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Centre Stage: Building Creative and Technical Set Designs

When a new event brief lands on my desk, one of the first things my mind is drawn to is the set design. Of course this is just one thing on an infinite to-do list when creating a live event, but after all, no delegates will be paying attention to the rigging plan or cable management when they walk in the room!

The Set Designing Process

The first step in the set designing process is to take any specific requirements from the brief and see how they could be used in a design. We also like to take inspiration for themes and dressing from recent events, online research and social channels.

Once we have researched the intended venue space, we draw up early ideas for a design. We do this using a combination of our extensive stock inventory, bespoke graphics and prop options. This is all done taking into account spacial limitations such as room orientation, the required projection screen solution and any irregular building shapes or ceiling heights.

Thankfully, the days of endless dull flat-panel sets have long gone. Now, delegates expect to be impressed at any event – whether it is for 20 people or 2000 – and sets have adapted dramatically. An effective use of lighting or positioning can really make panels stand out and 3D elements are a great way to highlight brand logos. You can really control how to lead the eye by changing up the layouts or breaking up stages into different sections and incorporating video screens.

We get really excited when we have the opportunity to push the boat out using clever technology and dynamic scenic elements.

Using Technology

Incorporating flexible visual technology such as LED and pixel mesh can take us away from the limitations that are found with front or rear projection screens. Along with an innovative use of lighting fixtures, it’s possible to turn what would be a standard 16:9 screen into a stunning AV installation. Scenic props and theming can also be a great way to make an impact. Even the smallest prop delivering the right message can become a talking point and a memorable part of any event set.

Designing the perfect solution is all well and good but a stage set plan is only as good as the way we present them to the client. We need to put our ideas forward in a way that gets our clients as excited as we are.

As well as using detailed CAD plans of the venue, we take advantage of 3D rendering technology to create our set ideas in situ. These are drawn to the intended dimensions in an exact recreation of the room the event will be held in. This is by far the best way to give a full impression of our proposed designs. With an effective lighting and rendering process, we can produce photorealistic images of exactly how the set will appear on the day.

With advances in VR technology, we can even provide a headset for our clients to experience the proposed event space in 3D, with the ability to look around our virtual proposal. Find out how we do this.

Working as a Team

Once an event is underway, we work together as a team – designers, event managers and technical producers – to bring our ideas to life.

At any event, no matter what activities are planned or whatever show-stopping tricks we have up our sleeve, the set always remains an important focal point to proceedings, setting the scene for the whole show.

Find out more about events and technical AV support with HGA.