Metro Broadcast’s end client, a global non-profit and non-partisan think tank, chose London’s impressive Heron Tower for its Global Summit. The landmark building in the heart of the City – which doesn’t normally operate as an event venue – offered a magnificent but bare and empty space spanning no less than four floors. As technical producers of the event, appointed by the client’s event management agency, Metro Broadcast’s challenge was to realise the potential of the space and create a multi-storey ‘village’ for the three-day event which hosts an international delegation of 600 of the world’s leading investors, philanthropists, economists, medical scientists, senior executives and business leaders. The event was broadcast live on select global television news channels and webcast to on-line viewers world-wide.
In order to turn the empty space into a fully-functioning venue, Metro had five months to complete the planning exercise, design the space as well as appoint and co-ordinate a list of specialist contractors and event industry suppliers. The drawing board was first laid out with plans for flooring, space allocation and partitioning. Once the floor plan was agreed, the technical infrastructure needed to be designed including power supply, cabling, a dedicated IT network, flown lighting rigs, sets, audio and visual installations and a fully operational kitchen. A number of stage areas were created as well as working office space, catering areas, coffee bars and plenary break-out areas.
The production company’s main challenge was to turn the space into a living event environment – from creating the infrastructure to the superficial finishing. Most importantly, the space needed to accommodate a large amount of filming equipment including cameras, an on-site production unit and editing facilities as well as a complex infrastructure of traditional and web-based broadcasting technologies.
Various parts of the conference were to be televised by a select group of news channels. Metro Broadcast’s own film and video crew captured the panel discussions and interviews for digital streaming. Fixed-wired ethernet points for live-linking were installed and tested to ensure the capacity of broadcast could be accommodated.
The content was filmed by HD broadcast quality cameras and Metro’s on-site editor produced a vision-mixed recording of each presentation; select web portals were provided with a news feed shortly afterwards, in near real-time.
Catering for the communication needs of the delegates, breakout spaces included push-to-talk facilities and virtual conference connectivity. Additional broadband capacity was brought into the building and, using a portable network and repeater system across all floors, delegates had reliable wi-fi connectivity for the duration.
The client’s event management agency had been appointed to support delegate communications and logistics, involving the delivery of satellite meetings and dinners across the delegate accommodation. Working in partnership, Metro Broadcast’s creative producer worked closely with the event management agency and end client to develop brand concepts for pre-event communications, the website registration portal, delegate collateral, presentation graphics and sponsor exhibition stands – not to mention the main set and other staged environments across all four storeys. Making best use of the strategic location of the venue, over-sized logos were installed on the Tower’s gigantic window panes, spanning multiple floors – visible outside of the building and across the City.
Speakers were professionally supported by Metro Broadcast’s experienced producers who welcomed them on-site with purpose-built, ‘speaker-ready’ facilities and gave a full technical briefing to broadcast journalists from CNBC and Bloomberg who hosted the televised panel sessions. Many of the speakers were high profile including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for whom personal and additional security measures had to be put in place. Metro liaised closely with the designated security team to arrange this.
Metro Broadcast’s creative producer, together with a roving camera team, secured and conducted vox pox interviews with a number of CEOs and CFOs to be used as part of a post-event video.
Overall the end client was delighted with the event and Metro Broadcast has since been awarded the production contract for the following year’s event.