Citi LIVE20 October 2020
After months in the desolation of a Covid live event landscape, Prime AV ran our first large scale live event last week. Although the audience was limited to 100 due to the current Covid restrictions, the scale of the technical spec was huge and provided us with the challenge we had been waiting for. Have a look at the case study here.
Prime Live17 August 2020
Our business model needed a complete overhaul as live events shifted into the virtual world. The accessibility and simplicity of platforms like Zoom put virtual meetings at the fingertips of everyone. As the lockdown commenced, a huge percentage of the workforce began to work from home and these meeting platforms became invaluable. We all got used to the look and feel of a zoom meeting. We got used to seeing cats and kids in the background or our colleagues seemingly logged in from Hawaii or outer space. We needed to break that mould and provide a professional broadcast look for our customers. This was becoming the new normal, so we had to get it right.
We had been involved with streaming live events for years. Streaming an event to a remote audience or streaming in a keynote presenter for a local audience was common practice for us. Running a fully virtual event, however, was a new challenge.
Our research and development began straight away and it was divided into two elements. Content production & management, and secondly, content delivery. There are numerous content delivery platforms available, from YouTube and Facebook through to fully customisable virtual networking platforms. There is no one size fits all in this realm and the platforms cater to specific requirements. Close consultation is required to determine the best fit and although we offer suggestions and advice, we leave the content delivery decision to our customers.
We focused heavily on content production and management. After weeks of trials and tribulations we transformed some of our warehouse space into a 3 camera studio and a control suite. With the assistance of the City of Sydney, Prime Live was born. We invested in new software and the hardware required to drive it so we can offer a professional base for virtual events. We have the ability to manage multiple events simultaneously from the one location.
The “pop-up” nature of our studio means we can set it up in just about anywhere - we can bring it to you. The option of green screens and virtual sets, along with professional cameras, microphones and lighting provides for a broadcast quality result at minimal expense.
The COVID-19 Challenge30 June 2020
Like many in the live events industry, the bottom fell out of our market in mid-March this year. Over a period of about 10 days we saw all future bookings for the year cancelled or indefinitely postponed. At that point in time there was no mention of JobKeeper or other Government assistance packages and there was no end in sight for what has been a devastating blow to businesses, small and large, all over the world.
As a small business we had to make some quick decisions. We had an incredibly stable and committed team so it was a very tough call to make 40% of the positions redundant. The remainder of the team agreed to a reduction in hours as our regular work dried up.
We dropped into work from home mode and the adventure began. We spent week’s trialling software to ensure we could offer the latest virtual event options to our customers. These trials occasionally required us to work from the warehouse but we usually ran them in isolation. We would “get together” on a zoon call every Friday afternoon to catch up over a beer or 3 and compare notes.
Our techs have been upskilling constantly over the last few months and their ideas are regularly implemented in our productions. We are being as agile and adaptable as possible while working in a COVID Safe environment.
Our customers have been very supportive during this time. Many of them are working through their own re-structuring of ideas and methodologies and we have been able to assist with this process. We shared a steep learning curve in the transition to fully virtual events and have mutually benefited from numerous trials, mock events and system tests to push the boundaries. We do see a light at the end of the tunnel and we have our customers’ tenacity and flexibility to thank for that.
The AV industry as a whole has come together over recent months with colleagues and competitors constantly in touch with each other to ensure things are ok and to bounce around ideas. What started out as tips and tricks for reducing costs as we were shutting down, evolved into sharing what works and what pitfalls to avoid in the virtual event world. The support has been fantastic in what could otherwise have been a very demoralising time.
While the world is facing unprecedented challenges, it is flexibility and adaptability that will see us through.