Do We Need All The Bells And Whistles?
Our World | On 29, Nov 2012
I had the pleasure of being in the audience at a Greg Davies comedy gig recently. The English comedian, famous for his roles as the headmaster in C4’s ‘The in-betweeners’ and the dad in BBC3’s Cuckoo, was hilariously funny. As we waited for the show to begin I looked around at the kit in place at the Northampton theatre (old habits die hard). Some basic up lighters on stage and a wash of lights rigged overhead. One technician at the back of the room stood behind a reasonably basic sound desk controlling only the two SM58 microphones (hand held with a wire to you and me) on stage with a handful of musical cues throughout the performance. In other words, it was as basic as it comes.
At P&MM Live we are often referred to as the AV department…a phrase that I have to admit curls our toes slightly as we do not own even a small projector let alone any kit that would service one of our client events. We have great relationships with our AV partners who are able to keep their kit cutting edge and turn our ‘what’ into a ‘how’.
Content is key
The show I saw was brilliant, not because it had the most expensive kit to wow the audience, but because the comedian had spent days, weeks and months developing his material. His content was so gripping and delivered in such an engaging way that he didn’t need smoke, lights and drama to bring it to life. You may be reading this thinking ‘but don’t they sell the lights and drama for a living?’ and yes, it is part of our business. However your next budget just may be put to better use by investing in a few days of a Producer’s time to develop your content rather than the fancy moving lights. A script writer for your awards ceremony or conference could ensure that what is being said is so engaging and memorable you don’t need hugely expensive AV to dress it up. A creative director could develop a theme that has longevity and impact way beyond the size of the screen on stage.
We love to try out new technology and use the latest AV to stimulate business messages that ‘are what they are’. The video mapping that complimented Madness at the Jubilee celebrations this summer was breath taking, as was the individual lighting around the Olympic stadium that lit up during the opening and closing ceremonies. Even the amount of costumes and glitter used to produce your local pantomime this Christmas will be unreal. However, whilst as a nation we’re still chugging through a financially difficult time, we have found some clients cautious in using all the bells and whistles, as it may give the audience the perception there’s lots of spare cash. Cash that could have been spent on more important areas of the business, like avoiding redundancies or a pay rise. Yet content development is a product that is difficult for people to price up and can be more effective than installing Blackpool illuminations on your set.
This really isn’t a sales pitch – in fact the opposite. Rest assured that if you enlist the help of P&MM Live to deliver your next event production, we will not just be selling dazzling AV at every opportunity but genuinely looking at which tools are best to deliver your message.