Single-Source Convenience for Hybrid Events

Big Image Systems’ Kedar & Clamps System makes delivery and set up simple , safe and professional.

COVID-19. There we said it!

Since the arrival of the novel coronavirus, the live event and entertainment market has been disrupted like never before. It’s a tsunami. When the tide finally recedes the landscape of the live group event industry will be permanently changed.

The explosion in the popularity of hybrid and virtual events demonstrates how dramatic this change has already become. While Big Image Systems has worked behind the scenes on these types of events for many years, COVID-19 has brought this relatively small market segment out of the shadow of massive group experiences and into the limelight. As remote events grow in popularity by the minute, companies are pivoting to offer services and products to meet this demand in an ever-evolving marketplace.

ON Services, a GES company, is ideally positioned to offer clients the tools, resources and personnel to realize their hybrid and virtual event ideas.

When World System Builder (WSB) contracted ON Services to produce a hybrid event at WSB’s offices in San Jose, California, it was Senior Production Manager Brian Ferguson’s responsibility to not only deliver a high quality production, but also to weigh the additional challenges of time and crew safety.

“There’s a team that executes the technical package that has been sold as the end deliverables,” Ferguson says. “For this event, I was brought in as the Project Manager after the initial pitch and I put together the final equipment package.”

Unlike a completely virtual event, a hybrid event uses a physical “mainstage” at a remote location. This serves as the central hub for the production and anchors the virtual online content built around it. In this case, ON Services was hired to erect a 32’ x 8’ backdrop for the set.

“We went to the client’s headquarters and set up a newsroom studio for an emcee and one of their presenters,” he explains. “This was like a regular TV studio. We brought in 16 remote presenters. The two people in the studio would interact with the remote presenters. Each remote presenter would make his or her presentation, then we would come back to the emcee interacting with them. Then the emcee would introduce the next segment.”

The Pandemic magnified the typical logistical challenges, so Ferguson weighed all the options to find the solutions that both satisfied the client and ensured the health and safety of the crew.

“The equipment and fabric print package needed to be lowweight and easy-to-ship,” Ferguson says. “Weight was a big factor because we didn’t want to send a big truck out there. The primary goals were to set up, rehearse, and do a live broadcast for 188,000 people who had registered for this event. We had one day to set it up, one day to rehearse, and one day to broadcast, all with a minimal crew so we could follow social distancing guidelines. It was key to have a scenic package that could be set up with minimal time and labor requirements.”

However, ON Services found itself facing longer-thannormal turnaround times for the backdrop they needed to fulfill the order. In the current climate of COVID-19, production times have become tricky with vendors implementing strict stay-at-home orders.

“Normally, ON Services would get all its printing done in Atlanta where our headquarters is located,” Ferguson says, “but that would have required three weeks of lead time. I’d rather give my business to someone who is responsive — who provides better customer service and a better product.”

Fortunately, Big Image Systems is—and has been—open for business. To streamline the stage package, Ferguson turned to our Eastern Regional Sales Representative, Larry Sterling.

“Big Image had been on my radar for years,” he says. “I knew that [other suppliers] had been outsourcing to Big Image for years for really big prints. About six years ago, I purchased some prints and hardware from Larry, and I’ve been working with him ever since.”

“I really liked the printing quality that was coming over from Sweden,” Ferguson continues. “I can get better quality, less expensive prints shipped from Sweden than I can trying to buy these domestically. So, the deciding factor for me was the ability to turn around a custom-printed product quickly and simply without going through a lot of hassle. I knew I could order the fabric print from Europe and it would reach me faster and for less than I would have had to spend if I used a print house here in the United States.”

With production details for the printed backdrop set, Ferguson now had to address the best way to quickly
install it on the stage.

“We had to be able to use rental pipe and drape hardware,” he says. “I hadn’t used Kedar and Clamps [for this type of application] before, but Larry and I had kicked around the idea because I’d been using the Kedar and framing systems and nonprinted fabrics when I needed custom, quick projection screens.”

The Kedar and Clamp systems from Big Image offered ON Services the ability to instantly convert the venue’s pipe and base into a stand-alone display system for hanging the stage backdrop. Because it eliminates the need for heavy, hard walls or a truss, the Kedar and Clamps system allowed Ferguson to keep weight and crew to a minimum to facilitate a safe, fast load-in. “I opted to go with Big Image instead of hauling scenic panels that would then have to have the prints applied to them,” Ferguson says. “I was also purchasing some more inventory to go with the BIS hardware I already have— some Kedar track and Clamps—so I’ll be able to use these in the future, too.”

The event was a success. “Our client loved it,” Ferguson says. “We actually just had a call from their parent company wanting to do something similar.”

He is enthusiastic about using Kedar and Clamps for more hybrid events. “This is one more tool in the tool set,” he adds. “It definitely gives us the ability to do custom, themed backgrounds very quickly. This approach works very well because it can be deployed rapidly, safely and cost-effectively.”

It’s clear that hybrid and fully virtual meetings are in high demand—and that the need for these will persist for the foreseeable future. The Kedar and Clamp System from Big Image Systems is the perfect choice for companies who are looking for new ways to instantly and easily transform any space for hybrid and virtual events.

To learn how the Kedar and Clamp System can transform your next hybrid, virtual or live event click HERE.

Big Image Systems is the premier producer of digital printing for the live event marketplace. Big Image Systems’ proprietary INFINITUS printers are the only ones in the world capable of seamless printing 40’ x 160.’ Learn more about the INFINITUS difference by clicking HERE.

Big Image Systems is a proud supplier for ON Services. To learn more about ON Services and the range of possibilities they can offer for your next event click HERE.