Successful Meetings - October 2008 - (Page 18)

Technology Talk > By Michael Goldstein Writing on the Wall You never get a second chance to make a first impression, it’s said, and in this attention-deficit era, just getting a group’s attention is a neat trick. Projecting images through a wall of water is one effect meeting planners can now use to wake up jaded delegates. Indeed, at the recent BET (Black Entertainment Awards) more than half of the 13 acts included some form of pyro, gas flames, cryogenics, fog, or water curtains. system unaffected by the curtain of water. The systems are available in six- or seven-foot-wide sections that can be joined to create screen sizes of 40 feet (or more) in width, with a screen height of 15 to 20 feet. Screens can be set up conventionally or to surround guests. Of course, like any technology, water screens have limitations. While advocates insist onstage floods are unheard of, installation by an experienced production company is highly recommended. And like most screen/projection technologies, water screens work best with low ambient light, so using a water screen at daytime outdoor events is out. The technology is fairly costly. Prina sells a seven-foot section with a screen, ejector, tank, hose, water pumps, and filtration system for $18,900. Most planners will be renting, either through a production house or from a manufacturer like Prina, where daily rental is $2,300. The longer the rental, the lower the price; a salesman estimated that three days would run $3,500, plus shipping. WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE Production and staging company Lightwave International offers both fog screens (using water to create a thin, suspended layer of dry fog that enables projection of images that appear to float) and water screens. Both are great for grand entrances and exits through laser or video-projected company logos, as well as for themed event content. Water walls can be used onstage, mid-room, or on a back wall as projection screens, or in a trade show booth. The water screens provide the unique visual experience of glimmering, rushing cascades, along with the rippling sounds of falling water. The screens work by creating a thin film of water ideal for rear projection of video, lasers, gobos (which created illuminated elements such as logos), and other lighting effects. The projection source can be a laser, video projector, or lighting fixtures with gobos, making images appear to float in front of the audience. Depending on the size of the screen and the available light, one manufacturer, Prina, recommends at least a 3,000-lumen video projector for a seven-inch section. Water falls from an overhead nozzle system into a recovery basin, where it’s recirculated by a high-pressure pump. The surrounding area stays dry, with performers or speakers behind the THE WHY OF WATER SCREENS Nonetheless, water screens are proving increasingly popular as eye-catching effects at corporate meetings, church services, and orchestra performances. Says a spokesperson for one manufacturer, “Everyone will be watching because it’s different. People love the sound—they won’t be looking at their BlackBerrys.” Aqua Visual FX is a water screen that creates a waterfall billboard to exhibit custom-animated graphics, shapes, and text images through a programmed sequence of water droplets. The system includes a central computer system to store and program images and custom show sequences and “a series of intelligent droplet controllers that will pixilate the flowing streams of water.” Every Aqua Visual FX purchase or permanent installation comes with a three-day tutorial. For planners who don’t want to climb the learning curve, it’s also available through production companies like Pyrotek Special Effects and Laser Design Productions. An eight-foot-wide Aqua Visual FX water screen was recently used at the MGM Grand Casinos Employee of the Year Gala. Sarah Sheehan, director of events, coordinated logos and graphics of more than 40 MGM restaurants, clubs, spas, and hotel brands, which were programmed into a continuous show. “The water wall looked great and was a huge hit,” she says. OCTOBER 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Extra Bytes INFLATABLE SCREEN Instead of a water screen, how about an inflatable one? Cinebox’s inflatable screen solutions are made of heavyweight PVC; screens come in sizes from nine feet ($399) up to 40-by-22 feet ($15,595). Most screens can be carried, inflated, and installed by one person. ILLUSTRATION: BEATA SZPURA 18

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - October 2008

Successful Meetings - October 2008
Editor's Note
Supplier News
On the Record
Planner News
Planner Spotlight
Personal Success
Technology Talk
Food &Beverage
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Technology for Modern Meetings
A Tale of Two Cities
A Cast of Thousands
Places & Spaces
Mexican Destination Resorts
New Orleans
Lake Tahoe / Reno

Successful Meetings - October 2008