The Production Network (TPN) and LMG, Inc. recently teamed up to deliver the keynotes at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the International CES, produced by Consumer Electronics Association®. CES was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Sands Expo and Convention Center/Venetian Resort and Casino. The keynote addresses, held at the Venetian, brought in between 2,000 and 4,200 per show.

TPN provided the production management and design for the keynote addresses, and LMG served as the HD video vendor. Together, the companies supported five keynote addresses from Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Motorola’s Ed Zander, Disney’s Robert Iger, Dell’s Michael Dell, and CBS’ Leslie Moonves.

“This year, we had a lot more HD playback content, in every conceivable format,” says Neil Morrison, LMG’s video services manager. “All of the keynoters brought digital media content files instead of VHS tapes or DVDs, so we opted for on-site transcoding. The transcoder works as a digital funnel. It takes all the different formats and funnels them into compatible, usable formats.”

LMG supported all five keynotes with HD projectors, HD cameras, and HD switching—gathering information from 50 computer sources. The two entertainment companies (Disney and CBS) upped the use of video. Disney’s keynote included an ESPN piece that was similar to switching a live sporting event. In addition to delivering the show, LMG provided multiple standard- and high-definition records and uplink feeds, I-MAG, and web feeds.

“We automated the video portion of the show so we could switch from rehearsal A to rehearsal B to rehearsal C back to performance A without missing a beat,” adds Morrison. “It made leap-frogging between rehearsals and performances a breeze.”

TPN faced two major challenges as a result of CES’s move to the Venetian after nearly a decade at the Hilton Theatre. First, the Venetian’s ballroom did not have permanent lighting fixtures, a change from the Hilton Theatre. Second, three of the five keynotes were lit by different designers. TPN found a solution in an automated lighting plot. The plot enabled the company to use 250 lights as opposed to 1,000 conventional lights—cutting focus time to 20 minutes.

“When we started to create the schedule in pre-production, we were cutting it close on time,” explains Richard Moore, principal and chief innovation officer with TPN. “The automated lighting plot was a solid economic trade-off for us. It was more expensive on the front-end but saved money on labor and much-needed time on show site.”

After nine months of planning, the show was delivered without a hitch.

“Our success was largely due to the planning and familiarity that The Production Network and our core vendor partners—LMG, ATK and Christie Lites—have with this event. When you have a group of individuals as strong as the group we assembled for this one, it makes my job much easier,” says Steve Kidd, lead production manager.