Light plays an important role in all types of meetings. Whether it comes from traditional fixtures, bulbs that can almost match Pantone colors, computer-controlled consoles, or moving-head projectors, the impact of light on an event can be profound. Knowing what the options are and having a basic understanding of the different types of equipment available can help planners design both memorable and highly effective events.
Transforming a ballroom from daytime classroom to evening nightclub is no easy task—especially when budgets are limited. One way to instantly and economically change the mood is to use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs inside parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR) light fixtures. LED bulbs can deliver a variety of color options, and PAR lights, automated using computer-controlled consoles or intelligent lighting, can wash a room with color instantly.
“Intelligent lighting has opened up the creative tool box immensely,” says Brandt Krueger, audio-visual expert and freelance technical producer, consultant, and speaker. For example, being able to reposition spotlights using computers (vs. manipulation by hand or using lights that are completely stationary) makes it possible for lighting technicians to immediately put a “leko” (a type of spotlight) on a rogue speaker who decides to walk into the audience unannounced.
Brands have myriad options for expressing themselves using lighting. Stencils made of glass or metal placed over a light source (referred to as gobos) can project company logos and other images onto a wall or floor. And, because of intelligent lighting, multiple gobos can be placed on the fixture so the images can be changed automatically, such as when one company sponsors the daytime activities but another is responsible for underwriting the evening festivities. LED lights allow companies to be more precise with brand colors and change them on the fly.
Moving head projectors have begun to blur the lines between lighting and projection. They allow technicians to focus light in the same way that intelligent lighting can but expand the creative possibilities much further than traditional lighting does. Projectors are capable of casting computer-generated images, such as animated logos or videos, onto a surface. Using projectors, planners (with healthy budgets) can employ more complex imagery—melting walls instead of intermittent red, green, and blue walls.
Lighting becomes immensely important when meeting content—sessions, keynotes, or panel discussions—is being projected using image magnification (IMAG) projectors or broadcast over the Internet. In these instances, more light than normal is required inside the room so that cameras can capture and provide enough structure to the images to project them onto big screens or broadcast them over digital channels.
“Good lighting has become an expectation for meetings. Creative lighting is a tool that meeting planners can use to add a sense of drama and importance to meeting components,” Krueger explains. While production companies can provide the expertise and creativity to deliver certain effects, planners should understand enough about the options and basic capabilities of the equipment to engage in meaningful conversations.
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