From Then to Now: Virginia Film Festival

From Then to Now: Virginia Film Festival

There are some events, conferences, & festivals in our portfolio that we are lucky enough to get to work on as they develop from year to year, like TEDxCharlottesville which we talked about back in January. Another one of our annual favorites is the Virginia Film Festival's Opening Night Gala! This event is held every year at the Jefferson Theater, and it provides a unique challenge to create a new look in the same space - one with lots of existing ornament - every year.




In its first year being held at the Jefferson, we used our frazzle lanterns and a projection screen to add some visual interest to the stage area. We projected black & white photos of film stars onto the faux balconies on either side of the main space for an old Hollywood feel, and used colorful lighting to increase the ambience.




By 2014, we were venturing into the exciting world of projection mapping! This year's event was based largely around the premiere of the locally-filmed movie Big Stone Gap, so the aesthetic direction was to use fall imagery to evoke the feeling of the Blue Ridge mountains. We created video content to fit this vision, mapped it onto the walls of the space, and topped it off with an extra-large projection screen onstage to display Film Festival branding material.

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The following year, we created some new projection content to better incorporate the festival's new spectrum of branding colors. We also added some hanging Edison bulbs onstage to bring a more rustic feeling to the space.




In 2016, we switched out the onstage projection screen for a unique LED video wall configuration. We also added rain curtain to the stage set to warm it up a bit & add some sparkle, and created more ambient, high-energy projection content for the proscenium and walls.




This year, we worked more of the branding colors into the lighting and revamped the LED wall layout to be more conducive to the Film Festival's existing content. Because fireflies were a major component in this year's poster design, we used a disco ball to splash firefly-like lighting around the space in lieu of projection mapping. We also added string lights to the staging to enhance the ethereal feel.


We're honored to have been involved in this event for so many years, and our long-standing relationship & close connection to the festival allow us to create innovative decor designs while maintaining a thread of stylistic continuity from year to year.

Keynote, PowerPoint, or Prezi?

Keynote, PowerPoint, or Prezi?

There are lots of presentation applications out there these days, many of them rapidly improving in functionality. Working on conferences, we get to see lots of different presentation methods, so we thought we'd take you through the three major ones and break down the pros & cons of each to help you decide which is best for your next presentation.


This application has been around for a while, and it's usually the first program that people learn to create visual presentations with. It's relatively easy to use, it's familiar to most people, and it's available on both Mac & Windows platforms.

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Unfortunately, slide content does not always translate well between Windows & Mac computers, which could cause problems if you built your presentation on one computer and have to present it on another. Overall, though, it is a solid tool for creating slideshows and presenting visual information.

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Keynote is a favorite of many Mac users & Apple aficionados. It has a more minimal & user-friendly interface, and often provides more seamless video & audio playback than PowerPoint.

That said, it is only compatible with Mac platforms - and its presenter mode, which many speakers depend on, can be tricky to customize and lay out effectively. But Keynote gets bonus points for its default slide aspect ratio (which just so happens to be the aspect ratio that looks best on screen!)


Prezi is a much newer option, but we're seeing more and more speakers depend on it for presentations of all scales. It's a free application that offers multiple levels of unique & useful paid features.

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Its main distinguishing quality is the ability to create more engaging presentations using highly dynamic transitions between slides. It also gives you some flexibility in where you edit & play the presentations from, as it is available both as a browser-based and as a desktop application. Because of the dynamic slide transitions, there can be some slight lagging when clicking through slides - so if you like to move backwards & forwards through your presentation quickly, this may not be your best option. All things considered, this application is worth at least toying with to see if the kinetic layouts might give your content some oomph!

If you have any questions about creating presentation content for your next event, feel free to reach out to us by clicking the button below!

Why You Should Record Your Next Conference

Why You Should Record Your Next Conference

We have assisted with many conferences throughout the years, and one of the most valuable services we can provide for this type of event is video recording. There are many ways that a team can benefit from recording their conferences, but there are four in particular that we have found to be the most relevant across the board.

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When a significant portion of the target audience is not able to attend a conference, organizers may choose to record the conference and feed it to a live stream channel. For corporate organizations, this allows teams that are spread out to benefit equally from the information being shared. For public events, this extends the reach of the event's message.


Many companies record key points of their conferences to be used later on for training new team members. This strategy reduces the need for investing in additional training materials, and over time, creates an archive of training assets that can be beneficial to team operations. This is probably the most common motivation for recording that we encounter.

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It can be helpful to have recordings of your event so that you can look back, review what went well & what didn't, and make informed decisions for future events. This is especially useful for events with breakout sessions, as it can be hard to keep tabs on each presentation when there are several occurring at the same time.


Last but not least, one of our favorite uses for video recording is image magnification, or I-MAG. Image magnification means taking video feed of a speaker and putting it up on screen. It is a great way to break up a presentation with lots of slides, improve speaker visibility, and keep your audience engaged throughout the program.

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Although it isn't necessary for every event, video recording can provide many benefits during and after your conference. We'd love to talk with you about the potential added value that video can bring to your event!