WorldStage marked its tenth year providing the Milken Institute Global Conference with audio, video and lighting support as more than 3,500 movers and shakers challenged each other to find solutions and implement change for topics ranging from income inequality to a wide array of environmental issues.
The 17th annual Milken Institute Global Conference brought executives, billionaires, philanthropists, scientists and celebrities to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for a gathering that has come to rival the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More than 160 panels were grouped into 11 topic tracks; guest speaker included California Governor Jerry Brown, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
Every year the conference has grown, become more complex and challenged the capabilities of all the support vendors and 2014 was no different. "The technology support for this conference has grown significantly over the past ten years," says WorldStage Vice-president Richard Bevan. "Compared to what it was a decade ago, it's almost a different show. The Milken Institute demands the best and wants everything to be first class. To deliver on that we push the envelope everywhere on site - not just in the main rooms but in the smaller venues as well. In fact the systems complement in the smaller rooms and the people we have operating would be appropriate for a general session room. It takes a lot of gear, preparation and resources to make that happen."
As a testament to that, more than 130 WorldStage technicians were on site to ensure the success of the event during its four-day run, and a total of 33 HD cameras were supplied.
"The number of moving parts swirling around this conference is always a challenge," Bevan continued. "With fourteen event spaces and more than 600 presenters requiring support in a very tight schedule, we plan everything down to the last minute. That includes the process of recording hundreds of sessions in HD and then transferring and distributing it. In some ways, that's the biggest challenge. We work hand in glove with Producer Josh Lesser and his Vision Matrix team, who were responsible for collecting the media and getting it transferred to large RAID drives for webcast."
To keep the tight schedule on track, the conference relies on a centralized IT structure provided by Vision Matrix that collects and distributes all the speaker support presentations directly from the speaker ready-room. "Typically, there was a moderator with a PowerPoint presentation and a panel discussion. All of the PowerPoint decks were collected in the speaker-ready room, and their content was pushed out to their respective rooms by the Vision Matrix IT team," he explains.
Along with the video support, WorldStage also furnished extensive audio and lighting facilities that included a large complement of audio speakers, wired and wireless mics, digital audio consoles and intercom systems, as well as a package of conventional and LED lighting for 11 rooms. Additional lighting was provided for music and comedy performances by Babyface, David Foster and Chris Tucker in the Beverly Hills Room.
"The logistics of the Milken Global Conference are pretty staggering, but after 10 years we've definitely found our rhythm!" says Bevan.
Lawrence Lesser, senior vice president of The Milken Foundation's Creative Services department, was the executive producer of all of the events. Josh Lesser from Vision Matrix was the overall producer of the events with his team supporting various functions like reader boards etc...
At WorldStage Sean Glenn, Gary Kajikawa, Lonnie Hamilton, Dave Morris and Tom Mathis were the project managers; James Sarro equipment manager; Nicole Walter labor coordinator; Robin Gray lighting designer; and Heidi McGuire director in the Stardust Room.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.