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David Keene on This Year in Staging

Having just returned from InfoComm 2017, we can safely say the state of the industry is, well, great. Business is booming. And better yet, there are new kinds of business opportunities for stagers. Yes, there are this year new display, staging, and audio technologies entering the market– from more direct view LED to a whole new crop of solid state, laser phosphor projectors, and ever-more-compact line arrays. But as exciting as those new products are, there are also some interesting new event landscapes that combine traditional AV staging with other interactive and/or streaming technologies.

There is a lot of attention in the market now around the huge boom in video production services that are affecting the staging/live event world, in a good way. Whether your company does installed AV or AV for live events, or both, you are seeing that all your customers are inundated with high-quality picture and sound everywhere– at home, in their offices– so their expectations have become elevated. Add to that the new availability of more, better, and more affordable video capture/production/streaming gear, and the result is an explosion of video production at all levels.

And another contributing factor is growing number of new platforms to pull viewers to live presentations via consumer CDNs such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Twitter’s Periscope, where users receive notifications about upcoming live events. So whether it’s adding excitement and polish to a CEO address or increasing corporate engagement by bringing live events to employees spread all over the world, live production offers customers and immediacy and community. And you as a stager are needing to dive further into video production to augment your IMAG and other video services.

Speaking of the just-wrapped InfoComm show, well, we’re all gearheads, and still buzzing with what we saw in Orlando. Projection is going through a major renaissance. Last year, the TCO discussion dominated, when it came to “laser phosphor vs. lamped projectors” for the staging world. This year, it’s a different discussion: the LP revolution has strengthened, and there are now high lumen LP projectors– so it’s not just about the lamp-free dynamic. At InfoComm, we saw some very high lumen LP projectors indeed. And then there’s 4K. And both 4K laser phosphor and high lumen projectors. It was enough to make the most jaded trade show attendee giggle. If you missed the InfoComm highlights, check out in this issue the winners of the InfoComm Rental & Staging New Product Awards. Among the winners were indeed some impressive projectors. But there was no shortage of other categories that impressed this year, from audio to video processing to the increasing use of digital signage for live events.

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