Author Archives: MVS

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

By Jay Raines, Meru Interactive

Remember Dorothy’s dog Toto from the Wizard of Oz sneaking behind the curtain while she, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow are almost hypnotized by a massively, engaging, super large, projected image of a wizard, speaking in an amplified voice with lighting effects and smoke, creating the illusion of a real live wizard? Toto tugs open the curtain revealing an old man talking into a microphone while pulling a bunch of levers and pressing buttons. Exposed, the man jumps up and yells into the microphone, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  Well that’s us at Meru Interactive, we are the men and women behind the curtain.

Today, advances in technology have led to innovations that make the wizardry behind the curtain easier. This allows us to use traditional marketing methods that align event vision with actionable real time data, entertaining and engaging attendees along the way.

These are some of the things we will be working on with our clients now.

Facial recognition Algorithms can now calculate facial features, hairstyles, body shapes, expressions, and body language. Why not score and track these expressions during a presentation and use that data internally or share in a fun engaging way with attendees. If that’s too serious how about operating a game or remote control toy through an obstacle course using just your face to control it.

Artificial Intelligence– What if you could Interpret data from social media attendee profiles? Then, recommend to attendees, people to meet, sessions to attend and booths to visit. Once to a booth, play a custom interactive presentation or game to lead attendees down a specific marketing path, collecting meaningful data along the way. You can do this now.

Enhancing the Event App- The days of the traditional event app may soon be over. With the rapid adoption of new technology it’s becoming increasingly common to extend the traditional app experience with tighter third party integrations.  Events are now using technologies like VR, AR, Gamification and live polling functionality.  These can be tightly integrated via simple frameworks and libraries or loosely integrated through the backend with links to customizable web services.  Attendees are also expecting a more personalized 

experience and looking for more value when installing event applications.  This type of personal experience can be provided by using beacons and digital signage integration to provide meaningful content. The modern day attendee cares about smooth participation and easy registration especially for vendor provided experiences.

Check out this integration.

LED wall and projection- LED panels are becoming the standard for indoor and outdoor video displays. Their bright image and ease of use make them an a great option for most settings: keynotes, booths, signage and more. Since they’re becoming more widespread, the cost of renting LED walls continues to decline depending on the resolution desired. Projection-based displays have hidden costs – such as screens and room darkening (blackout curtains). Projection can be a bit more complex to setup with blending and odd aspect ratios. LED walls are more flexible in terms of setup and arrangement.  If the goal is providing an efficient system for the client that gets the job done with the best results, the LED is a good choice for your next event.

Live streaming-  will expand your audience beyond event capacity and encourage attendees and staff to share your livestream with friends who couldn’t attend. With the addition of the technology like the Samsung 360 Round and other streaming hardware we can do Live 360 3D Pano video streaming to Youtube Live, Facebook Live and Samsung VR platforms. This is a great way to have the home audience feel like they are sitting in the live event or even on the stage with a 360 degree view of the world around them. How about live custom data overlays to add lower thirds, tickers, game stats and many other content overlays for your broadcast both in traditional 2d streams as well as 360 Pano streams.

Event attendees want to participate, and these are the applications behind those experiences. If you would like to take your event to a new level and find out what we can do for you behind the curtain.

Sony Open Hawaii

Sony Open Hawaii

For over 10 years MVS has had the pleasure of working for 1540 Productions on the video portion of the awards dinner for the Pro-Am tourney at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Video includes projection to 4 screens, switching, and a 2 camera package.

This year for the 20th anniversary, MVS Project Manager Donte Jones with Meru Interactive’s Jon Black lit up the Honolulu Convention Center adding 20K projectors and projection mapping software to display motion graphics on scenic flats surrounding the projection screens to add to the festive feel of the event.

Steve Hill is Pyeongchang bound

Steve Hill is Pyeongchang bound

Video Systems Manager Steve Hill has recently joined the MVS team bringing over 25 years experience to our operation. Hill has been working the Olympics since 2002 in Salt Lake City and then Vancouver, London, Sochi, Rio De Janeiro and is now heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea to work as a specialty camera jib and crane operator for the Half Pipe, Aerials, and Moguls events.

We had the chance to ask Steve some questions as he was preparing to travel:

Q: What do you have to do mentally to prepare to work at the Olympics? How is it different than Corporate AV work for MVS?

A: All of the Olympic Games have been a good experience for me. I have contacts and friends all over the world. People do not realize how much really goes into the Olympic Games.

The contract is signed a year ahead of the games.  Lots of steps and forms need to be filled out, uniform measurements, time scheduled for three weeks, two travel days, 15 hour flight, and getting the proper extra warm weather gear for the mountain experience.

Generally hardest part of the games is standing outside at night in a cold environment. During the games everyday seems to blend into the next.

Doing three events means there is a lot of repositioning of gear with little time to rehearse and put on the show.

To prepare I just try to make the opportunity a memorable one.  You get to meet people from all over the world and work with them. It is not something everyone gets the chance to do.  I had the chance to take my son with me to Sochi Olympic Games as My Jib Assist. It was a great experience for me to watch him see a world outside of his limited experiences.

Q: Are you more excited to travel internationally for work or does it cause you concern and why?

A: I enjoy traveling. I believe that it makes you a better person. International travel is the best. The people and cultures are new and exciting to me.

Any concerns would be a waste of energy.  You need to be aware of yourself and surroundings.  Make sure you do not offend or be the stereotypical American.

Try to be an Ambassador and prove that Americans are good people.  The more I travel the easier it is to appreciate the world and my home.

Q: What is the coolest gig you have ever done besides the Olympics?

A: I have had to chance to do so many cool gigs. I ran Jib for Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert. I have worked Jib camera for an Ultimate Fighting Show in Hawaii. I was working in Paris, France during the final stage of the Tour De France.  Got to see the last laps at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Not the coolest, but an interesting Gig was when a Producer, Cameraman and myself went around the world in 9 days.  We started our trip from Salt Lake City and flew to Tokyo, Japan and rode the bullet train. The next flight to Sydney, Australia was to shoot at the opera house. Next we flew to Aukland, New Zealand to an Alpaca ranch. Then back to Japan for the night off then to London England to shoot at Big Ben. Then back to Salt Lake City.  I think we were in the airplane flying more than we were on the ground.

Q: Any advice for aspiring Video Production professionals out there?

A: Things change so fast and your time is important. Make the best use of it.

Have a passion to learn and make the most of your time. If you don’t like to take some criticism this maybe wrong job for you.  Love what you do because it is what you will be doing most of your waking hours.

New digital signage offerings from MVS

New digital signage offerings from MVS

MVS Digital Signage and enclosures will engage your audience with interactivity and live social media streams

-Clean, aesthetic steel enclosure available in 46″ or 55″ models, single or double-sided monitors. Can be wrapped with branded content

-Interactive touch or mechanical buttons available

-1080P or 4K resolution in landscape or portrait configuration

-Can be set up in video wall configuration with multiple monitors in a single pixel space

-Remote updates and scheduling of content changes over local network and wifi

-iOS app updates of content or Twitter updates of text

-Can accept multiple formats of video, audio, RSS feeds, HTML 5 content, Live video, and scripts for advanced functionality

10 Ways To Make Ordering AV Easier For Event Planners

10 Ways To Make Ordering AV Easier For Event Planners

Event Planners have one of the top 10 most stressful jobs. They often see the process of ordering audio-visual equipment as cumbersome and stressful, not nearly as enjoyable as picking out the décor or the event’s signature cocktails!

To ease the burden of including AV in your budget, consider these 10 suggestions on captivating a modern audience at your next event.

  • Know your budget for AV and be upfront about it- Allowing your AV vendor to make suggestions based on their extensive experience will help you meet your goals while staying on budget. Having this open communication eliminates wasting precious time going back and forth subtracting and adding items.
  • Set your goals for your attendee experience and communicate them directly to the AV vendor- Your event is targeted towards getting your message across to your audience and AV equipment and design is the conduit for that message. Providing the AV vendor with a clear depiction of your goals will better enable them to help you be successful.
  • Think about content first- Many event planners order the screen before they think about what will go on it. It is best to review your proposed event content as early as possible with your AV vendor including file type, display medium(s), aspect ratios, etc. They will work with you to ensure optimal presentation to your audience.
  • Experience matters- Partner with a knowledgeable and proven AV vendor, who understands the full scope you are working with, venue details, logistics and local labor. At first it may seem that working with an established company will cost you more, however, by utilizing their knowledge, recommendations and including them in the planning process ensures staying on budget and delivering a top-notch event.
  • Do a site survey in advance with your AV vendor- Most critical details can be addressed and managed by doing this, eliminating costly and time-consuming issues later. Your AV vendor may see a potential problem during the site visit that can be solved and budgeted for ahead of time. Some problems discovered onsite require adding equipment over the planned budget and oftentimes added labor at overtime rates.
  • Think about your surroundings- If your venue has a lot of large windows or is cramped for space then be proactive by choosing bright LED panels rather than projection screens. LED can be viewed beautifully in full daylight and will eliminate the cost of paying extra to black out and cover all the windows for the intent of using projection to “save money.” LED has advanced a long way in recent years and now rivals projection quality. LED walls also aid in the design of your event by taking up less space in a crowded room versus projection screens, stands and rigging.
  • Consider alternative venues- Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad contract or experience with a hotel or convention center and go look for a better offer. Or even better, to find a unique venue that doesn’t fit the norms of a typical hotel style conference space. You want your attendees to have a memorable experience and you want your sponsors and executives to be impressed. Oftentimes, events fall into the same footprint year after year. Your AV vendor can recommend venues based on past experience and the style of event design you are looking for. By working in the industry on a daily basis, your AV vendor is likely to know about renovations, expansions and new venues in the area you want to have your event in.
  • Negotiate the removal of venue fees and penalties before signing your contract- You have more leverage than you think to remove contractual items that seem unavoidable at first. All it takes is a red pen to cross out the sections you disagree with, this applies to hotel and independent venue contacts. Venues are able to work with you on certain aspects of your contract, including allowing an outside AV vendor at no additional cost, and lowering or eliminating the cost of required in house labor and equipment.
  • Clarify your venue access in advance- It is imperative to the timeline of your event’s schedule to confirm the access availability, pre- and post-event, for your AV vendor’s load-in, setup, and strike times. This includes adequate time, access to loading bays, and to avoid costly penalties for “after hours” venue charges and can be negotiated in advance if necessary. A common mistake is to try to save money by not booking the venue with adequate time before the event for setup which often leads to increased labor and overtime charges that may be more than the extra day of venue rental. Your AV vendor will provide you with the necessary requirements and support you in the communication with the venue.
  • Going Green can save you money- Many new AV products on the market can save you money and reduce the overall power consumption of your event. LED lights are smaller, lighter and use far less power than conventional lighting reducing the overall power infrastructure needs without reducing the results. Also Laser LED projectors use less power and bulbs while providing vivid color on screen.


Magnetic Personality

Magnetic Personality

MVS Producer Ben Kristy Q&A

  1. Tell me about your background and how you got where you are now?

I’ve had a passion for planning events since I can remember growing up in Iowa. My first event was a hardcore punk concert in a barn. It’s funny to think back to it – 3 friends and I installed a stage, small PA, lighting, and had dual 30” CRT TVs connected to an SD camera in the balcony for an audience of 300 kids – quite possibly every kid in the county. I realize now that I treated all of the work as a creative outlet – post event I was hooked and continued to find ways to be a part of live events.

  1. What do most people not understand about your job?

Many people simply think we are the “IT guys.” Many folks think I am describing magic when they hear me talk about what I do specifically. The reality is, everything we do can be boiled down to a simple process. The real work involves meticulously reviewing and editing the spreadsheets and line diagrams created during pre-production.

  1. You seem to have a magnetic personality and people like working with you. Why do you think that is?

Let’s first establish a fundamental rule – people love to work with other people who have a passion for what they do. It’s just true. When you can sense this with someone, you communicate more effectively and form connections. So if when you ask me why people like to work with me – I’ll tell you it’s because I enjoy the pursuit of a perfect product every time.

  1. How do you balance all the responsibilities as a Producer or Technical Director on show site? 

I am a leader with a collaborative style – when it comes to balancing responsibilities on show site, I build teams that are self-starting and mostly self-directing. I am really only slightly steering things by the time I am on site. The collaborative style guarantees the team’s ownership of the project and sets the tone for a fast-paced, positive environment – clients notice this every time.

  1. What is your secret super power?

I have a photographic memory – I once memorized every inventory item and its quantity, in one shift, while working as a shift lead at a coffee shop.

  1. How do you know when you have made a show successful?

I’ll admit I’ve never “felt” a show was 100% successful but luckily it’s not my experience that matters. I have a saying, “it’s not my show” that seems to help drive this fact home. Success in the production world is a relative thing – every time. Getting to know the client’s scope of objectives and putting that in my crosshairs is the only way to guarantee the type of success that matters.

  1. What is different about MVS compared to similar companies in the events industry?

MVS treats every project like the most important show of the year; I have not seen this in many other places. Larger companies are known for throwing their weight around and may not give everyone the right attention and pre-production experience. Smaller companies say they will give the attention but may not have the resources to execute the show or pre-production in the best way. I feel MVS is uniquely positioned to make the best of each pre-production experience and custom engineered show solution.

  1. What is the future of events and how are you going to be a part of it?

I believe the limits of live show production will continue to be pushed in every direction. In the next 5 years we are going to see more attention and value given to conventional event pre-visualization as it becomes merged with the world of VR and AR. I plan to lead the charge in developing turn-key workflows that allow Producer / Technical Directors to “farm to table” their technical docs into VR and AR assets.