The difference between an average, run of the mill conference and a truly memorable, inspiring event comes down, in large part, to the platform from which you present your message. As the centrepiece from which your entire event unfolds, your set and stage need to be carefully considered in order to achieve a fine balance – one that delivers impactful design that strongly supports, but does not distract from, your event content.
Here’s our guide to the most important considerations of your set and stage design process:
In order to design the perfect staging area for your event, everyone involved in the process needs to fully understand its function – for example, are you hosting dynamic presenters that require space to move around? Does your event include a group discussion or an audience Q&A with members of a panel? Are you presenting awards? Providing demonstrations or showcasing a product?
This on-stage activity will determine the most appropriate layout. It may be best served by a traditional theatre style or a runway platform. You may want to consider an ‘in the round’ set up with central staging that brings the audience closer to the action. Whatever the function of your stage, it will not only define the best layout, but many other key design elements, so both you and your production company need to be clear on it from the start.
Having established the function of your stage, the next step towards great design is an in-depth consideration of your chosen event space. If you’ve yet to choose your venue, you have the benefit of letting your desired stage design guide your decision. However, this is a luxury rarely afforded to event planners and chances are it will be your room layout that guides your stage design.
Beyond the basic room shape and dimensions, you need to take into consideration ceiling height, any room features such as pillars, columns or steps, doors and windows, emergency exit routes – every aspect of your chosen space will impact on your final stage design. Your set design too – if you’re looking to use rear projection, your screen size will dictate how far from the wall your stage needs to sit. Your chosen room needs to have sufficient dimensions to accommodate this additional space requirement and still leave ample room for your audience to be seated comfortably.
Rest assured that good set and stage designers work well with limitations, making creative use of the space available. Of course, the best way to make sure you have a great space to work with is to bring your production company on board in the venue selection process.
Now that you’ve established the fundamentals of your set and stage design, it’s time to add the creative touches that bring it to life. From standard set panels to modular units, super widescreen to video walls, there are multiple options for creating an impressive backdrop. Whichever one you choose, the purpose of your backdrop should be to enhance the theme of your event whilst simultaneously strengthening your brand or organisational identity. So keep your design consistent with existing brand guidelines and any promotional content and design elements of the event itself.
You also need to strike a fine balance – you want your set and stage design to be captivating enough to impress your audience and hold their attention but also subtle enough not to distract from the on-stage activity. Of course, this all comes back to establishing what that on-stage activity will be and finding the right way to complement it.
If you have a multipurpose stage that needs to cater for a range of activity, you can achieve incredible transformations through the use of creative AV.
Creative use of AV technologies can not only effect what your audience see, it can completely transform their entire event experience. A well designed set geared up for educational purposes during the day can become a mesmerising entertainment spectacle that sets an entirely different tone for the evening.
Lighting has always been the go to tool for creating impressive staging effects but with advancements in technology, we now have many more options to consider. One of the most transformative technologies is the art of projection mapping, which uses multiple projectors to create large scale, visually impactful displays on either 2D or 3D surfaces (for a more in-depth look at projection mapping and how it can enhance an event, check out our post: Projection Mapping for Events).
The key thing to keep in mind when enhancing or transforming your set and stage with AV is that, whilst technologies have advanced, it is still how they are put to use that matters – success lies in being able to take a creative vision and turning it into a practical solution that delivers.
With so much time and effort put into your set and stage design, you need to ensure that your audience has the best view possible. You may have chosen a venue with fixed seating, in which case this element will have been a consideration during your assessment of the event space. If this is not the case however, and you have options when it comes to your seating layout, there are many arrangements to choose from. We break down some of the most popular layouts in our post: Event Seating: Choosing the Best Style for your Audience.
The best seating arrangement for your event will ensure that your set and stage remains the focal point, that the layout offers any functionalities required and that your audience can all enjoy your event with a great view in great comfort.
The Presentation Group offer a fully comprehensive event production service. For more information on how we can set the stage for your next memorable event, contact one of our experienced Producers today.
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