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Mice Net : February 2009
news conexion the show story by Nik Blue Conexion event Management recently organised a three day conference for the Australian Directors Guild that included some interesting technical touches. recently completed facilities of the Australian Film Television and Radio School at Sydney’s Fox Studios. The highlight of the conference was a 90 minute session during which a theatrette filled with delegates watched clips from some of legendary Australian director Phillip Noyce’s most recent films, and heard how he chooses the all-important music soundtracks. Too busy to leave Los Angeles where he is currently working on a new Hollywood movie, Noyce and his long-time music editor Joe E. Rand conducted a fascinating and highly informative Q&A session streamed live via the internet. Conexion’s managing director, Robyn Johnson, explained that the use of a high quality two-way video link over the internet made having the keynote speaker on the other side of the world financially viable. “In the past the costs of satellite time alone would have made this way beyond the resources of a small industry association like the ADG,” she said. Beaming in speakers from overseas is nothing new for Conexion. In the past the company has run medical conferences where doctors have performed complex surgery from operating theatres in the US and Europe, watched live by conference delegates in meeting rooms at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. However, a 20 year veteran of major national and international conferences, Ms Johnson cautions against the idea of video links in all but the most exceptional cases. “What made the ADG experience work was a combination of factors that you just can’t rely on,” she said. “For one thing, Phillip Noyce is an especially engaging person who is easy to listen to. He was also speaking to an audience that readily N 28 mice.net ot to be confused with company directors, the ADG represents the people who make feature films, television shows and TV commercials. The event was held at the appreciated how special it was to hear from such a distinguished internationally-recognised Australian living overseas.” Another important aspect that made the session work was the inclusion of clips from Noyce’s movies. As Ms Johnson is quick to point out, it would have been hard to keep the audience’s attention for 90 minutes if the presentation was all “talking heads”. Noyce and his music editor showed before and after versions of selected scenes and described the process that lead to the finished product eventually screened to filmgoers. Getting the technical side of things to work was a major challenge. Ms Johnson says it helped that the company’s executive chairman, Laurie Patton, is a former TV producer. “Essentially, we looked at this the same way that a television station would approach doing a live cross to a major international news story. “A series of technical tests took place well before the event with a small team of technicians on hand at each end.” The Noyce presentation was just one of many sessions that involved the use of sophisticated audio-visual equipment. Ms Johnson said the days when a PowerPoint presentation would impress conference delegates are long gone. “These days many of our clients require multimedia facilities and this means our event managers need to be highly knowledgeable about the latest audio-visual systems.” In the case of the ADG conference there were 25 sessions conducted in seven break-out rooms, many of them held concurrently. While some presenters were happy to bring in their material on DVDs, a number of the sessions required internet access. Having the ability to deliver innovative technical solutions and satisfy the demands of increasingly ‘tech savvy’ clients is just one of the challenges that, according to Robyn Johnson, makes being an event manager in the 21st century an exciting and rewarding career. directs