Central Presentations Ltd (CPL) supplied full technical production and design to the high profile Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS) event in central London, which attracted over 1,000 global investors, leaders and captains of industry – including several heads of State – to Africa’s premier investment summit for power, agriculture, financial services, capital markets, oil and gas and critical infrastructure sectors.
The two day conference took place in the main event space at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, a beautiful grade II listed building designed by Edwin Alfred Rickards and built in 1905-11 to commemorate the centenary of John Wesley’s death, in a premium location opposite Westminster Abbey and adjacent to the Houses of Parliament!
CPL was working for Swindon-based Live Communications who managed the event production for the organiser dmg::events. CPL’s project manager Lee Gruszeckyj co-ordinated a crew of 20 including set carpenters and locals, and the first task was to construct the 16 bespoke metre wide set in the Great Hall, in front of the magnificent organ, originally built in 1912.
A 20ft wide projection screen was flown from the roof and fitted with a gold-painted scenic surround built by CPL, and just behind this was an angled backdrop made from a 14 ft high graphic wrap displaying all the sponsor logos.
Downstage of this, and immediately below the bottom lip of the screen, was another 16 metre wide 10 ft high white and gold graphic wrap which tastefully matched the cream and rich wood interior décor of the Great Hall, as well as presenting the contemporary and contrasting style of the TGAIS branding.
In front on the stage were eight ‘hot-seat’ chairs on house left and the branded lectern on house right.
The hot-seat chairs were fitted with 500mm x 250 mm cubes complete with integral portrait orientated monitor screen which displayed the occupants name just to the side of the seat and also doubled as a water table – a neat, practical and aesthetically pleasing signage solution.
The hot-seat screens were hooked up to a laptop running all the information data overseen by a dedicated crew person
A live relay of the action from the Great Hall was beamed downstairs via a fibre link to the Library Room, in which CPL installed another printed backdrop and at the back of the house stage with a 75 inch LED monitor in front to display the feed, complete with a small d&b E6 PA system.
Utilizing the house projector in the Great Room, presentation materials stored on two laptops and a Mac running playback video content plus ISO feeds from two Sony HXC-100 HD cameras were all sent to the screen via a Barco PDS switcher. A series of comfort monitors installed around the stage and backstage in the ‘mic’ing-up’ room, where speakers were prepared before going onstage … also received ISOs.
A d&b E12 sound system was distributed around the space comprising six E12s with Q7s for front fills, two SSUBS and four E6s for fold-back, fed via a Yamaha QL1 desk.
It was a spoken word event, so eight tie-clip mics on DPA headsets and four hand-held mics – Shure UR4s – were part of the package.
Another CPL crew member was dedicated to mic’ing up the speakers, some of which they could do personally, and others – due to the very high levels of security and the profile of some of the guests – was a case of instructing PAs and other key entourage members how to do it! All of this needed good communication skills and extra time allocated, which was built in to the stage management and scheduling.
Three breakout rooms were fitted up with d&b E6 PAs, tie-clip and hand-held mics together with a dedicated technician, to facilitate additional meetings and discussions.
CPL sent additional audio feeds to press and translation booths and provided an in-ear monitor mix for the producer and the onstage mediator. In total, over 30 channels of radio frequencies all needing clean feeds were utilised.
The lighting scheme was designed using mainly LED sources, both for simplicity and to reduce dimmers and other additional control devices. A combination of ARRI L5 fresnels and ARRI L7 floods were also chosen for their pleasing skin tones, combined with the new ETC Source Four 2550 LED profiles for key light.
To add some razzamatazz around the stage and set were Clay Paky a.leda K20s fitted with B-Eye lenses and CP Mythos multi-purpose moving light fixtures, Martin MAC Aura LED floods and LED battens to wash up the set elements.
Martin LED PARs provided general stage lighting and washed the room and audience, bathing them in soft hues to produce a nice inclusive ambience throughout. All lighting was run from an Avolites Quartz console.
Lee sums up, “Technically it was a relatively straightforward project that required a super high quality presentation with lots of attention to detail and neatness. The high security situation was the challenge that had to be factored in to make sure everything ran smoothly and on schedule, and deliver a successful event to the client”.