Squint Abroad: International Event Production, A Fresh Perspective

Let’s start from the beginning.  I work for a live event production company based out of Indianapolis, Indiana.  One of our clients is staging their annual general managers conferences around the world, and has been kind enough to ask us to leave the US borders and come with them.  Our first stop is in Bangkok, Thailand.  We left on the 28th of February, and returned to the States on March the 11th.

The flight(s) from the US, specifically Chicago, to Asia are forever long.  I have to believe that the country is pretty much as distant from the Midwest as any could be.  After a 14 hour flight from Chicago to Incheon, South Korea, we boarded a five hour flight to Bangkok.  After a brief stint at customs, our crew of 15 was on it’s way to our home for the next two weeks; the Millennium Hilton Bangkok.

So that’s the surrounding story, but let’s be honest with ourselves.  You came to iSquint.net to hear about event production technology.  The truth of the matter is that while production gear is hardly scarce in this country, it can be incredibly expensive to rent for any short period of time.  After choosing a gear provider and looking over the associated rental costs, we determined it would be more cost effective and reliable to ship our video equipment from the US.  This particular show design calls for eight 16′ x 24′ projection surfaces surrounding the room.  It creates the effect that you are in a 16′ tall octagon, with video painted seamlessly across all surfaces.

Lighting Gear

The lighting team was able to get their hands on a number of  Martin Mac 2k’s, as well as multiple unbranded non-moving head LED fixtures to use as uplighting.  It should hardly have been a surprise that all of the Martin gear arrived in PRG branded cases.  Those guys truly are everywhere.  Front light for the stage came in the form of what appeared to be brand new Phillips Selecon series fixtures.  Everything was controlled by an Avolites Pearl console.

Video Gear

As mentioned above, we were able to ship all of the video equipment from the United States.  Projection included a mix of four Panasonic 10k HD projectors and four Christie 10k HD’s.  These pieces of equipment are available in Thailand, but the cost of renting 8 of the 20 available HD’s in the country is quite a bit higher than we were comfortable with.  All screens were fed with a brand new Lenovo laptop running the Dataton Watchout’s most recent software release.  We have been using Watchout a lot lately on shows, and despite a few fall set backs, we have had a lot of luck with the system.  It has certainly given us the ability to create visual effects that cannot be easily mastered with tape decks alone.

Power

The power situation in the hotel ballroom was less than perfect, but they staff worked to make sure we were able to hook up our equipment without seeing the magical blue smoke.  While the solution was a little scary looking, the equipment worked perfectly all week.  Thailand runs on the 240V, 50Hz standard, where as your standard American Edison outlet hovers somewhere around 120V at 60Hz.  Fortunately most of our gear, projectors aside, could automatically sense and handle the switch.  To be safe, we ended up placing all of the video equipment on 120V, 60Hz service.

 

We have a week and a half back in Indiana to regroup, after which we will be taking the same corporate show to Istanbul, Turkey.  Stay tuned for more stories, equipment discussions, and tips/tricks for international event production in the near future.

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