As I mentioned in our first Pivot Point, smart production companies are moving incredibly fast to shift from the “traditional” production model. This shift has forced companies to evaluate and change plans on the fly. One such company is Events United located in Manchester, New Hampshire. We caught up with the crew while they were catching their breath and getting ready for their next production.
PH: Tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you got involved in production?
Events United: We started Events United 10 years ago. The initial intention was to help Houses of Worship relay their messages using modern elements of production. Our founder Tim Messina envisioned a welcoming, educational, and creative environment. We offer full production capabilities and rental gear in the audio, lighting, video, staging, photography, film studios, and recording studios.
PH: How long have you been doing production and what kinds of production?
Events United: Events United has been involved in production for 10 years and has grown from a small team working out of a barn to producing large-scaled events. Events United runs production for concerts, festivals, corporate events, Church services, installations, schools, political events, conferences, and trainings.
PH: What is going on with your company right now and what are clients asking for?
Events United: Right now, the industry has been changing so quickly, even before this pandemic struck the world. We have always been keeping up with the technology and thinking of ways to stay ahead of the game. Now with our sister company, Studio Lab, also owned by Tim Messina, we have a facility where more creative people can meet and collaborate. With the government restrictions in place, we can meet our client’s needs by broadcasting their events virtually. from our We essentially run the event like it was initially intended to, without a live audience and instead stream it online for the viewers. Studio Lab is a fantastic space that we are lucky to have. It was built as an alternative source of income and it really allowed us to pivot extremely quickly.
PH: Can you give me an example of a production that might have been a traditional multi-camera shoot and how it turned into a streaming thing?
Events United: The Dropkick Murphy’s are a well-known Irish Punk Band that is a staple in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day with their high energy, Irish music. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Dropkick Murphy’s were forced to cancel their planned shows in the Boston area. Event’s United collaborated with their team to provide their fans with a virtual concert live from our studios. We set up their stage plot and worked hard to deliver an a concert experience that was live streamed across the world and posted online to be viewed ever since. Within the first 24 hours that the video was online, there were almost 10 million viewers and that number continues to grow! This concert brought joy to fans across the world during a difficult time and it is exactly why we are passionate about production.
PH: What kind of info do you need from a potential client and how quickly can you turn it around?
Events United: For something large like the Dropkick Murphy’s livestream event, we had less than 48 hours to pull it off, we with hard worked with their team and ours, we delivered. In other cases, clients may call us in the morning and come in to shoot an event that afternoon. For larger scale productions outside of our studios such as festivals, we usually plan months in advance.
PH: What is your current tech set up?
We are currently using our Studio A (60’x40’) as our main sound stage. In the room we have a 30’x30’ Green Screen, and a 40’x40’ White infinity wall. Above, we have a full lighting grid to customize each experience. We have a 20’x32’ stage and a 30’ Wide LED Wall. The LED wall is made up on 60 Chauvet F2 2mm Video Tiles. The high resolution of the 2mm makes it look fantastic on camera in our studio. We are using Chauvet’s ground support kit for the wall. The lighting rig currently consists of Chauvet Maverick MK2 Spots for textural effects, Ovation CYC 1 FC Cyclorama lights (used for footlight), Ovation E—260WW IP ellipsoidals for specials and front wash, Strike 4 blinders, Colorado M-Solos (hair light), Arri S-60 Skypanels for a stage wash, and Martin Mac Auras for side light. To create more of a broadcast feel in the studio, we use Arri fixtures to wash the stage while creating a nice white light for skin tones on camera.
We currently have (2) Sony X-400 cameras and (2) Sony HXCFB75s for the main camera package. We also tie in a Sony FS7 for more cinematic shoots and a Canon XA55 for a wide shot to easily monitor the studio so our engineers around the building can see what is going on inside the studio. There are Sony CCU’s being used to control the cameras and a Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E switcher to bring it all together. We have a Kessler Kwik Rail System setup close to the floor, and a Cam Mate crane system to capture the aerial shots.
For audio, we have Avid S6L-24Cs in both the broadcast suite and the monitor position. We share the I/O with Avid’s Stage 64 and Stage 16. Depending on the number of inputs and band members determines if we will have 2 audio engineers for the event (broadcast and monitors). With the flexibility of the shared I/O, it makes it very easy to switch back and forth between 1 and 2 consoles with shoots happening almost every day. If we go with 1 console and 1 engineer, that engineer can claim certain output cards to control IEMs, broadcast mix, crew cues, and foldback speakers. The speaker monitoring system consists of d&b audiotechniks Q7’s and M4s, both being powered by D20 Amplifiers. All wireless microphones consist of Shure Axient digital with a combination of SM58s, KSM9s, DPA d-Facto Capsules, 4080 lavs and 4066 headsets. All wireless in-ear monitors use the Shure PSM1000 system.
Wow, what a great opportunity to work with one of my favorite bands. No lie, I actually saw the live stream and these guys and gals did a fantastic job with no time to figure it all out. In true live production esprit de corp they pulled it off in amazing fashion. So this begs the question, are you ready to pivot when you need too? Do you have the right gear and right people to make it happen? We here at ProductionHUB are constantly evaluating gear and with Virtual NAB days away, now is the time to consider adding streaming to your production capabilities. Remember in the big picture it is all about workflow and delivery at the endpoint. You’ve got this.
“We want to thank Tim and everyone here at Events United for putting this on for us. They got all the stuff here for us. The lights, the cameras, the audio stuff, man, you can do it all right. So you if you want to make a video, if you want to come up. If you’re another band that wants to come up and do one of these, you should check it out. Events United. They’ve treated us right, so thank you guys.”
– Ken Casey – Dropkick Murphy’s
“Tim Messina and his team are incredible. They really work hard, are very knowledgeable, and do an incredible job producing high quality work. When it comes to digital-events and video production these guys are the best! Flexible, dedicated, creative, proficient, and reliable. Y’all are amazing!”
– Pastor Rory, Legacy Church
“Grateful for our friends at Events United and StudioLabs. We have been working together with them for many years in a variety of capacities. If you need help in communicating with your clients, communities, congregations, and you don’t know where to start or how to accomplish it, I recommend you contact them. Thank Events United and Studio Labs for all that you are doing.”
-Daniel King – Manchester Christian Church
“We can’t thank the EU team enough for all they have done for Banner Hill! Being a new church plant and recently losing our rental space on a college campus, we were desperate. But a quick phone call and a record production build, they delivered far beyond our expectations. If you are a church that needs a place to record, look no further. Top-notch gear, and some of the best crew around! Thanks so much to everyone at Events United and Studio Lab!”
– Banner Hill Church
“We’re a church plant, nine years in. We did not have an online service. The team at Events United, with very short notice, provided excellent support that enabled us to present a high quality Sunday morning experience for our church.”
– Dave , Chair City Church