MGG Productions Setting the Standard

Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank of South Africa recently held their annual general meeting at Sun City and used the event as a platform to re-launch the division under the generic Standard Bank brand.

When they asked Mark Gaylard of rental company MGG Productions to provide his skills in ensuring the success of the event, he knew he’d be relinquishing the luxury of sleep. “It has been our biggest job to date,” said Mark, who was clearly relieved at having successfully pulled off such a demanding gig. “Clients invariably prefer dealing with one person who coordinates the entire event. On this job, that person was me. With something of this magnitude, however, it makes sense to subcontract parts of it to other players in the industry whose work we know and trust.”

Bringing in the big guns

The look and feel of the walk-in was impressive, but low-key. Festoons had been brought down around the periphery of Sun City’s Superbowl, hiding the food stalls that encircled the conference area. The stage was closed off with a curtain.

“When the CEO announced the name change, we used gobo effects and stirring music, but we were saving the big guns for later,” Mark stated. “An hour’s break – during which time the delegates left the Superbowl – followed the daytime formalities. The seating had to be replaced with cocktail tables, and we had to fly floor screens, lift six Martin MAC 300s onto the stage, raise the festoons hiding the food stands – the activity was intense!”

But the effort paid off: “When Johnny Clegg appeared, the excitement was electric. That’s when we pulled out all the stops with the lighting. We’re talking eight Martin MAC 250 Entour moving head spots, eight MAC 2000s, six MAC 300s, three Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, eight MAC 250+ moving head spots, four Jem ZR 24/7 hazers, twelve Martin RoboScan 1220 moving mirrors, and 16 High End Studio Color moving head washes. MGG Productions supplied the Martin gear distributed in South Africa by Electrosonic.

Maxxyz makes for quick learning

Upstage’s Kurt Du Preez looked after the lighting, which he’d done throughout the day with Johnny Clegg’s sound handled by Johan Griesel. “The thing about Kurt is that he knows what he wants to see and he can translate it into the controller,” Mark commented. “He was using a Martin Maxxyz lighting desk that had arrived in the country a couple of days previously. Kurt had very little experience with it, but you’d never have known!”

Other gear included six AV screens – two linked to Barco’s that Sun City had brought in, and four on the floor, linked to Sanyos that MGG provided. Sound Corporation’s Jonathan Green handled conference sound. A tricky satellite video link was also a part of the show. “So much could have gone wrong, but preparation on our part, and providence on the part of the elements beyond our control, won the day,” Mark stated.

The event was a roaring success, thanks to the experience and preparation that Mark and his subcontractors brought to the party. “But,” he adds, eager to spread the credit, “let’s not forget that the Superbowl is a great venue, and the Sun City people are incredibly helpful.”

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