The Lutheran Education Association (LEA) Convocation happens every 3 years, and is a gathering of over 3,000 teachers from all over the world. They come together to learn about changes in the educational world, discover new ways to integrate technology into the classroom, hear from great presenters, and join together in fellowship at large plenary sessions with awesome speakers and entertainment.
The 3-day event was held in Grand Rapid, Michigan at the DeVos Place Convention Center. Inspirmedia was the main production company hired to facilitate the large group plenary sessions, which took place in the main hall, a 100,000 square foot exhibit hall. The event always brings together entertainment of all varieties to the main sessions, from choirs and symphonies, to dancers, dramas, and inspiring speakers. The challenge with having such an assortment of groups on stage during a single event, was making quick transitions to keep the events on time. This is always a priority in any event Inspirmedia does, large or small. Time should be used very wisely during every event and we like to help facilitate the whole event from start to finish to make sure there is not any wasted time.
Our solution for the event was to have an over 100-foot-wide stage that could accommodate multiple groups at the same time. A choir could be leaving one side of the stage, while a drama was going on at the opposite end, and a speaker was prepping in the middle. This kept transition time to a minimum and allowed there to be no awkward breaks during the event.
This wide of a stage did present some challenges though, the biggest of which was lighting. We utilized almost 50 moving lights to cover the massive stage, comprised of SolaSpots, SolaWashes, ShapeShifters, and BMFLs. The lights were spread across 4 separate truss runs above the stage to give each portion of the stage its own lighting look and feel. Programming was run from a Hog 4 Console
All of the participants sat at round tables, which spread them out and meant people were far away from the stage. IMAG was a necessity! 20-foot screens with Panasonic 12,000 lumen laser projectors on the upstage truss took care of a majority of the room, but the back of the room was still a long way away. So we put in 16-foot delay screens with Barco 12,000 lumen projectors halfway back in the house to make sure every person there had a fantastic view. Two cameras at front of house covered the stage well, plus our 32-foot camera jib gave us plenty of angles and great transition shots between the different groups on stage. The jib was indispensable during the symphony as it allowed us to get all the way to the back of the stage and give people a perspective you would never get with regular front cameras.
Additionally, Inspirmedia created content that was shown on the screens during the events. This included an opening video that would mark the beginning of each event to help quiet the audience and focus their attention on stage. This is another technique that we try to integrate into all of our events. Without it, you end up with someone on stage trying to compete with thousands of other people having their own conversations. The opening video grabs everyone’s attention and gets the room to quiet down much more effectively. We also shot and edited a recap video of the conference which was shown during the final plenary session. This is obviously a quick turn around for a video, but by shooting during the day, editing at night, and pre-planning what shots we wanted, we pulled it off without a hitch. Check it out below.