How many times have you chosen a venue, only to find that the idea you have for the room layout, won’t quite work? We were tasked with an ambitious backdrop plan for Pride & Prejudice for Economist Events at 155 Bishopsgate, London
In the same way that “Backroom” experts at Mission Control worked many hours to devise the fix that possibly kept the astronauts on Apollo 13, the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space programme and the third intended to land on the Moon, from dying of carbon dioxide, the Broadsword team of technical event engineers thought up an innovative way to overcome this new challenge and constructed a solution that worked.
Pride and Prejudice
A 24-hour, global event starting in Hong Kong, handing over to London and then to New York, we produced three different versions of everything, as each venue had a different set-up using different display technology and sent a Producer to Hong Kong and New York providing the vital common-link.
Each location was also connected to the other with London as the hub, so that for the handovers, we could see and hear each other and interact live. In each location, we had a multi-camera system with vision mixing and this was sent to the streaming hardware which then sent all the signals back to the central MCR or Mission Control Room in London.
This event was aimed to coincide with Pride events and raise awareness for LGBT issues in the business community. Organisers wanted to create a striking animated backdrop which was 20m wide with only 1.5m of projection space - not really ideal!
Luckily we weren't restricted to cardboard, a lunar suit hose and a plastic bag but a lot of geometry and problem solving was involved. Our great improvisation used a six-projector blend using ultra-wide lenses - a first for us and possibly for anyone.
At the peak of programming, the amount of on-screen content required built to a dangerous level. There were three sets to produce which all had to work with three different systems and three different sets of local display standards.
How did we return safely to Broadsword HQ? Creative Director, Martin Walton had ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before’ and took the unprecedented step of shutting down all email and phone conversation for two days before the event.
This was a stunning example of how Broadsword can mobilise as a team to produce a truly world-class event.