ISE 2022: The fireworks are back

Attend ISE 2022, download your free ticket here and use code RFWDGSQR.

During the pandemic, many producers of live events explored opportunities online. As large-scale events come on stream again, which innovations remain the most relevant?

“Many projects that were put on ice during the pandemic are now being rolled out, although sometimes in a slightly different form,” says Trond Solvold, Sales Director, Dataton. “It seems corporate events will probably stay weighted towards hybrid events, while public events such as festivals or sports are quicker to return to pre-pandemic normality.”

There are differences in the speed of return of the live events sector on an international level, although things are moving in the right direction.

“Live events in Poland and the Baltics were hit hard during the pandemic but, as restrictions ease, people are eager to get back out to concerts, the theatre, shows and exhibitions,” reports Martin Romanowski, Regional Sales Manager, Peerless-AV. “All being well, this sector will boom in the next few years.”

The cultures of countries like Spain and Portugal tend to be more outdoors-based than some other European nations.

“In Spain and Portugal digital initiatives such as live concerts streams have not been a solution to experiencing an event in person,” says Christian Orcin Torner, Managing Director, Iberia, d&b audiotechnik. “Although [streaming] has allowed artists to keep in touch with their fans, both artists and the public are anxious to meet in a venue to feel the true live experience.”

Spain led the way in the return to large scale participation when, in March, Barcelona hosted a concert by the band Love of Lesbian attended by 5,000 fans, wearing masks, tested for antigens and with no social distancing. It was among the first such test events in Europe.

“The pandemic forced a re-examination of public safety at live events,” says Brad Price, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Audinate. “This has meant spreading audiences out over larger areas to remain safely distanced, and with that the use of live feeds for both remote streaming and extended rooms that bring the event to people who cannot be near the performers. In both areas, AV-over-IP has played a key role, enabling systems to more easily be expanded over distances, and making it easy to feed media directly into streaming servers for remote attendees.”

August saw the return of one of Europe’s biggest dance music festivals, Creamfields, with performers including Tiesto and David Guetta playing to 80,000 people over four days. UK based CSD Productions deployed an OB truck and three flyaway kits for organiser Live Nation. CSD was able to do this in a matter of weeks and successfully pull off an event that normally takes six months of planning.

By September, rock bands Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer were headlining the first leg of a global tour playing to 45,000 fans a night at Major League Baseball venues across the US.

“There’s an added responsibility to ensure that every show is as good as it can possibly be for fans starved of live music for so long,” says Stuart Merser, director of Vis-a-Vis Media, which live produced the concert’s video workflow.  “After last the 18 months it is fantastic to get music shows back on the road but I hope fans realise the effort care and attention it takes from a lot of people behind the scenes. We don’t just rock up and unload production gear. It’s a tough working environment where every piece of the puzzle has to happen to deliver the production.”

Covid-19 also meant that many live productions had to be done outside the studio. Here again, AVoverIP acted as an enabling technology, allowing for easy deployment of equipment on location with minimal cabling and labour required.

For example, when sports commentators and talk show hosts were home-bound, AVoverIP allowed crews to quickly set up systems that connected to OB trucks or the public internet to keep the programs going.

“The huge number and variety of compatible AV-over-IP products on the market made it much easier to find just the right gear for these unexpected situations,” says Price, “eliminating legacy problems of analogue levels, ground loops, noise, and fussy proprietary cable and connector types.”

The largest change in enabling hybrid and steaming events – and which will likely continue to be important long-term – is the ability to collaborate and produce live content together while physically apart. In practice this is done with multiple individuals spread out safely across many different rooms, spaces, and sites.

“If there’s one thing I’d say that has accelerated during the pandemic, it’s the fusion of broadcast, AV and video conferencing technologies through software-defined and IP methodologies,” says Liam Hayter, Senior Solutions Architect, NewTek. “This has given customers the ability to choose best-of-breed technology from these traditionally siloed verticals to adapt to the challenges of remote and sociallydistanced participation of live content.”

Whether for temporary events or fixed installation for concerts, music festivals, sporting events or product launches, visitors want to be wowed. As the sector begins to emerge from its lockdown-enforced closure, live events are something of a novelty – but it won’t be long until audience expectations start continuously rising once again.

There is only one place to start looking for inspiration. Aside from exhibition halls overflowing with the latest audio visual gear, ISE 2022 heralds the debut of the first Live Events Summit. Attendees can join experts at this new conference strand to explore every trend in the live events market that is driving the deployment of new technologies and solutions and bringing live back to life.

Mike Blackman, Integrated Systems Events Managing Director explains: “As a physical, in-person event, we are in a unique place to bring all elements of the industry togetherunder one roof and we cannot wait to see you all.In the build up to Barcelona we have worked hard to ensure that ISE2022 offers a safe, enjoyable and very worthwhile experience for the industryto showcase innovation, be inspired by some of the brightest in the business. We look forward to seeing you there.”Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2022 will take place at the Fira de Barcelona, Gran Vía, on 1-4 February 2022.”

Attend ISE 2022, download your free ticket here and use code RFWDGSQR.


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