Behind the Scenes on a Corporate Conference

Last week I wasn’t able to write a new update to our blog as I was busy working away on two separate conferences we were running. So this week I thought I’d step away from our series on marketing strategy and instead pull back the curtain on what life is like behind the scenes on a conference.

Live Events

load in

Long before any of the 250+ delegates check into their hotel rooms, we arrive on site and begin the process of loading flight case after flight case into the venue as we get ready to begin building the set. Depending on the venue this process can take anywhere between one and three hours.

set build

Once all the gear is in place and on site it’s time to start building the set, rigging lighting and running a frankly terrifying amount of cables around the room to make sure that everything works right. Months before we’d already made detailed plans for the layout of the room, where the set will go, where the a/v desk will be positioned etc. so this part of the process is simply about following the plan.

This is the lengthiest part of the whole job as it’s important to make sure we get everything exactly right. From making sure projection screens are hung at the precise height and distance specified in the plans, to aligning different set pieces and getting the staging (stage floor) to be level and in the correct position.

rehearsals

An essential part of any live show or event, rehearsals can make or break your event. First we make sure to check all microphones are working with levels appropriately set and that all the cameras are positioned accurately and have a clear view of the speakers at all times. Next it’s time to bring in the speakers to have a run through their presentation slides, discuss any videos that will be played and bring them up to speed on where is best for them to stand and present.

time to go live

I always find the opening moments of a live event the most nerve racking, as months of planning and preparation come down to this. Thankfully on this occasion everything runs smoothly and it’s time to settle into the flow of the conference and managing speakers and transitions from behind the scenes.

A view of the A/V desk

A view of the A/V desk

Even while everything is running smoothly there’s still plenty to keep on top of from the back of the room. From making sure that audio feeds are adjusted to each speaker, keying slides ready for the next presenter and making sure everything is well lit, there really isn’t a moment where we can lose focus.

de-rigging

A day and a half later, after the final speaker has spoken it’s time to begin the process of de-rigging. This takes a little less time than the set build, but will still take around 2 hours depending on the nature of the conference. Once everything has been packed back into the relevant flight cases it’s time to load the vans and head home.

After 20+ speeches, 1TB of footage filmed and over 250 happy delegates it’s another week of conferences successfully concluded.

Until next time….

Nicholas Langdon