AV 101: Event Stage Design
Your event begins the moment your audience walks into your space. As they filter into the venue, hunker down into their seats, and set their phones to silent, they’re already absorbing the entire feel of your event —- before your presenters even set foot on stage.
That’s why the design of your stage and your room is so key to building a strong, lasting impression. Often called “scenic” in the events industry, there are endless options for building an overall vibe that fits your venue and program.
Below, we’ve put together a guide to different stage design options that tie your whole event together.
Pipe and Drape
Pipe and drape is a relatively inexpensive way to spruce up your meeting. It’s constructed of upright poles with weighted bases that support hanging fabric. Typically used to divide spaces or hide unsightly walls, it’s readily available from both audio visual providers like Meeting Tomorrow and companies that specialize in stage design.
The downside is that pipe and drape is so common that your event probably won’t stand out from other events your audience has been to. However, if you’re working with a tight budget, pipe and drape still goes a long way in transforming a room into an event-ready space. We offer pipe and drape in many different colors, and can provide colored uplights to add your company’s colors.
Hard Wall Flats
Hard wall flats are pop-up walls that can instantly change the look and feel of your space. Even if you only add some simple lighting to the walls, it still creates a cleaner and more unique look than pipe and drape, for what’s often a comparable cost. Or, if you have more room in your budget, you can print logos or other branding graphics onto an adhesive that gets applied to the flats.
Sometimes, you can also project directly onto the flats rather than on separate projection screens. This can add an element of surprise when the walls suddenly come to life with projected images.
Plus, hard wall flats are a common way to build a backstage. This lets your presenters walk on stage in a more professional and dramatic way than walking up from the audience.
“Modular scenic rental units” is the industry term for different scenic elements that break down into small pieces. These flexible units can be adjusted to fit any size room, and can be placed anywhere depending on the shape of your venue. They also are pretty easy for a crew to install, which keeps labor costs low.
Modular units can also be shipped across the country for a relatively low cost, making them perfect for companies that have recurring meetings in multiple places.
Modular units have a wide variety of styles and possibilities.
Video Walls as Stage Design
One additional option that’s gaining popularity is using video displays as scenic. Increasingly, companies are constructing custom surfaces for blended projections or LED video walls that take up the entire backdrop of the stage.
Video as scenic creates ultimate flexibility when it comes to stage design. With the click of a button, your audience can be on a beach in Figi one second, and in Times Square the next.
While the display itself may be costly, it’s even more important to consider the costs of developing the videos and photos that will play on the walls or screens. As amazing as using video for scenic can be, it’s only as good as the videos and photos played on it. You’ll need a specialist to create content for the size of pixel space that it will be displayed on, otherwise the image quality won’t blow your audience away like you had hoped.
Lighting as Scenic
Stage lighting is a dramatic element of stage design. Even some simple colored uplights can make a pipe and drape backdrop feel more customized. Imagine adding your event’s color theme subtly to walls, or changing the colors to reflect the time of day. Plus, adding theatrical effects such as moving lights can completely morph the look and feel of the room, even if there aren’t a lot of other scenic elements in place.
If you have room in the budget, a custom scenic shop can design a set to drastically upgrade the feel, messaging, and branding of a meeting. Of course, this is going to be expensive. But it’s the best way to truly ensure a unique and memorable experience for the audience.
Plus, when you have a custom, stunning background, the photos audience members take and share on social media will garner more attention. Major companies that invest heavily in custom scenic know that it’s for much more than their audience in the room — it’s to make an impression in videos and photos that are shared widely all over the world.
Want more helpful event AV tips? Download our free eBook, “AV 101 for Meeting Planners and Event Professionals.”
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