Author: Drew Menard

Audio Design for a Corporate Function

Audio for corporate functions can be simple.  It can also be complex.  Audio design for a corporate function should be much more than whacking up a couple of powered boxes and plugging a lectern in.  But unfortunately, that is often the approach AV companies make because it has been okay once.  Sound serves many purposes in a corporate function.  So it is appropriate to spend time on the design and make sure that you are delivering the audio that your client is expecting at their corporate function.

 

Purpose

Audio can serve a number of purposes at a corporate function.  It is the background music playing when the attendees enter and leave.  Sometimes, it is the soundtrack to video packages that might be introducing a new product.  Then it comprises of the big effect of a reveal.  And most importantly it can serve to reinforce the human voice.  And most specifically, it is the sound of the speaking human voice.  Not singing.

 

The first step in the audio design for corporate functions is to look at where the audience will be located.  Will they be seated?  Are they going to be standing around high bar tables and listening to a Sales Manager’s quick congratulations before getting into the fun part of an event?  Could they be moving around a venue or multiple venues, and will you need to keep them engaged and excited for an extended period?

Q and A
The focus of the presentation part of a corporate function

Voice in a Corporate Function

 

Audio design can either reinforce or take away from the attention of the event.  If there is one speaker presenting at a time, it might be fine to have the sound of the speaker’s voice coming at the patrons from the front, top, and sides of the audience area.  But if you have two speakers interacting, or a panel discussion, it is most appropriate to make the audio reinforce the centre of attention, and appear to have the panellists as the actual audio source.

When focusing on two people having a conversation, and the sound comes from a different location, it is offputting.  This is the intelligibility of the conversation.  Audio consultants will spend great amounts of time on the Speech Transmission Index of a specific room (http://www.embeddedacoustics.com/index.php/speech-transmission-index/9-intro/sti).  This is why the direction the delay speakers are pointing, as well as their delay calibration,  is of vital importance.  Delay speakers should subtly reinforce the main arrays, not be obvious in and of themselves.

Frequency Range

To further complicate it, the human voice uses a different part of its range when speaking as compared to singing (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4155173/).  When speaking, the intensity is much more consistent and the frequency range is much more constrained.  When singing, a performer will have a greater dynamic range. Then they may modulate the sound of their voice to express emotion or content.

This is made even more complex when comparing different types of music.  Folk singers don’t modulate their voices nearly as much as a jazz singer, or an opera singer would.  So in audio design for a corporate function, it is important to EQ a system paying attention to the speaking voice.  This is the ‘phone voice’ range.  It can be correlated to how the human ear perceives sound, dBA weighting (https://www.cirrusresearch.co.uk/library/documents/ebooks/noise-measurement-terminology-guide.pdf).

This can be further contrasted to the frequency range of the orchestra.

Singer vs. Orchestra in a Corporate Function
The frequency range of a singer compared to that of an orchestra

Music in a Corporate Function

This same approach to the voice can be utilized with music.  But with a simpler application.

 

Background music is fine to be the same level throughout the listening area.  But part of the corporate function can be for the attendees to communicate with each other, ie networking or mingling.  EQ should be changed to not compete with the sound of the spoken voice when it is.

Then…what do you do with a band in a corporate function.  We have three possible approaches to this question of audio design:

  • Strictly background
    • This is a live group that is there to supply a live band that is not the focus.
    • Approach like background music
  • Dancefloor band
    • This is normally an after-dinner party act.
    • You want the dancefloor to be loud enough that people can get up and dance (often embarrassingly). But people not on the dancefloor need to be able to converse without yelling.
  • Concert act
    • This is approached like a concert, and you will normally need to adhere to an act’s technical rider.
    • When they are on, all focus is on the band.

 

Hopefully, this will help you in laying out your speaker setup, delay zones and system matrix.

 

Our Client Relationship Ethos

Since working at RTR Productions, my love for the industry has grown. This is not only due to the excitement of the events we work on, but it is also down to the client relationships we have built in the process. Teamwork is an irreplaceable aspect to a business that functions well, and at RTR it certainly speaks volumes about the work we do with our clients. Forming relationships from the ground up is so important, and ensures that we meet client anticipations to a high standard.

Getting to know you!

Any conversation should begin with optimism. We are here to help make the clients vision a reality. Let’s get excited! What are the clients expectations? What is the clients inspiration?  How does the clients want guests to feel? Not only does this give me valuable information about the event itself, it gives me an insight to the client as a person. Every event we produce, we make sure the foundation is strong with the client we are collaborating with. Let’s meet for a coffee and chat!

Now that I know a little about the client and the direction of the event, an understanding is met and trust is built. This will aid any questions about the production, and how we can help resolve it. I always make sure to get the details of the event confirmed by the client; this is to ensure any information I transfer to a quote is reliable. With the basic groundwork in place, any questionable aspects of the project can be worked out together with the clients needs in the forefront of the solution.

We find discussing an event face to face more beneficial to production standards, and creates a better bond between ourselves and the client.

The sticky bit…

Of course, there’s always the sticky bit of every event! What is the budget? The last thing we want is the client to feel uncomfortable when discussing the monetary side of a job. If the client has a budget, and we establish this at the start, we are able to then provide viable options for the event that will still give the client a successful outcome! We do not want anyone feeling deflated or unable to accomplish what they set out to do. We can build an effective plan together so the client has an effective event experience!

Events

Once the equipment leaves our warehouse and is installed, it does not mean our job is done! Keeping the lines of communication open is paramount to ensuring the event goes smoothly. Every job that we do is a continuous conversation, and every bit of feedback is constructive to ensure we execute our role exceptionally. At RTR we don’t just keep promises, we deliver them 😊

Anna Mullan

Client Relationship Extraordinaire

Since working at RTR Productions, my love for the industry has grown. This is not only due to the excitement of the events we work on, but it is also down to the client relationships we have built in the process. Teamwork is an irreplaceable aspect to a business that functions well, and at RTR it certainly speaks volumes about the work we do with our clients. Forming relationships from the ground up is so important, and ensures that we meet client anticipations to a high standard.

Getting to know you!

Any conversation should begin with optimism. We are here to help make the clients vision a reality. Let’s get excited! What are the clients expectations? What is the clients inspiration?  How does the clients want guests to feel? Not only does this give me valuable information about the event itself, it gives me an insight to the client as a person. Every event we produce, we make sure the foundation is strong with the client we are collaborating with. Let’s meet for a coffee and chat!

Now that I know a little about the client and the direction of the event, an understanding is met and trust is built. This will aid any questions about the production, and how we can help resolve it. I always make sure to get the details of the event confirmed by the client; this is to ensure any information I transfer to a quote is reliable. With the basic groundwork in place, any questionable aspects of the project can be worked out together with the clients needs in the forefront of the solution.

We find discussing an event face to face more beneficial to production standards, and creates a better bond between ourselves and the client.

The sticky bit…

Of course, there’s always the sticky bit of every event! What is the budget? The last thing we want is the client to feel uncomfortable when discussing the monetary side of a job. If the client has a budget, and we establish this at the start, we are able to then provide viable options for the event that will still give the client a successful outcome! We do not want anyone feeling deflated or unable to accomplish what they set out to do. We can build an effective plan together so the client has an effective event experience!

Events

Once the equipment leaves our warehouse and is installed, it does not mean our job is done! Keeping the lines of communication open is paramount to ensuring the event goes smoothly. Every job that we do is a continuous conversation, and every bit of feedback is constructive to ensure we execute our role exceptionally. At RTR we don’t just keep promises, we deliver them 😊

Anna Mullan

Client Relationship Extraordinaire

Site visit for designing event production!

This blog outlines some key aspects that you should consider when doing a site visit for your next event. Choosing the right venue or site for your upcoming event is one of the most crucial steps of any event.

We are involved in event production and mostly liaise with organisers when the site has been confirmed. Most organizers are unaware of the venue constraints until we start looking into the production requirements.

Choosing a venue with a high number of constraints can easily blow out any production budget, we also acknowledge that nobody likes to go over budget!
If you wish to stay within the budget allowance, I outline some basic technical elements that you should consider on your next site visit.

Technical considerations during a site visit –

Power

Without sufficient power, there isn’t a suitable production! The term sufficient is dependent on the scale of your event, smaller events can possibly get by with few 240V circuits, medium to large events will require 3phase power and sometimes multiple 3phase outlets.

It is normal to hire generators for events; however, you can reduce the running costs of an event if a portion of the power (if not all) is provided by the venue/site itself.

 

Loading area’s and parking

One of the biggest drivers of cost to any production is labour.

If you put on your ‘Bump-In/out’ hat (crew’s POV) for this, you will quickly realise, the easier the access to the event area the less time it is to get the equipment from the truck to the event area. The closer the loading zone to the space, the shorter the distance.

Essentially as an event organiser, you can save big on labour costs when you think like this during the site visit.
Also consider obstacles such as stairs, lifts, no dedicated loading zones, and no car parking.

 

Production design vs Venue constraints 

This is a common challenge in galleries but it is definitely not limited to just galleries. Most AV aspects can be tweaked to suit the site, when we consider projection, there is very little wiggle room. There are set parameters to work within, if the space has not considered the guidelines during the planning stages.  It is unlikely that you will achieve the desired outcome.

These parameters are dependent on many variables and are based on your event requirements. If there is an element of projection in your event, general things to consider should be –

  1. Competing light in the room
  2. Distance (from the projector to screen)
  3. Projection size (size of the image)

 

Off course there are many other things your production company will need to consider once the production requirements have been locked down. However, considering the above during initial planning stages can leave you pretty close to your desired outcome and with some spare pocket change, they will end up being fairly deep pockets too!

I hope this post helps you get better prepared for the next site visit!
If you need further assistance feel free to call RTR Productions! We can provide technical advice, production design, audio production, staging designs, and temporary structures/Rigs services.

Before I end this blog, below are some general things event planners often forget to clarify upfront.

General considerations during a site visit –

  1. Venue operating times
    • Make sure the production company bump-in/out during the allocated times.
  2. Request for site floor plans
    • Forward this to your production company at the very start, helps us quote for things accurately.
  3. Storage areas
    • We need a place to store our road cases.
  4. Essential tools for your next site visit.
    •  Get yourself a laser tape. That’s what we used to measure up the very uneven floor at Fed Square, check out this link to see the structure    http://www.rtrproductions.com.au/pop-up-structures-for-events you can buy one here quite cheaply
    • https://www.totaltools.com.au/109223-leica-disto-d2-100m-laser-distance-measurer-lg837031
    • Leica D2 in action during our site visit for designing an event production .

RTR specialty rigging g at Dulux Colour Awards

Creative Ways to Build

The 8th of May saw a creatively spectacular event put on by The Valentina Group Agency at the National Gallery of Victoria.  RTR Production assisted with the production for the first time this year.  Custom and specialty rigging is a cornerstone of the services that RTR provides to its clients.

RTR specialty rigging
Adnate’s beautiful portrait hanging from RTR’s custom double arch

Amazing and immersive events that always surpass any of the attendees’ expectations are what The Valentina Group Agency is known for.  This year’s Dulux Colour Awards at NGV’s Great Hall were even bigger.  This was in thanks to amazing event design and a HUGE mural by famed Australian muralist Adnate painted onsite.

 

The NGV Production department and The Valentina Group asked RTR Productions to provide specialty rigging that would form a giant easel.  Adnate specialises in very large-form fine art portraits carried out as murals on the sides of buildings.  He actually has created the tallest mural in the Southern Hemisphere on the Wellington Street flats in Collingwood, Victoria.  For the Dulux Colour Awards, he created a 7.6m x 4.8m portrait live during the actual award presentation.

 

RTR Provides Specialty Rigging for Artwork

RTR Productions used Euro Truss 300mm box truss to create a double truss arch to support the massive painting.  Their riggers put together a 9m tall structure, with additional bracing. Then, this structure framed a custom aluminium tube grid, which in turn held the giant painting.  The experienced riggers than mounted individual panels to become a composite structure.  Adnate actually had to paint from a scissor lift to reach the whole painting it was so large.

 

One of the most amazing feats of the evening was that the NGV’s Great Hall was open to the public until noon that day.  The crew unpacked the entire structure and built it in just a few hours.  This had to happen to allow time to rig the individual panels on the custom grid.  RTR chose to paint this custom grid Dulux Duramax Gloss Hot Lips red to match the design of the event. Giant red velvet drapes framed the event space and a very creative custom stage as well.

The Valentina Group’s Marisa Sabljak said:

“To have that structure up so quickly and to have it look so spectacular was an incredible feat. The client and the artist were extremely happy with the finished product.”

Check out some more of Adnate’s amazing work here:  https://www.adnate.com.au/

AFL Event hits the mark!

The AFL Season has begun!  And RTR Productions are happy to have been part of the North Melbourne Football Club’s jumper presentation.  This AFL event is a big part of the sporting calendar.   

March 6th saw a large number of the North Melbourne faithful on hand to witness the new players of the 2019 Kangaroos get their first NMFC jumpers.  RTR was chosen to supply audio, lighting, vision, and additional rigging to the Melbourne Pavilion to assist delivering the evening to North Melbourne’s AFL members. The Kangaroos’ Events team wanted to wow their membership with their new team members.  So RTR’s creative staff came up with a bespoke design that would complement the industrial aesthetic of the Pavilion.

The Plan

There were two parts to the evening.  The first part of the evening was an acoustic performance in a side area, while club members came in and got situated.  There was also a media wall as members entered and some external activations. Then the evening proper began with much enthusiasm in the main area of the venue.  

Production-wise, a large truss arch was erected at the rear of the stage to rig the large projection screen from.  The events team wanted to deliver their creative content in a projection that fit along with what was happening on stage, rather than take over.  Additional lighting was set on truss uprights across the stage as well as under the industrial roof trusses. The PA system was set up around the room to work in with the many columns in the building and not visually impair on the event.  This AFL event was all about the players, and the production was there to support that point.

North Melbourne Greats

The end result was an evening with impact:  One that members felt included in, rather than just presented to; and came across great in all the social media photos and streaming videos.

Another great sports event with RTR Productions.

https://www.nmfc.com.au/video/2019-03-07/jumper-presentations-season-launch-2019

NMFC Season Launch
The Season has begun!

Your Partner in Events