Atlanta Company Stages Event While Picking Up A/V Award

Imagine if your company won an award for excellence in its field and you were invited to be feted at a gala awards ceremony. Then imagine that, instead of just accepting the award, your company had the opportunity to show those gathered how much you deserve the award by staging the ceremony. This spring, for the second year in a row, that was the exact situation that Multi Media Services, Atlanta, found itself in. At the April Consumers' Choice Awards' at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel, the company accepted the award for Best Audio Visual Rental Company, while simultaneously handling technical staging chores.

“When they called us about winning, we worked out a plan with them to do the staging, as well as receiving the award,” explains Keith Taylor, executive VP of Multi Media Services.

Warren Savage, news anchor for WSB-TV Atlanta, presents the Consumers’ Choice Award for Best Audio Visual Rental Company to Heather Corbin of Multi Media Services.

The Consumer Choice Awards identified 100 categories of businesses that were eligible for awards and invited representatives from those businesses to the gala.

“We had about 400 guests this year,” says event producer Jeff Chernoff. “On our end, for the event's visuals, we put together the PowerPoint program that included images that represented all recipients of the awards.”

Multi Media put in a great deal of preparation before the show. “They wanted to have a really good band and great lighting and great sound, and especially, bright video projection,” says Lon Slack, Multi Media's director of A/V rental and staging operations. “They also felt it was important not to have any quick cuts of shots in the video, so they asked us to create some dissolves. They also wanted to show [IMAG] on the screen of what was going on, as well as the sponsor's slides.”

“We had two Sony D30 cameras that we used to capture images of the show as it was happening,” says Keith Chalpan, Multi Media's director of event and show staging. “The staging also included two front projection, 9'×12' Da-Lite screens that were flown on either side of the stage. We brought in Atlanta Sound and Lighting, and we worked with them on the staging. For the video, we used two Dell personal computers — one was set up as the primary unit for the PowerPoint program, and the other one handled show logos and other graphics. We used the Analog Way Graphics II switcher to scale both the IMAG content and the images from the PowerPoint program.”

A technical team from the Consumers' Choice Awards provided the PowerPoint program that detailed the winners' products and/or services. These were then projected onto the video screens.

“The Analog Way switcher really allowed us to go seamlessly between PowerPoint and video fillers and IMAG from the cameras,” Taylor adds. “We could just throw the category onto the screens. Then, [they would announce] ‘And the winner is …,’ and we would project the name of the company and its logo and maybe the owner's name. We covered them as they walked up to the stage and received the award. When they were shaking hands, we turned to IMAG with the video camera and zoomed in on the master of ceremonies, as well as the award recipient. After they walked off the stage, we went back to the Consumers' Choice Award logo. By using the Analog Way switcher, we were able to fade between those sources in a smooth, professional manner.”

Catherine McHugh is a regular contributor to SRO and Entertainment Design magazines. She has been covering live event design for over a decade.