Author: cris cochis

AV company In-house in a venue Pros and Cons

Benefits and disadvantages of using an  In-house av company in a venue

3 nights ago I bumped into my old friend Claudio in a restaurant in Hoi An, Vietnam. (Yes, I’m on holiday and I love Vietnam and the Vietnamese people!)

After all the standard catching up questions, “how is your mum”, “is your daughter going to school”, how old is your wife.. (what? Claudio said, she looks sooo much younger than you!!!.. Yes thanks Claudio!!) Claudio asked me a question about In-house AV companies in Venues.

Claudio owns a small AV production company in Milan, Italy.

So Cris, what do you think about the pros and cons of In-house AV companies in hotels, function centres and Wedding venues?

I had to think about it for a couple of minutes as I wasn’t 100% sure.

Here is more or less what I came up with.

The benefit for the venue is that they deal with a company they know very well and because of that, they can trust that company to set up and meet all the venue standards and requirement without need of any of the venue staff to spend time answering questions and overlooking the setup.

Another benefit for the venue is that the In-house AV company has normally an account manager that deals with all the questions related to the event and knows the venue very well.

There could also be some financial benefit for the venue, but let’s overlook this point.

As per the final client, the benefits would be first of all to have one supplier to deal with (or at least 2 suppliers that are on the same page) instead of two suppliers with no affiliations to each other. Another benefit could be that the standard package set up meets the requirements for the client and that means less time spent organizing where projectors, stage and speakers would be best set up for the event.

As per the cons what I can think of, is that to achieve a great and flexible set up in a venue could be very costly for the In-house AV company and they will rely on the venue to “sell” their services to their clients. As per the venue they want to make sure that they choose a professional AV company that does not only do in-house event but also event productions so at any time they would be able to satisfy any request from the client for custom set-ups, extra last-minute gear or a totally different set up from what is on offer as a standard in-house package as they will have stock and knowledge on how to set up and run a successful event outside of that particular venue.

As per the client, the cons could be a more expensive option as the cost of labour will increase. (be aware that this may not be true in some venues, so do your own research).

Another downside could be that if the client hires a “Non-professional” company the venue could be very frustrated with issues like Test and Tag etc etc and the event could suffer, but this is also true for every event in and out from venues.

 

In conclusion, I think you have to do your research and weigh the pros and cons but one thing is clear, make sure you employ a professional AV company as your event depends on it…

 

By the way, this conversation with my friend Claudio was in Italian, so I may have missed or suggested something a little different to him but that’s ok I’m sure he got the idea.

 

Here is an example of RTR In-house AV venue, Encore St Kilda a premier venue on St Kilda Beach.

https://encorestkilda.com.au/

BMW launch
RTR Productions the In-House AV company at Encore St Kilda helps BMW launch the latest cars

And here is another read with regards to stage and sound systems, if you have a spare 5 minutes:

http://www.rtrproductions.com.au/speakers-facing-band

 

At RTR Productions we can help with your event or venue set up. For over 15 years we have supplied staging, audio, visual and lighting to the entertainment industry.

 

Claudio, thanks for dinner, was great seeing you again…. and BTW my wife is 1 year and 1 month older than me!!!

Why and What: Outdoor stage for events

Why hiring and what outdoor stage and cover to hire for an outdoor event?

These are 2 questions we get asked all the time, so here are my 2 cents.

Please keep in mind this is only my opinion.

Why: Most people think that they should hire an outdoor stage and cover just in case the rain comes or the forecast looks bad.

Of course, as you know, you need the stage for the band so they can stand out and everyone can see them, but why the cover?

The cover is used for multiple options:

  • Protect from the rain, (electrical equipment doesn’t mix well with rain), the punter may still be dancing but the musicians will stop playing and you know what I think about looking after the musicians and performers! If not read an older article here: http://www.rtrproductions.com.au/speakers-facing-band
  • Protect from the sun: depending on where you are in the world, the sun can be much more dangerous than rain, here in Melbourne, try to stand under the sun in summer for 1 hour while performing…..I’ve done it and if not fun!
  • Bright light: The band or the speaker/presenter may be the centrepiece of your event and to have them not been able to see and read their speech would be detrimental to the event, give them a lectern, mic and a stage and cover and they will love you forever!
  • Wind: Having sides and back wall, either full or mesh, will act as a windbreak, keeping the stage quite, the mic stands up and the performers happy.
  • Lighting rig: If the event goes into the late hours, you want to light up the performance and have some eye candy lights for the crowd and if you have an outdoor stage and cover set up you have the infrastructure already for the lighting rig… and also for the sound system if you choose the options with “PA wings”
  • And last…. The outdoor stage and cover is great to protect the equipment (but I know you don’t care, the equipment is not yours… fair comment I think)

 

Here a couple of examples of a stage and cover that RTR Productions supply and install:

Outdoor stage Fat Boy Slim Melbourne Concert St Kilda
Outdoor stage and sound system for Fat Boy Slim Melbourne Concert St Kilda
Outdoor stage 10m x 8m with cover, sound system and lighting rig set up
Outdoor stage 10m x 8m stage and cover with PA wings, sound system and lighting rig

Not that we (should I say I) talked about WHY hiring an outdoor stage and cover, we (I) should have a brief chat about what……

To hire an Outdoor stage and cover you need to have an idea on a few different things as you have a lot of choices.

Here are some guideline points that will help your supplier suggest the right outdoor stage and cover for your event:

  • Where is the stage been set up, what ground is the stage been set up on. (Grass, concrete, sand, Etc)
  • Access to the setup place. I strongly suggest organising a site visit with your supplier as they may notice things that you are not aware of that could delay the installation of the stage.
  • Size of the biggest band you have on stage
  • Coverage you want to achieve with your sound system, so you can choose the outdoor stage and cover with or without PA wings
  • What you want your stage structure to look like, for example, Corporate black roof and black background, white canvas with lots of coloured light reflections, curved or square etc etc,
  • Front or side steps depending on the sort of event you need the stage for.
  • Ask your supplier if they can also supply a solution for audio and lighting as they may be able to offer you a cost saving on the all package

 

As per any services supplied to the event industry, OH&S is a most important point.

Please make sure that your supplier has all engineering documentation for the stage and cover structure as per requirement by the local government laws. Sometimes a S.W.I.M and the certificate of compliance (design) will suffice and some other times you will also need a certificate of compliance (Install/built). At RTR Productions each and every stage and structure has been engineered and designed as per the New Australian standard for Temporary structures.

The last thing you want to happen at your event is for the stage and cover to collapse and injure someone, trust me this has happened many times… have a look at this video link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63GKrWWF5d8

 

Should you have any questions about staging hire, sound system hire, lighting hire, stage and cover set up or about this blog, please do not hesitate to contact me at cris@rtrproductions.com.au

Smoke vs Haze:difference and which to use and where

Smoke vs haze: difference and which one to use where?

 

Haze and smoke over the years have been used in events to maximize the effects of lighting and lighting beams. In the old days with fix lighting fixture the haze or smoke created a nice effect and was somewhat important to create the atmosphere and improve the light effect. In recent years where moving lights are used throughout most events, the effect created by the smoke or haze is so much more pronounced and outstanding and the moving light beam can be much more visible.

 

I won’t go into too much detail on how from the technical point of view the fog machine is different from a hazer machine and how it vaporizes the fluid with heats rather than use a compression chamber as the hazer does, but if you want more technical explanation check out this link from the great Wiki…  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haze_machine

 

Hazer. These machines are quite common throughout the events and live productions / hire companies. There are entry-level units that normally are ok for small events / small rooms or small stages. Once you step up to bigger events you also would have the need to step up to professional, high output Haze machines. Sometimes we also use haze machines for big outdoor stages but we normally tend to use multiple units on the same stage as the wind is an enemy of haze.

 

Fog machine. These units have been around for a very long time and have been over the years cheaper and cheaper to buy, however, there are quite big differences between professional units and “ consumer” units. One major difference, in my opinion, is the warm-up time and the reheat time where the unit needs to go back to a certain temperature before it can pump out smoke again, which could cause issues when you have specific cues to follow in an event… can you imagine the main act coming out from backstage and you trying to pump out smoke and the machine is in re-heat mode!!!!  That’s one way to annoy the client and piss off the performer and you know what I think about keeping the performers happy… you can check my previous article, follow this link http://www.rtrproductions.com.au/speakers-facing-band

Using professional smoke machines, means you overcome this problem as most of them don’t have gaps in re-heat which means continuous smoke distribution and happier clients. Other differences are, more smoke, faster outputs, DMX control not only remote, self-cleaning cycle when the unit is turned off and overall peace of mind that the unit works when you want it to!

 

On a quick note, I suggest you use water base fluids for both machines as in my opinion they are better for the environment, people and equipment than oil-based fluids.

 

This is Paul, looking for the light beam, with some smoke he would have found it straight away.

 

Paul lighting

You can use a combination of each, the hazer to keep a continuous haze/mist of smoke over the stage or dance floor so the light beams look awesome and the smoke to accentuate some special situations like songs, part of songs, special light effects etc.

In short, I would say that I normally use Hazers to create atmosphere and smoke machines as a special effect….. And of course you can argue that you prefer dry ice special effect or the faze effect which is more cost-effective, but this is a discussion for next time… till then…. I see you later unless you just turned on your smoke machine at full blast and you can’t see past your nose…. Ciao

 

Photo of stage lights with smoke fx

stage band

 

Speakers facing the band…why?

Speakers facing the band… why? most of the people will be on the dancefloor!!

This was a question that a very nice lady asked me on the phone on Monday when she called in to hire some “Speakers and Party stuff” for her son 18th birthday.

“So” she told, “we will have a band and we want some speakers so everyone can hear the band”

“Great” I told her, “We can definitely help you with that”

Everything went quite smooth throughout the process when we talked about FOH speakers, mixing console, microphones, stands, staging and some lighting.

So the nice lady on the phone seemed quite happy and she gave me the phone number of the band manager to make sure that we had everything they needed.

A quick call to the band manager, we agreed on speakers, digital mixing console, microphones set up, foldback positions and everything else we needed for the gig…. All great!!!

 

After few minutes I finish the quote and email it to the nice lady email address with a note saying: “Please let me know if you would like to go ahead with the booking and if you have any questions”

Well, a few hours later I get a phone call from the nice lady which at this stage seemed a little annoyed.

Me. “Hi how are you, what’s wrong, did I miss something?”

Nice but annoyed lady: “No you didn’t miss anything, actually you added another 4 speakers that we don’t need. No one is going to be on the stage to listen to the band, most people will be on the dancefloor, so why would you charge me for an extra 4 speakers  -pause- stage monitors?”

I went on to explain that the Stage Monitor speakers (foldback as we also call them) are for the band so they can hear themselves and the whole band. Without the stage monitors, the performer/musician could probably only hear the instrument that is closer to him/her.

A quick reply from the nice lady was: “well the band knows what they are playing, they don’t need to hear themselves”

It took a while and quite a bit of discounting to convince the (now back to nice) lady that after all she needed to book the stage monitors.

 

My view on the moral of the story:

If you want to save some money on your event, buy fewer canapes food trays, don’t spend the extra money on the balloons (which by the way are bad for marine life), go cheap on the table setting but make sure you look after the musicians and performers and they will look after you.

I can’t remember last time I come back from a party and mentioned to anyone…. Ahhh the table setting wasn’t very good!.. But I do remember last time I came back from a party and told my wife…. The sound was bad!!!

 

Here is a quick link to a very good explanation of why you need Foldback speakers for your next event or stage set up.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_monitor_system

Example of a Stage monitor speaker / Foldback speaker RCF NX12-SMA Powered Foldback Speaker (Thank you RCF for the photo)

Image result for photos of foldback speakers stage set up

You can find foldback speakers, mixing consoles, Microphone, staging equipment, rigging equipment and more on our website

Compact PA Systems for Hire

and also you can contact us for more information about Staging, foldback monitor speakers and any Audio-visual requirements you may have.

Contact

 

Example of foldback set up and front fill..

Sound systems, Concerts and Ear Plugs.

Sound systems and ear plugs at a concert, a personal point of view.

A couple of weeks ago I went to The Prodigy (BTW I started writing this blog on the weekend and yesterday I got the news that Keith Flint died.. Really bloody sorry, he was an awesome performer!) concert in Melbourne, was awesome, brought back some memories… here a quick link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcE7ti-68mk

It really amazes me when I see people at a concert with those cheap foam ear plugs that you can buy at a service station. Those earplugs I think are designed to make the music/noise softer, (I guess that’s the result they want) but also muffled. Leave those for sleeping or for when you have a 2 months old crying baby.

I totally agree that hearing loss is something you want to avoid.

Here is a link to some very helpful notes from the Ear Science Institute of Australia. (I think they know a thing or two about it)

https://www.earscience.org.au/lions-hearing/hearing-loss

Music at a concert can reach above 110 decibels, I know, I’ve been to few in my life, also I’ve been setting up sound systems, Stages and lighting rigs for many years. Soundcheck sometimes can be worse than the actual concert. Some sound engineers, love to turn up the sound system to 11 (yes I’ve watched Spinal Tap once or twice) just to make sure that if the speakers, amplifiers or processors have any issues, it will show before the show….(see what I did there?).   At 110 decibels and over, hearing loss can happen after only a few minutes of exposure.

Here a link to a Decibel scale example

.http://www.industrialnoisecontrol.com/comparative-noise-examples.htm

The more time you are exposed to these kinds of levels the more chance you have to get permanent hearing loss.

So if you like to go to concerts like I do and you want to get the best sound possible but are concerned about hearing loss, invest a couple of bucks in some dissent earplugs.

Here is a cheap but ok Ear Plugs option

And here is a more expensive Ear Plugs option

 

High-Fidelity Electronic Musicians Earplugs

BTW, last but not least, it would be a shame for the Sound production company to invest so much money in better speakers, Amplifiers, Microphones, Lighting etc and for the sound engineer and the artist to spend so much time to make sure the sound is great if people turn up with foam ear plugs……..

Big sound systems, loud and clear… unfortunate if you use cheap foam ear plugs.   Setting up a stage lighting and sound equipment before the concert

Humpback Whales Singing…..

Well, this is something I never thought I was going to write on an AV/Production company page…..

I like the sea and I like the animals in it. I was looking around for some cool facts about sea animals with my daughter, and being a sound guy, I started to look at the audio side of it. Well, I just discovered that a Humpback whale produces moans, grunts, blasts and shrieks (called songs… possibly better than some of the songs I’ve seen on the net).  Each part of their song is made up of sound waves. Some of these sound waves are very high frequency but the Humpback Whale also emit very low-frequency sound waves. The range of frequencies that whales use is from 30 Hertz (Hz) to about 8,000 Hz, (8 kHz). These sound waves can travel very far in water without losing energy. Researchers believe that some of these low-frequency sounds can travel more than 8,000 miles in some levels of the ocean!

 

Here is a bit of background why the sounds travel that far.  I know some of you won’t believe me.

We all know that sound is a pressure wave, but this wave behaves slightly differently through the air as compared to water. Water is denser than air, so it takes more energy to generate a wave, but once a wave has started, it will travel further than it does in air.

 

Sound in air

In a gas like air, the particles are generally far apart so they travel further before they bump into one another. There is not much resistance to movement so it doesn’t take much to start a wave, but it won’t travel as far.

 

Sound in water

In water, the particles are much closer together, and they can quickly transmit vibration energy from one particle to the next. This means that the sound wave travels over four times farther than it would in the air, but it takes a lot of energy to start the vibration. A faint sound in air wouldn’t be transmitted in water as the wave wouldn’t have enough energy to force the water particles to move.

 

So basically, I think the Humpback Whale has a great set of lungs, can you imagine what they could do on a stage with a mic and a big PA?  

 

BTW Humpback Whales need to remember to breathe.  Differently, to humans, who breathe automatically, humpback whales do it voluntarily.  My daughter told me this….They breathe using their lungs and blowhole and have an amazing capacity for holding their breath.

Hee is a link from the National Geographic.  Thank you!

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/h/humpback-whale/

Image result for humpback-whale