that, maybe leveraging your brand too. There’s some planners out there, they don’t know that they’re, they’re planning events for companies like us, we want to have them as a client because we just want to have their name on our website. So saying, if, for example, a big client like let’s say Facebook comes along and says hey, we want to work with you for this event, I mean, we’re willing to give a discount because we want to be able to tell people Facebook is one of our clients, right? And also the number of events.

I think Tommy also brought up a really really good point about the details. We talked about it last week, that far too often, especially on the labor side, people just put in, oh, I think the schedule is about this, and then the schedule turned out to be wildly different, and then you end up getting an invoice afterwards for extra labor, because you didn’t give the right schedule. So yeah, definitely specificity is insanely powerful.

What about you Megan? What areas do you think that are good for planners to save?

Megan: This is going to come as no surprise probably to anybody, but internet is what I’ve been hearing is the biggest thing that people feel like they’re getting gouged on. I think it’s the biggest opportunity for a venue to be a hero instead of just charging what they can charge because they can. I interviewed 18 planners for a client on internet, and their events, and kind of how it is to deal with in-house and all of that kind of stuff, we don’t need to get into a whole in-house versus out-of-house discussion, but there’s definitely advantages that are being taken there. I think that it’s up to the planning community to sort of stand together and be firm in those negotiations. I know that AV companies are losing business. The small guys are losing business because the in-house is packaging that internet with the AV and really sort of handcuffing them to using the in-house.

It’s not just about numbers. It’s about familiarity with your show and the trust level that you have with this AV company that may be traveling with you. I mean, if they’ve been doing five shows with you a year for 10 years, and suddenly they’ve got a $40,000 disparity in their budget, that planner may end up feeling like they have to use the in-house, and then they’re sort of starting over.

I think internet’s a big opportunity. And there are outside companies that you can use. It’s against the law, actually, FCC law, for in-house to require you to use them. I consider this an opportunity to-

Will: I know for example one of them that you recommended to me at IMEX was, right, as an example. I’ve been recommending them to all of my clients, because yeah, the ability to do it. Do you have any other examples of out-of-house like internet companies that people can go to? Or is Tradeshow Internet kind of like the big player?

Megan: Yeah, well there’s a couple but I don’t know them off the top of my head.

Will: That’s okay, I called you out on it.

Tommy: Yeah, there’s ShowNets. There’s quite a few companies that are specialized in event internet, like we all have specialties in the event industry, and those are really important, because what they could do is really help you navigate the internet process at a venue. So for example, at a large convention center, they already know the rules. Sort of like a labor provider or something like that, they have that same capability to help you navigate, especially if you’re doing a large event that you need internet throughout a large convention center or a hotel.

Damian: They’ve probably worked there before as well anyway, so you know?

Tommy: Yeah.

Will: Exactly, exactly. So we have a great question from the audience, and I’m so sorry. This is when [inaudible 00:29:46], is it Angela? Angela? I’m going to guess Angela Pierce had a question about run throughs and rehearsals. So as we know, a lot of times you have a very complex run of show, you have a lot of things going on, her question’s basically how do you determine when it’s a good idea to do a run through or rehearsal? Obviously you know it adds things like labor costs, and things like that to it, but when do you really need to have a rehearsal with your AV company, or a tech run through? What are your guys’ thoughts on that? When should you invest in having the labor be around for a rehearsal?

Tommy: Sure, I can talk. I think one of the first important things, depending on the scale and size of your show. If you have an opening performance, or you have production aspects, like a large opening that requires a lot of technical teams between departments, you need to do a rehearsal, you need to schedule that time within your budget and the schedule of the event prior to show.

I see a lot of events where a speaker-ready room could do a lot, with a lot smaller team, or what we call a pre-vis environment. A pre-vis environment we set up for larger shows often where we pre-vis the lighting, so the lighting team has a chance to program in a 3D environment, digital environment, as well as if you’re doing large projection mapping or you have a lot of content across large displays with projection, the pre-vis room is a great way without spending all that time on labor in the room to get creative and the production teams on board with what the content and though the rundown of the show.

So an example would be is we set out these monitors, we go put stakeholders in the room, they could look at transitions, they can make decisions in a room with you know, six people instead of 30 people on the show. That’s a great way.

When you have speakers, the other part is a speaker-ready room gives that capability for speakers to come in, look at their content, make updates, where you’re not spending that time on stage with a large production team making those edits and basically speaker-ready kind of scenarios.

Will: Awesome, so you recommend like some sort of pre-visualization, like a CAD design with renderings of lights and video, and a speaker ready room to kind of catch speakers before they have questions that they bring to the AV company that maybe someone else could answer.

Tommy: That’s correct.

Will: Awesome, cool. Damian, yeah, I saw you had an idea, I totally interrupted.

Damian: Oh no, but I think what’s Angela’s asking is like when could you actually avoid not doing it or can you cut costs doing it? The question is under what circumstances? But I mean, Tommy is right. If you’ve got a live band or live performance, you know, you’ve got to run through it irrespective. It’s just saving money in that way, you’ve got to be careful, because if you don’t run through it then you’re gonna have problems, it’s gonna affect your show. Yeah, I suppose Tommy hit the nail on the head there, as far as I’m concerned.

Megan: Well, and talk through it with your TD in advance when you’re working on that budget.

Will: TD, what’s a TD?

Megan: Technical director. He is the one who should be doing those run-throughs. Because I had a situation were I had a technical director who fell a little short, and we had that time blocked out, and he was not leading that time well and it just fell apart. So, it depends on how complicated the show is. Also, if you have 20 people on and off the stage, timing becomes really important, so that’s something to consider. [crosstalk 00:33:20]

Damian: It puts a lot of stress on the crew as well, you know, if you try to get it in just before the gig it does put a lot of stress before the big moment.

Will: Yeah, that was going to be my suggestion, is making sure yeah, you have that big enough gap too, so talking to your AV company and saying like this is what we’re trying to do. You know, we’ve had it where they do one session and they’re like all right, now we’re going to bring a band on, and we’re like, well, we need time to sound check, yeah, do all that sort of stuff.

Or, for example, unfortunately very common now, is we’re getting a lot of people who rent out like one gigantic ballroom and then air wall it and then are separating and rejoining rooms and things like that, and they expect like transitions to happen like that, so making sure that if you are doing any sort of transitions or things like that you have that time built in, and that you’re also not doing it, big cost-saver here, not doing it during things like lunch breaks or dinner breaks and things like that, because that’s when you get into overtime and added costs as well.

Tommy: And this is a real [crosstalk 00:34:15], if it helps for, and I know this is a big answer to your question, but I think you brought up a few good points Will. One of them is, a schedule tends to work in a five hour block, or a six hour and out block there. Once whoever is helping you manage the schedule and the onsite event, you have to understand the labor rules, and if you understand the labor rules then it puts you in a position to work in those rules where you’re not getting hit with meal penalties, double time, a lot of things that, short term, that really affects your budget pushing forward. That’s the biggest part of that, is really setting that schedule up and getting the team to buy off on that schedule. It’s the most important part. When I say the team, meaning your AV suppliers, your client, and the production team. You know, everybody needs to be in line on that schedule. When you’re not aligned, that’s where all of it goes sideways, meaning you’re working in a meal penalty, and all of those things are happening.

Will: Absolutely, yeah.

Damian: But Will, what I have found with my clients, I mean like last year we did three event back to back, and they used Showslice because they saved time, they saved money. The first event is set up and they have their rehearsal, and then because we’re bringing similar events with similar infrastructure requirements together, and the same production company is doing it the whole way through, you find all we have to do overnight is change the branding, the sets already in there, and then we have the whole day for rehearsals. So you know, planners, depending on the size of their event, but if they’re planning a particularly large event, finding other events to share that infrastructure with gives you that time, gives you that downtime for rehearsals.

So you know you just got to be savvy about it. There are many many ways to do it.

Will: Yeah. I’m going to keep teasing everybody about what Showslice is all about and that concept, because I think it’s really game changing, but we got a question from the audience asking, they want to know a little bit more about basic labor rules. So we talked about things like meal penalties over time, things like that, can you guys talk a little bit about like, what are the big labor rules that you’re seeing that are affecting clients having costs rise through the roof? Megan, you want to kick it off?

Megan: Well I think those guys would be better. I haven’t been working in that piece of it for a while.

Will: [crosstalk 00:36:36] Did you ever see something that a lot of your clients were maybe losing a lot of money off of, for example, like doing really early load-ins or something like that?

Megan: Forgetting that crew needs to eat, I mean just flat out like you have to build in break times, feeding them makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re in a venue where it’s quite a hike to get to anywhere to eat. All of that kind of stuff, which I think was touched on last week. But yeah, it’s like crew is … It’s worth it, I think, to have a, if you feed them the break can be shorter, typically. So you keep them onsite and you keep them a lot happier, that’s for sure. When you provide … I’ve had clients, they didn’t even have water backstage. It’s like, you know, provide a little bit of sustenance and some beverages and coffee, especially, right? Tommy, AV guys, coffee.

Will: They love coffee.

Megan: So I got coffee, and there’s so much goodwill there that will make everyone happier.

Tommy: The rule of thumb is pretty straight forward, but there is every city, whether it’s union or non-union has rules, but the common rules to follow, if you’re just building a document, is 5 hour blocks between meals. If he’s starting a schedule at 6:00 in the morning, those first couple of hours are probably on time and a half.

If he’s starting at 8:00 call or 7:30 call those are typically starting on regular time. You need to watch, after a 10-hour day you start going into overtime, with union a lot of times that’s eight hours, so you need to think about how you’re planning your day when you hit eight hours. A lot of times your labor component, your local labor component starts to go into time and a half. After 12 hours you’re typically in double time. And then the last part to watch out towards the end of that, is short-term, meaning there’s rules. The typical rule is eight hours rest period between the next call. Some areas, and on the west coast in particular, are now nine hours, so you have to have a rest between the call the day before into the call the next day.

If you don’t have that rest period everyone starts in short-term, which is double time starting that day. So that could really eat your budget fast in labor.

Will: There’s almost a scenario where someone could be in sharp turn, go into double time, and then because they’re going into a 12-hour day, almost doing overtime in double time, and you’re just compounding, basically the hourly rate at that point.

Tommy: The bottom line is to really understand the rules that you’re working in, in the labor that you’re dealing with, and to set your schedule to benefit the show, and again, get the team on board with that. Because again, nobody, there’s not many people that want to be working short-term, or working at 2:00 in the morning. But, if that’s what is the need of the show everyone will do it. So again, it’s planning your schedule to work.

Will: Do you think it’s up to the clients to figure this stuff out? Or like for example, in my opinion, right, you give the schedule to the AV company, they see all these issues pile up and they say, “Hey, just a heads up, here’s what your labor’s going to look like. You could fix it.” This and that. Or do you think the clients need to know all these labor rules?

Tommy: It’s fuzzy. I think the more you’re educated, if you’re handling, if that’s a line item in your budget, you should at least understand the basics of it. That’s how I approach that. And again, it’s education. Whether it’s necessarily not your job, you should understand, even if you’re a producer or you’re an event planner, you should understand those rules so that you could communicate that to your customer. Or communicate that to an event.

I think it’s that dialogue. It’s really important. You know, you’ve heard this before, so often people, you’re two weeks out or a month out from an event and you still haven’t seen a schedule because it’s not ready yet. We like to take the approach of get it 60, 70%, and let’s get it to everyone to start commenting on. And let’s start a dialogue. Because what tends to happen is some people, we might have a supplier that has a really good idea for a challenging schedule. So, the concept of get your suppliers, get your team in the mix, have everybody look at the 60, 80%, and have a dialogue before you say, “This is the final schedule.” Because of tweak of 2 hours here and there can affect you drastically on any sort of schedule when you’re trying to get to that last part of load-out.

Will: I love it, I love it. Damian, what about you? I know it’s a little bit different, obviously across the pond, but do you guys have any labor rules over there that we haven’t kind of mentioned, that you know, you think clients need to watch out for?

Damian: It’s not quite labor rules, but we do call it health and safety, and we have Health and Safety at Work Act, so we have to look after our staff. It goes with any company, and in the event industry, actually until quite recently, I would say about seven years ago, eight years ago, there was nothing. I remember I was doing 76 hours a week. Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep for 56 hours straight. Those were the days, eight years ago. And now they do control it. Now we can’t work more than 12 hours shifts, but it’s still happening. But we don’t have any sort of other rules, other than the Welfare facility and, but it doesn’t put any strain, extra costs on the clients. I’m actually quite intrigued to learn more about this, the union. Those unions factor that you guys have to deal with. It’s very interesting for us to consider when we come to North America with Showslice. I’m actually learning from this panel now, so yeah, very interesting.

Will: Awesome, I always love it when we can teach our panelist something too.

Damian: Yeah.

Will: Man, I knew this was going to happen. We are so passionate about this topic we’re running, getting low on time. But I want to talk a little bit about creative ideas for people to save money. So I want to kick it back to you Damian, to talk a little bit about, starting off maybe with the concept of Showslice. I told everyone we would get to this eventually. Starting off with that, that’s obviously a really creative idea, the idea that hey, we have an AV setup, let’s get two clients and put their events back to back so then setup doesn’t have to be rebuilt and built again, let’s just change the branding around and save money. Can you talk a little bit about how can people pull this idea off? How can people interact with other event planners to figure this out? All that sort of stuff, and then Megan and Tommy, if you guys want to think about other creative ideas I think, to save money would be awesome.

Damian: It’s exactly what we do. I mean you can look at us like I suppose, Air BnB. You can either pick up the phone and phone that person, or knock on his door and say, “Can I sleep at your house,” right? Or Air BnB goes and puts it out there on a platform so you can see what’s out there and buy it, so to speak. The whole thing of what we do now is venue finder.

Before we launched the second version of our platform, which in essence all it does is advertise available dates adjacent to already confirmed bookings. Then we’ll put you in contact, not with the other organizer, with the actual suppliers, ’cause they’re the ones that all communicate in between each organizer. So with the venue and the supplier. But very easily, and agencies have been doing this for years as well, very easily. You could call up a venue, a big venue, and find out what’s going on. What’s going on in the afternoon. If there’s a big luncheon you can change over the branding and have your AGM or your awards ceremony or whatever dinner in the evening. It’s not very difficult. We just did it the other day, one of our clients come to us, and just like a venue finder, what any agency could do, call up the venues, call up several venues and find out what’s going on.

You can actually, if you start fishing, it won’t take you long to find another setup that is quite similar to yours. And you just have to go to those venues. If you’ve got a 500 pex dinner or 1,000 pex dinner, go to those venues that do your sort of events and start asking them. And you’ll be surprised how many of them actually-

Will: So you’re recommendation would to call up the venues and say, “Hey, does anyone have something similar to this, and what do the dates look like?” And maybe trying to-

Damian: The venues, no, and there is a confidentiality issue there, but they don’t mind because they’re going to get that sale. So they’re actually quite motivated to put you in contact with the production company that’s dealing with the show.

Will: Okay, cool, very cool.

Tommy: It’s funny, because that’s happening, you know, in a place like in the U.K., so many of those venues are booked really tight, where we have the luxury in the U.S., we didn’t have, we could take three, four days to put in a show. But we’re seeing that squeeze dramatically over the last few years, so this is becoming what I’d consider a problem or something we all need to look at in the U.S. now.

For example, there’s a project we’re doing in February, where I called the TD that’s representing the show that’s in before us, because we have a four day load in schedule is now two and half days with overnights. So we’re having to …. We were working behind the scenes regardless of the client and the venue, just to understand what does his load-out look like, and what does my load-in look like and how can we work together? What’s interesting about that same venue, I then got a call for the show behind us, the TD calling us, saying, “What’s your load-out schedule?” So that’s two events in a row that are booked really tight. So, same for his situation, he had a four day load in prior, now he has a three day load-in, and he was just trying to figure out when are we gonna be clear, what rigging company we’re using so maybe we could share some resources. Again, there’s trucks that don’t have to get loaded. That gear could stay in the room. So it’s definitely happening in the U.S. more and more.

Damian: And now that Millennials are getting used to being flexible, because now we can sleep in boats instead of sleeping in hotels. And now these buyers, these Millennial buyers, so to speak, were actually more flexible. What other ideas are out there, you know? I mean, my event’s still gonna be special. I’m still gonna have my entertainment, I’m still gonna have my branding, but you know, maybe there is a middle stage set up with dodge ’ems, you know bumper cars in the corner, I like that idea. So they actually feed off other people’s idea. And just as much as a venue is shaped in a U-shape or horseshoe shape, that same venue would have temporary infrastructure that’s got a middle stage set up, so there’s no reason why, the whole week, events can’t use it back to back. It’s all about being flexible, and the more flexible you are, more choice you have, and obviously more money you can save.

Will: I love it. Megan, you have thoughts on this?

Megan: Well, the other part of this that’s interesting, at least that happens in the U.S., I think, is that even within teams within venues, sales and operations aren’t talking to each other. I’ve had scenarios where I had a show where we took a day to load in, and then they have a group loading in an hour and half after our keynote, you know. And it’s like, okay, oh, and don’t tell the client. The CSM comes to me, “How can we fix this, can you help us?” You know? “How long is it gonna take you to load out?” Whereas if a scenario like Showslice was involved, we probably could have set the room in a way that then … Because they didn’t have the whole ballroom, so then it became, “Okay, will you just push everything into that third of the ballroom and then you can load out from there, that would be great,” you know kind of thing? It’s super stressful, and it’s totally unnecessary.

Will: Absolutely, absolutely.

Megan: I see that being big benefit.

Will: I find that the more stressful you make things usually the more expensive they are too, because then it’s more worrying, you have to have more systems in place, all the sort of things to back you up.

So my question to you guys is, we’ve talked a little bit about how people can save some money putting shows back to back with each other. Have you seen any creative examples of events that you’ve worked with where they found a creative way to save money on their AV? For example, maybe they really wanted projection mapping but they had an alternative solution, or, oh hey, they need audio for 1,000 people but they couldn’t do a huge line ’cause it would cost too much, they did this idea. Any examples of when you saw someone get creative with the budget to save a lot of money on AV?

Tommy: Sure, I have a few. One of the things we’ve been doing a lot more in some events is quiet headsets. So that concept around, this is a great example. When you’re running out of space and there a large breakout? Let’s say you have a lot of breakouts, and there over attended. What we’ve been doing is instead of creating a lot of overflow rooms or directing people to multiple places, we do one large ballroom, set up with multiscreens, smaller screens, and each screen has basically red, green, blue color, you get a headset when you walk in, and you could sit and you could watch that program and then switch to red, green, or blue.

That gives you a lot of capability where you don’t have competing sound across this environment. But better, is for attendee experience, you could direct them to one place to go, as opposed to, “Oh, you know what? This session is now on the second floor in this room.” It’s always, “Just go to this place and you’ll see your overflow, you could experience the session that you didn’t get to go and sit in.”

Megan: And, as an attendee, if the session that’s green is terrible, I can switch to blue, right?

Tommy: Right. And you could just move seats.

Megan: Not have to move around. Yeah.

Tommy: A couple of other things too, is systems as this whole projection, ’cause you mentioned a projection mapping. Those systems are getting, there’s a lot of technology now that’s getting pretty sophisticated. That is, you could do the switching and the digital media in one platform as opposed to multiple platforms. It’s pretty new technology, so again, caution. You’ve got to really plan your show. It’s got to be in a sense a very much a straightforward timeline type of show, but there is capability to save both in crewing and core positions, quite a bit of technology. [crosstalk 00:50:46]

Megan: And Tommy, and also couldn’t you save by, if it’s already created, ’cause the gear is not as expensive as the time to create the content, right? So if there’s a venue or certain surface that organization wants to project on to for an event, say it’s the City Hall in San Francisco or whatever, potentially you could save money by reusing that content, right?

Tommy: That’s correct, yes, definitely.

Will: Awesome, awesome. What about you Damian, Megan, do you guys have any creative ways you’ve seen clients save money on their AV?

Damian: Yeah, well I mean except for sharing events back to back, but I mean, it’s the small things like, instead of being extravagant and using LED walls, with the 62 centimeter panels, projection is as much as a good and easy substitute for that, and there’s more things like the backdrop. Instead of using set, you’d use star cloth. You know, there’s very easy fixes for the set and stage to be honest. It’s little things like, I suppose, I’ve seen events where they actually find more out about the event. So if they’ve got a presenter, do they really need a wireless mic, they’d rather use podium mikes, so you now, little things like that actually. Nothing-

Tommy: Yeah, to Damian’s point, where we see a lot of spend, is when you’re doing breakouts, and especially if you’re staging 50, 60 breakouts on some of these larger conferences, is to really settle on, what are the real needs of that show? For example, four wireless mics across 60 breakout rooms is a pretty expensive thing if you’re only using one.

Damian: And it’s a lot of fiddling, isn’t it?

Tommy: And when you think about it, just management of those wireless signals and the crew around that, that’s just one example. But really like understanding, what is the minimum breakout setup I need? What is the switching component? What does that look like? How are you going to staff that? What are the real expectations of the client? ‘Cause so often we’ve seen, we have four people in a breakout room, we really needed two people there, because a client, it was a different expectation than what was really needed on site. So syncing up those could save you a lot of money, especially in scale, when you’re looking at a lot of rooms that you’re trying to set up.

Will: Piggyback on that too, I think asking the presenters what their actual needs are, because far too often you say, “Oh, I think we’re going to have four mics because they’re max,” you do a survey, and you find out where people are. Like, for example you could put the room that needs six people, you could put all those panels with six people in one, but if you have a room that only needs on person at a time, you could have a smaller set up in there too.

Tommy: Yeah, the term we’ve been using for that is produced breakouts versus unproduced. So it’s a great point, because so often, the team is trying to say well we have all of these needs so we’re going to set up all the rooms, where if you have 20 breakouts on level one, set up one room as a really high-end produced room, that’s ready for camera, ready for broadcast, or any of those experiences, and that’s the room you put those high-level events, where that’s the CEO or marketing team having a discussion. You put them in that room, you don’t have to set up all of those rooms as produced rooms, you could just do one produced room on that level.

Will: I love it.

Tommy: It’s a good point.

Will: Awesome. Any other thoughts on creative uses at all, Megan, Damian? Go ahead Megan.

Megan: Well it might not be creative. But mine just goes back to up front, communication. It’s shocking to me how little communication goes on between sales people and planners or producers. And as somebody who just recently was a buyer, from creative companies for a trade show, there’s some basic practices that need to happen regarding communication from both ends that I think aren’t necessarily happening. I had some really bad, like four bad experiences with sales people in the same week as a buyer. As a planner, as somebody who is buying these services, I think overcommunication is crucial, and not assuming things about your speakers. ‘Cause that’s happened to me too, like they don’t get the speaker right, or until later, and then the planner is getting that directly, and not communicating. So you have a speaker that shows up for a planner meeting with a Mac, wants to use his own computer, and he needs an internet connection and neither of those things were shared with the venue or with the AV company. I mean, those are huge, and so understanding up front who is responsible for making sure that everyone understands all of those needs and all of that, that’s big.

Will: Awesome.[crosstalk 00:55:42]

Megan: It sounds so obvious, but it’s not obvious, unfortunately.

Damian: But if we’re saying not being creative, but being savvy, and just, you being a DJ and bringing their own kit. I’ve seen organizers quite often, but depending on how big the event is, I’ll ask presenters to bring their own LCD projector, or ask the band to bring their own mics. So you can get creative, but get clever.

Will: Absolutely.

Damian: Save money.

Will: Awesome. Well I knew that this was gonna be an awesome conversation so we have to wrap up, but I knew it was going to be awesome. We still have tons more questions from the audience, just my questions to ask as well, but we do have to wrap up. So I want to end with my last two favorite questions. First, what’s your one tip for event planners that can help make their events amazing in 2016. I almost said 2016. 2017, to really help take their events to the next level, make their planning process easier, make it less stressful, what would be your one go-to tip, whether it’s AV related or not? Damian, you want to kick it off?

Damian: I would say research, you know? Use the Google machine. Use friends that you know. And if you’re in this business, you network. Know someone that’s an AV guy, and ask him questions. Contact Will, I think you would available to help people out, won’t you Will?

Will: Yeah, absolutely.

Damian: Yeah, but I mean you’ve got to research. You’ve got to know what you’re buying first and foremost, and then you can make an informed decision.

Will: Awesome, I love it, I love it. Megan, what about you, what’s your one tip?

Megan: This is self-serving, but I’m going to say it anyway. Use tools that help you be more efficient and collaborative with your team and all of your vendors. Collab-based document storage and event project management tools are, they’re not the future, they’re now, and everyone should be using them and not be afraid to make that change. I joke that Event Collab’s not competing against other products, we’re more competing against the same old way everyone’s done things, and we know that giving up your spreadsheets is probably not going to happen, but if you could get your 20-tab spreadsheet down to five and get all those to-dos and all the history of everything that has to do with your event inside one central place online, instead of managing time tracking in one place, and using Google Drive, and using Drop Box and email, and requesting things through email, and getting them and downloading them and having to upload them, why not just send a todo and have somebody just put the document right in the event, in a product like Event Collab, it’s just, it makes so much more sense.

Will: I love it, awesome. Awesome. Tommy? What is your one tip?

Tommy: Yeah, mine’s gonna be really similar, but it’s hone your process and be collaborative. Because I think it’s the biggest part that we see missing in the events industry. Hone your process. I mean, again, if you’re building the same sheet or you’re building the same document, really think about that and spend your time and be collaborative with your suppliers and your partners to figure out the best way to deliver that information collaboratively between the two of you. The more time you save, but also the engagement with your partners and suppliers, the better everyone could be for that event. And to me that’s the most important thing, is find a way to build better process and better documents to communicate with your partners and suppliers. But also communicate, ’cause it’s the thing so often, where we’re doing so many things at the last minute with a little bit more time and pre-planning it could be such a bigger outcome, or a bigger idea can sprout from that. If you’re bringing all of these people with knowledge to the party, to collaborate on a task, an idea or a problem in the event.

Will: I love it. Such good feedback, I love it so much. All right. So now we’re gonna jump into my favorite section, resources. I know you guys are full of resources, we were talking about a bunch of them before we hopped on the call, all you guys. I know you’re full of them because you guys have shared some cool resources with me. Why don’t we kick it off, let’s go with Megan. Tell me, what are you like cool favorite resources right now, like books, podcasts, websites, all that jazz?

Megan: There’s a product that just got brought to my attention, which I think is pretty awesome, especially given needs within venues and whether you can rely on dimensions of a room, it’s called RoomScanPro, and basically it’s an app on your phone and you put it on the wall and it sets how far, the total dimensions of the space, and you could even have, say a room turns like this and there’s a wall, you get that and it creates a room scan, a diagram of the room for you basically in minutes which is, I think pretty awesome.

Will: Awesome.

Megan: You know, so often we get false dimensions, right, in venues. I love it.

Will: What do you mean, [crosstalk 01:00:53].

Megan: I always sound like I’m dissing venues. I love venues, I don’t want anyone to think I’m anti-venue, ’cause we are all, we all need to work together. I didn’t mean that at all. But it’s just funny, as somebody who was selling AV, so often we would get the dimensions of the room and it’s like well that’s without a stage, or how many people they could fit? That’s without a stage, that’s it without this, without that, and all that kind of stuff. Anyway.

Will: Wow, rough. Any other resources that you want to share, things that people check out?

Megan: I am on a podcast called The AV Life. I have a special guest next week, his name is Will Curran. It’s an AV podcast that about all things AV, so there’s a lot of talk and integration in the permanent install side. But next week is my show and so it’s going to be on live events and Will Curran, Michelle Bruno, and Tehara and Dean and going to be the guests on that.

Tommy: Awesome.

Will: So excited.

Megan: Yeah.

Will: Definitely everyone’s going to have to check that out. Damian, what about you? What are your cool resources that you have to share with everyone out there in the interwebs?

Damian: Well, I, interweb, ha. It wouldn’t be so AV related, but more I suppose event related. I’m very much, and I have other businesses, I’m very much into virtual reality and augmented reality right now. Augmented reality is not quite there but I do work with a company on that. But virtual reality. What we’re trying to do now, particularly in venue marketing, is you don’t have to leave your home. All you need is your smartphone, and a viewfinder, which costs $15. I mean, if anyone is listening to this, go out and buy a viewfinder. Not those cardboard ones, they do work out, but just a decent little viewfinder, $15, and seriously, it will change your world. If you’ve got a smartphone. So if you own a smartphone, get a viewfinder and start playing around with it because it is going to change the way we attend events, we can attend it from home.

So that’s the whole VR thing, it’s fascinating. You could watch a concert, have a seat at the concert by just sitting there in your room. And you’re really immersed in, with your headphones, your decent headphones and it’s as if you are there. And then also augmented reality is something to look for the future. For planning events, you’d go to a venue, and you’d see an empty space, but now you’re trying to picture your event, or what type of AV you want, what would be suitable in that space. The best is actually to stick on these augmented reality glasses in the actual venue and you can see different types of events. Whether it’s a concert or a wedding, or an AGM, and yeah, and that’s coming. So yeah, look out for that.

Will: Awesome. I would definitely recommend the Google Daydream VR, just went on sale today, actually, you can get it for $50, normally $70.

Damian: Really? Good.

Will: So if you are looking for that affordable headset, Google Daydream VR. I don’t know, I’m pretty sure it’s compatible with multiple phones beyond the pixel, but definitely check that one out. Tommy, what are your go to resources?

Tommy: Well I’ve got a couple. One is for the techies out there. It’s Black Magic Video Assist, so Black Magic Design is a company, you could find them online. And the video assist basically is a small monitor recorder that takes HDMI or HDSDI inputs and outputs into a small monitor. We bought them for our tech kits last year and they’ve become this indispensable tool. What they’re great for is if you’re having trouble with sources, so for example a lot of times we’re setting up large demo tables with a lot of mobile devices and things as part of a corporate event. It’s great to be able to just plug those devices, to know one, that that device is actually outputting video before it gets through the system into all the video department and things like that. So that’s been a great tool.

The other nice part about that video assist is, you could plug that mobile device and actually record, maybe the presenter as he’s demoing the product, so you could plug it in, do a quick capture of that, which then you could bring to the video team if we have to cue that or we have to do something with that information, we kind of have it as a backup of the demo ran real time, so it’s an integrated recorder as well.

And then of course, the second link for me is Event Collab. Again, we really, we built this for the event community. We want to see you use it. You know, let us know how we could help you if you really are looking for a project managing solution that’s made for event people, it’s out there. Event Collab, check it out.

Will: It’s very very cool. I definitely give a shout out. Megan got to do a demo with me and show it to me, and I was like, man, if I didn’t already have so many systems in place, but I definitely, if you don’t have a system at all, it is a great start, and amazing to use. You can log emails into it, it’s super duper cool. So yeah, same with Showslice as well. I mean, obviously I’m a huge fan of all the companies, that’s why I put you guys on this show, so really awesome to have you guys.

We are a little bit over time. Because I knew that this topic was going to be so hot that we’re probably going to have to do a part three now, I knew it was going to come because there were just so many questions from everyone to know, how can we save money on their AV, learn more about AV. Really, really, absolutely, I got to give a huge round of applause, if anyone’s giving a round of applause to our amazing guests, Damian, Tommy and Megan for being on the show. [crosstalk 01:06:13] And next week, get ready, because we have an amazing episode lined up. I’m not going to give away any information, I already gave away that we’re going to do part two this week, so stay tuned for next week’s episode #Eventicons, it’s going to be absolutely amazing. Thank you again to our guests, and thank you to the audience for tuning in. We will catch you guys all next week, five pm eastern.

Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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