Audiovisual technology has transformed what is possible with live events. Attending ISE 2019 in Amsterdam in February is the best way to stay ahead of the game.
For anyone who’s ever organised a majorevent, the challenge is always, “How do I do it better next time?”
(Note: Blooloop readers can register for a free ISE visitor pass, using the unique code 407181. Blooloop is also holding a half day attractionsTECH conference on the morning of Friday 8th February which also includes entry to ISE. Find out more here.)
It’s already hard enough to engage and/or impress the increasingly blasé ‘been there, seen that, bought the t-shirt’ crowd, without having to be even more impressive next time out.
We’re long past the time when a major presentation simply involved more complex PowerPoint slides. Projection, in particular, has revolutionised what’s possible. It’s now much more than just a technologically advanced overhead or a 35mm slide projector. Anyone who hasn’t followed the latest developments not only in projection, but also media servers and advanced tracking technologies will likely be startled at what’s possible; and for remarkably little money; in transforming any event from the unremarkable to the extraordinary.
Perhaps the most significant technology when it comes to spectacular live events is projection mapping.
“Put simply,” says Lucy Meredith, Product Marketing Specialist at Panasonic, “projection mapping works by using high powered media servers, alongside tracking software and high brightness projection to create live 3D mappings on moving objects as part of live shows, concerts, museums and more.”
“A great example,” she says, “is the recent Fast and Furious UK and European Tour; which saw 42 Panasonic laser projectors combined with disguise media servers and BlackTrax tracking to live map 42 cars around an arena floor.”
State-of-the-art projection mapping is incredibly effective for live events – but fantastic visual effects are possible on a much smaller scale.
“With projection mapping, the project starts as a blank canvas – and almost anything is possible. The restrictions are only the producer’s imagination,” says Mark Wadsworth, International Marketing Manager at Digital Projection. “Demand from the market has seen large-scale projection become more than just a ‘big TV’. And today’s technologies also allow creative artists and entertainment specialists to deliver the elusive ‘Wow!’ factor.”
Fabian Stumpfl, Co-CEO of AV Stumpfl, a manufacturer of projection screens and media control systems, picks up on the theme of scale.
“In the past, the use of broadcast setups and high resolution LED displays; in addition to more conservative lighting and sound setups; was often limited to high budget or large scale events,” he notes. “With prices in many of these product categories dropping, more and more small and medium scale event producers are looking at presenting their audience with increasingly sophisticated setups.”
Likewise, as the cost of using this technology has reduced, the ease at which an event can be staged has increased.
“We’re always being asked for more brightness in ever decreasing projector sizes,” says Wadsworth. “Live events often have limited setup time, and for that reason, rigging big, heavy projectors is never ideal. We’re also constantly working on making the setup of these events easier. So, smaller, brighter projectors, with more built-in software and more advanced network control is a key theme of our developments for this market.”
AV Stumpfl says it is experiencing similar customer expectations.
“Customers want us to eliminate unnecessary complexity, and to have a truly user-friendly approach to system integration. And that, increasingly, is our focus,” discloses the company’s Co-CEO.
Cheaper, smaller, lighter, more functional, easier to deploy; the audiovisual (AV) technology it takes to create a compelling show is rapidly falling within the reach and abilities of almost any size of organisation. Like the rest of the AV industry, inevitably, new developments are coming thick and fast in the field of live events. For those responsible for executing them, staying ahead of those developments is a continuing challenge.
There is, however, an answer. Every February, at the RAI exhibition centre in Amsterdam, the Integrated Systems Europe conference and trade show takes place. It is, by some margin, the largest audiovisual technology and solutions event in the world. ISE 2018, for example, saw over 1,200 exhibitors taking part – and over 80,000 audiovisual professionals visited the show. ISE 2019 takes place 5 – 8 February.
“Anyone who visits ISE will find that it enables them to develop a much broader understanding of what’s available for their application,” says Wadsworth. “For live events, that allows them to brief their projects better – to be more able to discuss what’s possible. More than that, though, ISE also provides the opportunity to be inspired. It enables visitors to take the next step, and to go beyond what they thought was achievable.”
Pushing boundaries at ISE 2019
The inspiration to which Wadsworth refers, finds an excellent example in the live show on the Panasonic stand. A feature of ISE for years, it has pushed new boundaries and is truly a ‘must see’ at the event.
“From live fashion catwalks to projection mapped sports cars, from 4K robotic screens to projection mapped robotic dance shows – we’ve done it all,” says Meredith. “We showcase how Panasonic hardware works seamlessly with the industry’s leading players in tracking, media servers and holographics. Once again, it will be a feature of our ISE stand.”
In addition to the exhibition space on the show floor, ISE hosts several leading industry conferences throughout the week. On 8 February 2019, AttractionsTECH by blooloop takes place at Hotel Okura and will examine how the latest technology is transforming visitor attractions. Insights from leading players will provide delegates with a whirlwind update on the opportunities in this vibrant sector.
Complementing this is the XR Summit half-day strategy conference. It is focused on the innovations in and solutions provided by virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The XR Summit will take place on 5 February 2019 in the Hotel Okura, as part of ISE’s comprehensive conference programme, and will explore the fast-developing industry and also how it can benefit professionals from across the industry sectors.
“ISE is the place to be inspired by what AV technology can do,” Fabian Stumpfl says. “But, it’s also the place to meet the people behind that technology, and find out more about it. Uncovering something that might be useful – or even a game changer – is valuable in itself. Finding the know-how to make it all work together is perhaps even more so.”
“Even better,” he says, “is the timing of ISE. It means that knowledge gained there can be put into practice in the spring or summer. This of course is when the majority of live events take place.”
An example of the game-changing technology to which Stumpfl referred might be found on the Digital Projection stand. There, the company will be highlighting what it calls ‘Multi-View 3D’ projection. The company also believes that its new technology will transform 3D, creating a much more immersive experience with real sharing and interaction.
ISE 2019 is an ideal one stop shop
“The fact is,” says Stumpfl, “that as increasing numbers of young people are training in live event technology. As best-practise examples get shared within the tech community, or even on YouTube, many more mainstream event organisers are also beginning to embrace technologies they might have considered too complex only a few years ago.”
Fundamentally, that is what ISE 2019 is about. The opportunity to share information about the state of the art in AV technology. In addition, for those charged with delivering live events, it represents an ideal one stop shop. It allows them to learn about not only what’s possible today, but also what will be possible tomorrow. In just four days, “doing it better next time” just got a whole lot easier.
For more information on ISE 2019, and to register, please visit www.iseurope.org.
Lead image courtesy Lisbon Under Stars, Ocubo 2018. Other images courtesy of Wildwood PR.