Following the success of last year’s annual conference, accounting specialists Tax Assist again turned to Central Presentations Ltd (CPL) to deliver full technical production and design - sound, lighting, video, rigging and staging - for their 2015 event, which had the added resonance of also being their 20th anniversary.
The format of the show in the Caernarfon Suite at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, south Wales, was a conference and presentation during the day, with the room transformed in a lightening quick 60 minute turnaround between 6 and 7 p.m. …. to a gala dinner and party.
Entertainment featured magic from Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee and live music from one of the best known tribute bands in the world, Bjorn Again.
The CPL team was led by Lee Gruszeckyj, who created a stylish design based around the exceptionally tight timescale involved – an intense 24 hours of activity.
“Central to the design was it being achievable in such a short time,” explained Lee. “That might sound obvious, but the entire creative was honed around quick rigging techniques, and the equipment chosen for its handle-ability and ease / speed of programming and control – as well as looking and sounding great!”
The set concept featured white scenic elements with a 30 ft wide by 9ft high widescreen at the core, flanked by two white set wings which were mapped for special 20th anniversary projections.
The main screen projection was a blended image from two Panasonic 20K machines created in one of CPL’s new Barco E2 presentation systems. “The idea was to keep it clean and elegant with high impact,” explained Lee, “for which the widescreen approach was perfect”. It brought a real cinematic feel to the environment.
The source material for the conference section was primarily PowerPoint and Keynote presentations from a series of laptops, some with embedded VTs.
One live camera channel was provided for displaying images logging the activities of the day and for head-and-shoulders shots of the speakers. These were fed directly into the E2 and sized and output to screen from there.
The mapped content for the two side wings was stored on and played back from a Pandora’s Box media server and based around funky, sparkly animations of the Tax Assist 20th anniversary logo. It was projected by two Barco 10K projectors, one per side. All four projectors were rigged on the front house truss.
Scott Shelley from Second Sight, a regular CPL collaborator, created the mapped content which added its own sprinkling of more technical visual magic for the evening.
Lighting was an integral part of the overall design package offered by CPL which involved a careful selection of moving lights – again partly chosen for their smaller sizes and ease of installation.
Ten Clay Paky Sharpies together with 10 x 300E Beams from Robe made up the beam fixtures, with eight Martin MAC Auras used as washing specials on the stage and set– which took light beautifully. Eight Robe Pointes were used to produce a selection of colourful and dramatic effects.
These were joined by generic units including profiles for the key and lectern lighting and fresnel washes for the stage during the conference sessions.
The lighting was all rigged on the in-house overhead trussing system, which Lee comments is “Well thought-out making it straightforward to rig kit specific to your show”.
Lighting was operated by Iain Wood using an Avolites Quartz console and CPL brought in Bristol based Flat Earth to build the set.
A high clarity d&b sound system was installed, with two arrays of Q1 elements flown per side to cover the width of the space, and QSUBS secreted neatly under the stage.
Q7s were used for side fills and also for delay stacks positioned mid-way down the room.
The monitor mix comprised a combination of d&b E12 wedges and Sennheiser in-ears, with a Yamaha CL5 console provided for the main mix, engineered by Phil Manson, and a CL1 desk for monitors.
The main challenge was the intense 24 hour schedule which commenced at 5 a.m. on the morning of the event when the CPL crew got in. They were all rigged and ready for rehearsals at 11 a.m. and the conference started at 2 p.m., with the day / night changeover between 6 and 7 p.m. Over 400 guests enjoyed the evening and partied until 1 a.m., with the get-out starting directly after the last chords of the DJ had faded.
The truck doors closed around 5 a.m. completing another highly successful, slick and streamlined CPL technical production, which looked and sounded great.