Strong-MDI: Why Staged Events Require Custom Screen Solutions

To effectively maximize the impact of your video presentation, don’t confine yourself to pre-made, cookie cutter screen systems when there are better solutions available.

Just because an event is short term, the solutions do not have to be cheap, plain or rented. The best clients want the best experiences for their audiences. They’re trying to make a splash and wow the audience. Whether the event is a Fortune 500 sales meeting, Wall Street investor seminar or Silicon Valley technology conference, a key to getting the message across is video that provides eye catching, jaw dropping impressions.

Staged events require specialized solutions, far different from permanent installations, so the challenges expand beyond simply wanting a great visual experience at a reasonable long-term price. You must consider the labor requirements not just for easy setup, but also teardown. Physical obstacles may prevent access into a ballroom, stage, or school auditorium so components have to be planned for existing halls, elevators and loading facilities. Reusability may be important to the cost/value proposition and budgeting.

To make the splash and wow the audience, simple rental screens just won’t cut it anymore. Custom should be the watchword for the screen solutions. To effectively maximize the impact of your video presentation, don’t confine yourself to pre-made, cookie cutter screen systems. Pedestrian rental screens may easily pop-up and fold down, but the very best staged event plans employ truly custom solutions to deliver the best overall benefits.

What to consider-

Size and shape of venue

A good place to start is to consider the physical size and shape of the venue. Wide seating will often require multiple images so viewers left to right get a good view. Deep seating arrangements where everyone faces front require bigger images and possibly side screens so viewers in the back do not feel left out. Seating may not all be facing front, so rear screens or side screens may bring more of the audience closer for better viewing and enable designers to keep image height manageable to a venue’s ceiling.

Not all seating arrangements are focused on a central dais. There might be multiple speaking locations and there may be broadcast cameras feeding the screens so you can present speakers in life like size to viewers all around a room. Your event screens can completely wrap around an audience or have separate rear, side or corner systems so every viewer gets a great view.

Multiple Screens vs Single widescreen

While the design plan may call for multiple images, a single continuous screen system, with images either blended or separated, saves money. There is an economy of scale having a continuous multi-image widescreen. Less components save on material costs and easier rigging saves time, which is another way of saving money.

Front or Rear Projection and additional considerations

Projector locations will dictate front or rear projection, but there is so much more to picking the right screen material. Evaluate the ambient light situation. Will you be able to control the ambient light in any way? Keeping unwanted light from spilling onto a screen improves the uniformity and contrast. Choosing a material combines knowledge of the projector brightness, the ambient light, the viewing requirements and the gain value of the screen material. There are many good articles in our Blog on the subject of how to choose the right screen for your needs, so we will not delve into those subjects here. For our discussion, the primary consideration is front or rear projection.

You have a plan. You know the image size(s) you want. You have a plan for curved or flat screens. You have decided on front or rear projection. Now, how do you translate that to the structures and materials you need for your project?

Screen Support Structures

Structure complexity should flow from the design. Most commonly, event systems utilize a top and bottom frame structure without heavy physical sides. Well leveled top frame systems allow the screen material to hang vertically and the design can often omit the usual side structure of a permanent installation. When side stability is needed to combat heavy air movement from sources like HVAC, cable pockets may be all that are required.

Systems can use a range of top support options including modular truss, pipes or you can have a wrap, like a Strong MDI Domino. Lacing to basic pipe will expose the pipe to the audience. This is often called the trampoline look. Wraps and trusses allow lacing screen material out of sight creating an invisible frame look. Much more attractive than the trampoline look. Cost versus aesthetic benefit will guide your choice. Screen materials may require backing or borders to prevent shadowing from the structure if wrapped.

Screen systems need anchoring at the bottom to hold the screen material flat and prevent swaying. Common options are chain or pipe for securing or weighing down the bottom of the screens. The exposed trampoline style would employ grommets visibly laced to a bottom pipe. Hidden designs can utilize pipe and chain systems that are slid through pockets. These pockets are sewn or welded at the bottom of the screen to hide the weighting. There are also options for half-moon openings in the pocket to allow straps or zip ties to attach to sandbags. Draping can also be employed to hide exposed pipes or weighting systems.

Systems are not always flat. Screen manufacturers can make curved pipes or wraps. Complex systems can even combine flat and curved sections in a single design to bend around corners. You will need to define the arc sections by some key measures like radius and arc length or chord width and chord depth. These apply to circular arcs. Non-circular arcs may be an option, so contact your screen provider to discuss these options in more detail.

Rigging

Rigging must be considered. If the venue does not have a pipe grid in the ceiling, designers have to plan for portable rigging, which can include truss systems, hydraulic lifts and crank stands. In flat screen designs, it is possible to have truss doubling as the framing. In curved screen designs, lifts and stands are the better options to suspend or support the screen systems.

When the client has grand visions for the outcome of an event, employ equally grand solutions of custom screens to make the images, presenters and messages pop.