Supporting its goal to continue to grow the profile of its events programme, the British Franchise Association (bfa) appointed event production company Metro Broadcast in 2014 to produce the association’s most significant events including annual conferences and award ceremonies. At the same time, Birmingham’s magnificent Town Hall & Symphony Hall were chosen to stage the Franchisee of the Year Awards with broadcaster Steph McGovern as compere. In its second year under Metro’s production, Head of Operations at the bfa Pip Wilkins talks about how the 2015 event has evolved.
Pip said, “We wanted to try to change the look and feel of our award ceremony as it grows in profile and in popularity. Choosing Birmingham’s beautiful Town Hall as the venue was an excellent start. We added a number of new categories to the awards and we asked Metro Broadcast to redesign the production elements of the show.”
Metro’s brief includes developing the event design across lighting, set, sound and video as well as producing the show. Once the event communications are designed in Spring, the design concepts begin to emerge for the Autumn event. Metro Broadcast’s Terence Corness said, “When we created the original set in 2014, we focused on developing a good and lasting design. The brief included two vital elements; to support the event’s identity, and to create a design which could be built in different sizes and in different settings but always appear consistent and on brand.”
The final model included a layered front and rear backdrop. By lighting each layer separately and making the curved, front elevation slightly smaller, Metro gave the set depth and an added dimension; a visual effect which would work in even larger venues should the awards continue to increase in size.
The set allows for two speaker podiums and a large plasma screen to display video and graphics. It also incorporates a motorised, mirror autocue system; the words are discreetly projected (mirrored) from the floor to a reading panel at the presenter’s eye level.
Wanting to improve the overall audience experience, the production team focused on creating a real sense of occasion and prestige. Pip Wilkins said, “One of the reasons we chose Metro Broadcast was because they have a wealth of video experience and we wanted to make the video content as professional as possible for our finalists. I’m pleased to say our confidence in them was rewarded with high-quality videos that really brought out the human stories behind the businesses, and created a special memento of the awards for all our finalists. ”
During the judging day, which took place at sponsor HSBC’s London HQ, Metro created a temporary studio where nominees were interviewed by Metro’s own production manager and filmed by Metro’s camera crew. Back in Metro’s production suite, the videos were edited together with graphics and photography to make top quality video profiles for each of the finalists. The creative team also completely redesigned the presentation to give it a more glamorous feel.
Photos taken of the nominees and guests at the event were superimposed onto a spoof front cover of OK Magazine and were available for guests to download and share on social media for fun.
Talking of plans for future events, Pip Wilkins said, “We are committed to growing the awards programme not only in profile but also by numbers of participants. Feedback on both the venue and the awards as a whole was excellent and we’re confident, with more of the creativity and flexibility Metro
has shown throughout this year and last, that future events will only see the bar raised higher still and help us to achieve our goals.”