partner relations with sarah guerra

el-j works with some of the best people around the world to make a once in a lifetime experience. Good people like Sarah Guerra help el-j in creating this experience.  

Can you summarize what you do for United Rentals and what you do for el-j?

I am the creative lead for United Rentals. I handle all graphics for the company including the planning and execution of event graphics. We work with el-j to plan and produce internal and external events.

Why do you like working with el-j/what is your favorite part about working with el-j?

They take the time to involve themselves deeply in our organization to ensure that the event is truly conveying United Rentals understanding our customers and employees. They continually bring new production industry trends to the table to elevate our events. We have really been able to take our events to a whole new level with el-j.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your industry?

In a rapidly changing industry, we are uniquely positioned based on our value proposition to put us a step ahead.

What is your favorite thing about the production process?

Having the unique vantage point I do, I love being a part of the planning and backstage action and then seeing it all come to light. Watching everyone’s face in the audience light up the moment the music starts gets me every time. 

straight talk with el-j: stage management 

As our partners know, the el-j team rises early with coffee in hands and inspiration in eyes. el-j delivers value to clients by assembling the best team of skilled professionals and continuously develops relationships within the el-j teams. 

Being a part of the el-j teams means bringing together meaningful connections. el-j's specialty is bringing great people together to do great work. el-j partners with some of the best partners and are proud to have an abundance of long-lasting relationships. 

One relationship that showcases this connection is Robin Rumpf. Robin has been a Stage Manager for el-j for X years. Robin explains the dynamic of el-j’s work as fast-paced, complicated, and exciting.

“I absolutely love working for el-j. John and Ed hire the right people for the job, and they let the experts do their job well.”

When working with el-j, in addition to laughing with the team, Robin manages the fast-paced environment that she said is complicated to explain. 

“There are so many moving elements to production. Back on Broadway, there were 2 weeks of preparation time. In production, you get 2 hours.”

Robin juggles tasks, preparation, clients, issues, technical aspects, and more at the same time before the show. She knows the ins and outs of all aspects of production and el-j loves having her on the team. 

During your next el-j event, look out for Robin!

-       For questions about production and stage management, contact John Bettini at (email).

straight talk with team el-j : the use of public airwaves

This Straight Talk displays some of the ins and outs of the importance of audio during an event. el-j’s partner, Kelly Epperson, gave us the inside scoop of the importance of the choosing the right wireless microphone systems for a meeting or event and provided information about public airwaves the changes that are occurring in the United States. Kelly has worked in audio system design, mixing and RF coordination for over 25 years.

 

What are some considerations when our clients are choosing microphone systems and using wireless microphones?

There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right system. Some considerations are the type of meeting that is being conducted, confidential information being shared, wireless systems being used around the area and mitigating interference, the country the event is being held, equipment availability, and of course cost. 

 

What are some questions you address frequently when preparing a client for an event?

1.    How can I ensure that other parties aren’t eavesdropping?  

a.    With a product like Shure Axient Digital, encryption is easily enabled to prevent unapproved receivers from intercepting the microphone signal.

2.    Can anyone unauthorized listen when I am presenting confidential material or speaking in off-mic conversations? 

a.    If the wireless microphone signal is not encrypted, then it is technically possible for unauthorized parties to listen in.

b.    As we have seen in the past couple years, individuals who are being interviewed or participating in a television show, for example, might be having their conversations recorded between takes since many times the recording devices are not necessarily stopped each time. 

3.    What happens if a member of the press or another wireless device interferes with my microphones and how do mitigate those risks?

a.    One of our standard practices is to inquire if there will be any press invited or even the corporate communications department for the company we are work with on a project. If so, I will ask to be connected with those individuals in order to pre-assign frequencies, so they can use their wireless systems during the event without interference to either party.  

b.    For events open to the press, it is a similar procedure but typically more detailed and begins prior to the press’ arrival if the event is expected to have a large press contingency.

4.    What procedures should be put in place from the beginning of the project?

a.    Always communicate to the production company if any outside crews will be allowed into rehearsals, the meeting or event and if they will be requiring the use of wireless microphones or a connection from the audio mixer.  It’s always important to know who is being given a direct audio feed or even can pick up sound within the room.  (Press, corporate communications, webcasts, etc.) 

5.    Can I remotely change the frequency of the transmitter when a presenter is on stage?

a.    It is possible to change the frequency of a presenter’s microphone remotely if interference is detected.  My system of choice is the Shure Axient products.  This offers the greatest insurance against wireless microphone interference.

6.    Is a wired mic ‘more secure’ than a wireless microphone?

a.    Yes and No.  Yes- technically you cannot wirelessly eavesdrop on a wired microphone.  However, if you are offering direct feeds from the audio mixer for the press, corporate communications, simultaneous translation or even webcasts, it is imperative that there is a clear understanding of when content should never be sent during a rehearsal for instance.

 

Why does this matter for our clients?

Like other wireless technology in use today (Wi-Fi and cellular), convenience brings with it additional challenges.   When a client works with a trusted production company like el-j, they can rest assured that our team is taking all these into consideration.  For instance, as new technology like Shure Axient Digital has become readily available throughout the world, we have begun using it on as many events as it’s available.  Also, with the ever-changing RF landscape, we provide an RF coordinator.  This allows us to mitigate risks as much as possible. Not technology is perfect, but we work hard to ensure the best possible outcome.

 

What is the incentive auction from the FCC and how does it affect future events that el-j will be producing?

In 2016, the FCC began the process of auctioning off RF spectrum in the television broadcast band. In the past, these frequency blocks were utilized by TV broadcasters to transmit television signals and we were allowed to operate our microphones and intercom in unused spectrum depending on the city we were working. With predicted wireless data device usage set to grow exponentially, more frequencies were needed by the telecom companies such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.

 

This was called an incentive auction because both the broadcasters and the U.S. Government received the payments from the winning telecom operators.  Besides the short-term gain of revenue came directly from the auction, telecom taxes over the lifetime of the companies would be considerable.

 

The frequency ranges auctioned were desirable for the telecoms for two reasons.  First, the lower frequencies allowed the wireless telecom devices to work more effectively in urban areas with large buildings and other structures. Secondly, the ability to purchase operating frequency ranges that were contiguous across the entire United States made it very appealing to the telecom.

 

So, what does this mean for el-j and their customers?

This has resulted in myself and my RF coordinators doing more prep before arriving on site for load in to ensure we have systems that legally can operate in the spectrum available as well as planning for other users in the area.  Many times, we will work in the same city multiple times in just a month or two’s time and notice an increase in cellular traffic in just a week’s time.  That means we have to ensure our mics don’t operate in that area both from a legality perspective and equally important that the mic will work interference free.

 

 

el-j is hired to make sure our clients don’t have to worry about all of this, but what should our clients know about these new regulations?

Any microphone and intercom systems built after a certain date are no longer allowed to be manufactured in the frequency ranges that were auctioned off.  After 2020, it will be illegal to operate in the same frequency range as the cell phone or wireless data devices. In fact, if the broadcaster has released their channel assignment and the winning telecom has activated their systems in those markets, it is illegal to operate devices in that range. 

Legality aside, the end user wouldn’t want to risk using devices in those frequency ranges simply because you couldn’t be guaranteed that your presenter’s mic wouldn’t be interfered with during the presentation.

 

**If you have any questions about production or AV technology, please call team el-j!  We're here to help.  Ed Baldi: edbaldi@el-j.com and  John Bettini: jbettini@el-j.com. 

The Power of Great Partnerships

At el-j productions, we don’t just partner with our AV suppliers, we also partner with our clients. It’s the power of these great partnerships on both sides of the production equation that has proven time after time to be the key to success.  Yes, success for our company and our suppliers.  But, most importantly, success for our clients who recognize that we’re far more than “just another production vendor.”

el-j's specialty is bringing great people together to do great work. We are proud to have an abundance of long-lasting relationships in the industry and with clients including Coca-Cola, Ritz-Carlton and Schneider Electric.

At the start of every project, we do a lot of listening and we ask a lot of questions.  Once we have an understanding of the scope, we handpick the best team and suppliers for that client and that event.  Then, we work hard to make sure that everyone involved with el-j productions has a great experience.  The result?  Flawless, impactful, memorable, meaningful events and partnerships that thrive.

Got Tech Needs?

Attendees are consumers and consumers are more tech-savvy than ever.  They expect to be "wow'd" when walking into a ballroom or go online to watch a global broadcast.  

Many of our clients come to us with brilliant ideas but aren't sure which technology solution is best. And, with technology changing by the minute, it's hard to keep up.  This is where el-j shines.

We know that companies need to tell a wide range of stories to a wide variety of audiences.  Having the right technology in place (and the right team to execute) is mission critical.  Graphics, video, sound, and lighting can work to enhance presentations and audience engagement. We also know that every experience your audience has with your company reflects on your brand, so it needs to be perfect. 

Executive Summit?  Global Broadcast? National Sales Meeting, Award Show or Product Launch?  Whether your audience size is 50 or 50,000, having the right technology and production partner is essential. We are experts at creating and producing strategic, inspired event experiences…and, then executing them with Broadway-like precision.

Got tech needs?  At el-j, we've got you covered.

Relationships with Ritz

el-j is proud to have been working for The Ritz-Carlton since 2006. It was bittersweet to be a part of the soon retired Chevy Chase headquarters. There are many fond memories planning the Sales and Marketing meetings, Key Account Events, and General Managers meetings. We are excited to continue to the next chapters with Marriott’s Global Residences, including The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and W. Our team is excited to announce we will be producing the Global Residential Leadership Conference in May.

Meetings: Meeting Missions

Productive meetings can enable businesses to achieve higher objectives when employees and customers want to be "in the now and looking to the future". Any meeting should be previously constructed and prepared to generate maximum results and quality outputs. The results of a meeting should help synchronize the company and enhance the knowledge of the company on an individual level. Here are some tips for dominating the meeting grounds. 

https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-to-fix-the-most-soul-crushing-meetings

 

The “value of well rehearsed stagecraft”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/07/am-i-on-abcs-amazingly-awkward-start-to-saturdays-debate/

Anyone who has ever walked onto a stage knows how frightening being in front of an audience can be. The fact that the GOP Candidates were walking out in front of a live studio and broadcast television audience makes the anxiety and stakes understandably that much higher. Which is why, after viewing the awkward entrances at the beginning of the GOP debate Saturday night, one has to ask- what were they thinking and what can we learn?

At the very least it is the immeasurable value of rehearsal time.

Avoiding this kind of mishap is worth every effort and while there are certainly mitigating circumstances that only those present may know and fully understand – one must ask if staging a theatrical “walk-on” was really necessary to the core objective of a political debate?

America will be watching the next presidential debate closely, hopefully, for all the right political reasons. No matter the outcome it is sure to be an “entertaining” election year.

 

Loyalty Programs

These days, it seems every store you make a purchase from asks for your loyalty card during checkout.  Our friends at Brand Verve provide an interesting view on why these loyalty programs are not actually creating a more loyal customer.  They suggest that companies should invest more time and effort into learning more about their customers and researching the most effective ways to reward them than just another card to add to their keychain.

Worth the read:  Why Loyalty Programs Aren't Working

 

Live at Le Hive

For the broadcast of Schneider Electric’s live broadcast from Le Hive- a closing video was created to finish out the event. This video highlights the tremendous  amount of work that went in to the broadcast and the incredible team that was behind it all! Please watch and enjoy this short example of what truly was a wonderful event to be a part of!

Hello and Welcome to the el-j productions blog!

Whatever brings you to this page; you’re going to be glad you’ve come!  How do I know? Well, this is going to be the place to learn not only about what is going on with el-j, but to gain many other production and event industry insights, expertise and learn about new industry trends.

For us here at el-j, 2014 was a busy and exciting year.  We were not only able (and lucky) to work with many of our good friends, clients and associates (some of the best in the industry) – but also to meet and form relationships with new clients, vendors and technicians, who will be a part of many exciting upcoming projects.

As for 2015- it is off to a strong start to say the least! January began for us in Paris where we helped to craft a truly groundbreaking global live-streamed broadcast for Schneider Electric. It was a terrific experience, full of consummate professionals, innovative solution oriented designers and technicians, and an unparalleled support staff.

Coming soon- so check back- a short video reel highlighting the broadcast and production!

Of course, it’s impossible for me to think of our visit to Paris, without remembering the tragic events of January 7th and the days that followed.  As with the events of 9/11, I will remember the fear and sadness of the immediate event, but even more than that, I will remember the strength and unity of the French people and indeed the world. They showed that wherever there is terrorism and fear there is also courage, bravery and sacrifice. Je suis Charlie.

There are truly too many promising and exciting projects coming down the pike here at el-j to name. So you’ll just have to come back often and see what’s happening! We will feature many guest blog posts from our friends and associates- so if there is a subject that interests you- please leave a response in the comments!

John Bettini

CEO