At VCI our clients come to us with ideas, problems and goals for each and every event. Our job is to sort through it all and come up with a technological solution that not only will wow an audience, but support the speakers and entertainers in a way that is organic. The end result should be seamless and magical at the same time. Here are just a few of our favorite problem solving case studies.
CASE STUDY: #1 The Explorers Club — Problem: When the Explorer’s Club approached us, they already had a theme—The Mayan Prophecies of 2012. But instead of approaching the entire theme with a gloom and doom, the world’s about to end mentality, The Explorer’s Club events team wanted a show that reflected a world of possibilities and a new age of discovery—past, present and future. VCI had to really push the envelope on this one. Solution #1: The overall goal and theme of any meeting is paramount to creating a memorable event—whether it’s the technology or the creative, or a fusion of both, thematic consistency throughout the project is the foundation that transports the spectators and defines every single activity on and off the main stage. So our first task was to create a theme that brought to life a Mayan temple and the 2012 theme. But to really push the boundaries, we proposed to build an actual miniature replica of a Mayan stepped pyramid inside the Waldorf + Astoria ballroom in New York City!!! At over 17 feet high, from beginning to end, the Mayan pyramid stood in majestic power over the audience, always reminding them of what The Explorer’s Club stands for: discovery! Will we be controlled by superstition, or step out boldly in the name of science? The stepped pyramid was part of the theme graphic and set the tone and mood for the entire Explorer’s Club Annual Dinner as soon as the audience entered the ballroom! By projecting in High Definition on a 40ft X 16ft screen on the main stage behind a real pyramid, we knew the sheer size of the monolith would transport the viewing audience to wherever there images brought us. Large panoramic vistas of the nighttime jungle with stars created the illusion that one was lying on a hill looking up from between the trees and the warm jungle floor. Solution #2: Next, was to extend the jungle from the main stage to the surrounding square ballroom and create the illusion that we were somewhere else. This required the VCI team to think out-of-the-box, not confine the event to just the main stage but utilize the entire Waldorf + Astoria ballroom as a living, breathing planetarium… filled with the moon, stars and planetary vistas as an extension of the vistas on the main stage. The audience had to be transported from the heart of New York City to the reality of an ancient civilization—the surrounding jungle and mysticism that was The Maya! But imagery would not be enough. The final task was to elevate the theme of 2012 from jungles and vistas of Mexico to the festivities of a proud and mystical people. It had to be seamless and organic…and appear and disappear as needed. We accomplished this by building a series of collapsible muslin sheets assembled into a pyramid that we could project images on when in use, and collapse out-of-sight when not. This required timing to live Mayan drummers and dancers in authentic costume, (flown in from Mexico for the event by the Explores Club), and then a disappearing act every time we wanted the audience to bring their focus back to the main stage. The result was a seamless tapestry of images that created the subliminal background for the entertainment, and brought the Mayan Prophecy to the rest of the room. This was an Event that we know they will be talking about for years to come.
CASE STUDY: #2 Bar-Ilan University Fundraiser — Problem: Bar-Ilan University, the largest university in Israel, needed a fundraiser that could enliven the audience, while featuring the impact of the Bar-Ilan university on young students traveling to the Holy Land to study. With a student population of approximately 33,917 at the main campus in Ramat Gan, and four regional colleges operating under its auspices – in the Jordan Valley, in Safed, in the western Galilee and Ashkelon, Bar-Ilan is also the fastest growing University in the world. For maximum impact, the audience needed to be engulfed in scenes from the Bar-Ilan Campuses throughout Israel before, during and after the event. Solution: Since dignitaries such as Hilary Clinton would be speaking from the dais on the main stage, this stage had to feel bigger than life and include the entire room as a part of the fundraiser, (while staying on a fundraiser budget). So we started with a large 40ft across X 16ft high screen with high definition rear projection. This would be the starting point for our wow factor. The next phase we decided to wrap the entire ballroom in a 14 foot high muslin screen that surrounded the entire room filling in the space between each pillar – over 180 feet in length and 9 feet off the ground!!! The result was a high impact event that gave the audience a sense and feel of the Bar-Ilan University way of life.
CASE STUDY: #3 NYIT Tent City — Problem: The New York Institute of Technology – NYIT approached us with a problem that was both simple and complex: how do we hold an outdoor event for 8000 people while simultaneously broadcasting to several locations at the same time? Solution: The main event would take place inside a large tent approximately 340 feet long X 180 feet wide with a ceiling distance of 35 feet. Since 8000 people would be in attendance, not everyone could fit in the main tent. Five overflow tents plus 3 buildings in various spots on campus would be able to handle all attendees. But how do we connect it all? Running direct lines over the top of the crowd walkways worked in some cases, but in others, running a ground line with cable ramp covers worked better. Although a master layout was in place, this was a lesson in communication, logistics and figure-it-out-as-you-go management. Over two days VCI’s crew installed piping, rigging, ran cable and built ramps and strung over 4000 feet of CAT 5 cable across the campus!!! Never tell our people something can’t be done.
CASE STUDY: #4 Intelsat and the Syncing Globe — Problem: When Jim Sant’Andrea came to us he needed to have a 3D globe animate, sync up perfectly with his client Intelsat’s logo. Then on voice command, start a second show that matched perfectly with the globe as it dissolved away. Solution: Most synced show’s today can be handled easily by software. But back then, integration of two different systems had to be handled by someone saying “go” while someone else pressed a button. It was awkward at best. At worst, it looked clunky. At VCI our technical team converted a 2D global map to a 3D environment and placed it on a wire frame sphere. Then created an animate that rotated the entire globe along with the Intelsat logo. Onsite, once the “i” came around to its center point, VCI triggered the second show to run onscreen while the globe slowly dissolved. Today software can sync a show like this, but back then, VCI came up with a hands on solution to an intricate problem.