THE LAYOUT PROCESS

NHL100 Ottawa 3D 2017 Stage Lighting 2

Once again I’ve fallen behind in writing a blog. This time, for the most part, is because we were thankfully busy. (Ok, up until end of January, the rest I have no excuse!)

We just finished producing 2 large scale events for the NHL (One in Ottawa, and one in Tampa) and a whole bunch of local Xmas events in the month of December. It was crazy, fun, hard work, and a great end and beginning of the year.

I am happy to say that everyone at Eventure is going to be jumping on the blog bandwagon soon. I think it would be cool that people see different perspectives of our lives here at Eventure, and other peoples’ opinions on the industry, and on what we do here.

I was travelling down to Fort Lauderdale, and on the flight I was deep into drafting the layout for our upcoming Tampa event. (I still think that 3 hour flight was almost the most productive 3 hours I have ever had in my life)

This woman kept glancing at what I was doing, but in that “I don’t want to be rude, and I won’t say anything, but still I am being rude, and I can’t help myself I need to say something” kind of way. So if you know me, I turned to her and said, I am an event planner and I am doing a layout for the event that I am flying down for. Which she said “Oh.. I didn’t mean to interrupt you” But then followed up with “How do you do that?”

I wanted to say “Oh you know it’s just a culmination of the last 25 years of my life that I can now do this, but I am sure I can explain it to you in the next 7 minutes” But what I said was “Oh it’s nothing, the program makes it really easy to do!” Then I remember I placed a cocktail table and she asked “Why did you just put that there” I wanted to say some academic rationale for guest flow, seating requirements, proximity to certain elements at the event. But the truth was, and I said “Cuz it fits”

So I don’t think I can summarize 25 years, but it did inspire me to think about how is it that we do this?

As you know, I am a technical, logistics kind of event planner. Not a design, floral, color coordinated kind of event planner. It is the one thing though that I enjoy the most of what I do. Taking the blank page, and creating an event.

So the first thing is to discuss what the event needs, client wishes, budget, and venue is for the event. In this case, I’ll reference the 1st NHL event we did in Ottawa for the NHL 100 party at TD Place arena. In meeting with the client at the venue, we came up with the idea of splitting the space in half. One side being the 1917 side, the other being the 2017 side, an hommage to the 100 years. That then meant we were doing a 1920s prohibition theme versus a modern club-like theme.

Once we discussed with the client the idea, we know the venue and the budget. We also discussed certain needs the client wanted to achieve such as F&B requirements, messaging and branding needs, and certain previous event highlights and missteps to avoid.

We then came back and brainstormed different ideas to fit the requirements and created a mood board. The mood board highlighted certain thematic ideas, wow factors, furniture, decor, food concepts, etc.

Once we review the mood board with the client, and get feedback on more detailed elements, menu ideas, theme ideas, etc. I can now start figuring out specifics, layout and detailed budgeting.

This event happened to be heavily focused on lighting. Not all events that we do focus on lighting, but this was an arena (so lighting is important to transform an arena to a party) I knew I wanted to stay true to the theme throughout, so the lighting I also split into new and old. On the 1917 side I stuck with strictly conventional lighting, and on the 2017 side strictly moving lights and LED.

This event was split into different categories in my mind:

The 2 stage idea at the end-zones of the arena :

1. The split down center ice of new style furniture and old style.

2. The bars and food stations also on the outside of the boards in the moat of the arena. Also being old and new (wood bars versus plexi) Also developing the menu to be 1920s style food (beef wellington vs poke bowls)

3. Entertainment on each stage (1920s postmodern style and 2017 Magic! with a DJ) Which then meant the 1st half of the party would happen on the 1917 side while 2017 was dark, and then moving it to the modern side and the 1917 side going dark.

4. The video wall in the center showing old footage then moving to modern footage (hockey themed footage, party footage, live cam, etc.)

5. The old lighting design and the new side lighting design with audio and technical needs for the event. (Lighting the seating areas, pinspotting the stations and bars, lighting the stages, dance floor lighting)

6. Thematic and decor elements (centerpieces, actual furniture such as old antique coaches versus modern leather lounges)

7. Other entertainment (in this case old style sepia photobooth and a modern photobooth)

The layout then takes shape. I know I want to put the stages in the end-zones. I know the technical requirements of the entertainment (I didn’t know it was Magic! at the time, but I anticipated a known band and place a 40′ x 24′ stage and would work from there)

There are different layers to the CAD that I work on (Staging & Draping, Furniture, Trussing design and lighting, F&B and locations) I usually layout the furniture and stations first. I know what pieces of furniture we are proposing and now it’s a question of where is the best placement. The stages are already in place, so the bars come next, food stations, then seating furniture. Once a decide how all that is positioned, I can do trussing and lighting so I can make sure all the lighting has a position so it can do it’s job. I also want to create cool lighting effects, so we make circular trusses, box trusses, etc. (In this case the highlight was a chandelier made up of 3 different size circular trusses) Finally finishing touches, photobooth placement, stage layouts, effect lighting (uplighting cool stage lighting)

All the while though, I need to keep in mind that guests need to enter easily, keep in mind the fire marshall and fire safety code, washroom access, being able to go from one side to the other with no backlog (for example if there is a line up at the bar, I have enough space to let people pass and not get jammed because I put furniture in the way)

We also have to think about artist entrance, backstage layout, security and ticket taking layout, bus drop-offs or valet or parking needs, Handicap accessibility. Then on the technical side, that we know where the power is, how we are running the cabling so it isn’t in the way, rigging (even though my truss layout is cool, can I hang it, is it safe, does it weigh less than the max load?), video requirements (front/back projection, enough distance for it or what lenses we may need, LED Walls and rigging vs proximity to guests, camera placements, video content, etc.)

I can go on about the details, but the point is how do I go from the blank AutoCAD of the venue to a complete design. I guess that’s how I do it. There is a lot to think of, but the more you do it, it becomes second nature. Then of course, there are revisions 2 through 13, depending on the client, the venue, the fire marshall, the police, and other factors that come up in the planning process.

NHL100 Ottawa TD Place ver 2

NHL 100 2D Truss Layout

If you managed to read this far into my blog (I guess there is about 8 of you total) please message me with any ideas you may want myself or anyone of us here to write about in the future.

See ya!