ReSound Technologies, manufacturer of the visually invisible Be hearing aid, launched the new product at the American Academy of Audiology 20th Anniversary conference during a milestone event coined AudiologyNOW! in Charlotte, NC. Every year, companies compete to throw the best party on the final night of the conference, so ReSound Technologies trusted Firstwave Incentives to coordinate its party at the Forum lounge. The idea for ReSound was to create a James Bond theme to play off the low-profile and spy gadget-like qualities of the new product.
Our idea at Eye Dialogue Lighting & Sound was to create an event that allowed the guest to be a part of the film creation experience. We have worked with many film and music video directors, and many members of our staff have acting experience in addition to technical skills. Reflecting on our expertise, we wanted to capture the movie magic and create the thrill that even extras feel when they are in the background. We didn’t want just a theatrical party experience but a real movie experience.
Firstwave presented us with the title for the event: “Shaken & Stirred,” intentionally overstating the cliché, stripping away any pretension and leaving only fun. As guests were picked up, two 007 video collages played in the vehicles. The videos covered all the Bond films to date. One video was a montage of all the intros, and the other was a video of the action sequences. Rushed in through a covered entrance, the guests were immediately informed that, by entering the premise, they consented to be on film. Using film protocol, signs were posted in all entrances and common areas.
The entrance room was set up as storage for film and lighting equipment, makeup area, and behind-the-scenes interviews. Stacks of road cases lined the walls with lighting and film equipment in plain sight. PARs, Fresnels, moving lights, clamps, and cables rested on top of the cases, ready to be positioned for the next scene.
Along the wall opposite the bar, an interview station was set up to film guests being asked questions about the new product and mock questions about the “Shaken & Stirred” film. To add branding to the backstage area, we placed four truss towers with Chauvet Q-Spot 300™ moving lights scanning the room. Each tower had a Chauvet Colorado 1 LED fixture in the base, with custom gobos in the Q-Spot 300s. The logos spun around the room synchronizing with the color of the LEDs. And this was all just in the entrance room, in which all the features set the mood for the main room.
Three 9'x4' dance scrims lined the front of the stage, and a custom gobo in an ETC Source Four ellipsoidal projected “Shaken & Stirred at the Forum” across all three scrims. Three color-changing Elation Waterfall Pro 250 units were placed on the ground behind the scrims. By placing the fixtures on the ground, the dancers’ shadows filled the entire scrim.
The Forum already had a video and lighting system that we used to our advantage. The video screens were used to mix the branding content with both custom and stock videos. One of our staff VJs energetically mixed in and out of branding elements and 007 films, while all the Elation Power Spot 250s had custom gobos, sweeping through the dance floor.
Looking into the VIP room, a woman wearing nothing but gold, recalling the film Goldfinger, was uplit with bright amber light via an Elation Opti 30, an effect that was meant to call like a siren to men and women alike, tempting them into the VIP area. In a relatively dark room, she was the only object fully lit and standing in perfect stillness. We converted the upper bar into the casino room à la Casino Royale. We washed the room with Elation Opti RGB LEDs, each programmed independently to flux among shades of blue. In the corner of the upper bar, two giant die hung from the ceiling. A simple E27 incandescent socket white fixture was placed in the dice to contrast the deep blues saturating the room. We put custom card gobos in the four Q-Spot 300s representing the ace, king, queen, and jack of spades.
To add a mysterious quality, two windows made from screens, custom built by Eye Dialogue, suspended in the middle of the room played the same custom 007 content from the transportation on the way to the club. On top of the bar, we placed six oversized martini glasses and filled them with custom LED dice, each adorned with the Be logo.
The most popular room was the militia room. The coat check room was filled with camouflage netting, mortar munitions cans, grenades, and air soft weapons. Backlit in fabric flame effects from an American DJ Enferno, the room glowed red. The warm feeling of firelight and military bunker décor created a realistic munitions room.
Up in the mezzanine, we decided to put the party under water. Water effects via a Chauvet SX™ Abyss washed the room in an aquatic blue. Filled with suspended jellyfish, the room was simple yet effective. As the crowd below gazed up, it looked as if they were under water, a nod to Thunderball. The covered rooftop garden area was another VIP lounge with photographers and a custom martini glass ice sculpture by Ice Sensations.
I have done a lot of work with video company Techinc Productions, as well as with other independent filmmakers. With the economy suffering, I called in some favors so we could actually shoot a film during the event. I hired a director and producer to help me pull it together and to create realistic action scenes that could be done at a party. As guests arrived, stuntmen were practicing fight sequences, and the director was discussing blocking. We had Bond girls and villains, all actors acting like actors.
Between the décor, the interactive stations, and the actors rehearsing, we built the anticipation we needed to pull off a live film shoot. At 9:30pm, the film lights—ETC Source Four PARs and PARnels with a 22" Chimera Soft Box and a Lowel Pro-light 250W—powered on, blinding the crowd, and the 007 theme music filled the air. The director started calling out cues, the cameramen ran in, and the two-camera shoot could be seen on all the screens. As our Bond actor descended from the stairs with a beautiful date, a fight broke out. While the fight scene was dramatically portrayed on the video screens around the room, we kicked the music back in. In about five minutes, the crowd snapped out its collective stupor and became part of the scene. Everyone wanted to meet the actors. Some were convinced that this wasn’t just a party, but the event was for an upcoming film—sold!
Artistically, I was disappointed because the 500-person event turned into a 1,400-guest extravaganza, and we had to cut the last two “scenes” since no one could move. The rumor is that more than a quarter of the attendees of the convention came to the event. Competing with seven other parties that night, ReSound was a clear winner.
Jack Kelly is a audio/lighting designer and president of Eye Dialogue based in Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit www.eyedialogue.com.
Event Designer: Jack Kelly
Venue Coordinator: Kevin Mitchell
Event Coordinator: Firstwave Incentives
Video Director: Michael Denny
Video Producer: Techinc Productions
Light/Video Jockey: Paul Emrick
DJ: Steve Warwick
Technicians: Jessie Poreca, Michael Byrd
23 Elation Opti RGB
4 Elation Waterfall 250 Pro
1 Elation UV Wash
11 Elation Opti 30
8 Elation Power Spot 250
4 Elation Power Wash 250
11 Chauvet Q-Spot 300
6 Chauvet Colorado 1
7 Chauvet SX Abyss
2 Chauvet S-Mover
3 American DJ Fire Burst
4 American DJ Enfernos
1 American DJ Fantasy 250
1 American DJ Illusion 250
2 ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal
3 ETC Source Four PAR
2 ETC Source Four PARnel
with 22” Chimera Soft Box
2 Lowel Pro-light 250W
Philips/Color Kinetics iColor® Cove QL
Philips/Color Kinetics iColor® Flex SL
4 Antari S-200 Snow Machine
2 Antari Z-1020 Fog Machine
16 Custom Rosco Gobo
500 Custom Lite Dice
All Trussing by Global Truss
2 Da-Lite Screens
2 BenQ 2,000-Lumen Projectors
8 Vizio LCD Monitors
1 ViewSonic PJ402D Projector