The Studio Helping Businesses Put on Show-Stopping Virtual Events

We talk to John Hobbs, Director of T.H. Collective in Bristol, to find out how e.SPACE has been helping businesses make the transition to online.

Many businesses have been struggling to adjust to the ‘new normal’ as the UK continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Those in the live events industry have been especially hard hit, with social distancing rules making it near impossible to hold physical events.

However, many organisations have been working hard to take this predominantly offline industry, online. Dutch electric bike company VanMoof planned to reveal its new X3 and S3 models at a live launch, but this was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Amsterdam-based design studio Resn created an alternative virtual event which combined a virtual rendering of the bikes, video presentations, and interactive features. The event, which took four weeks to create, attracted 6,000 viewers, with 4,400 orders being placed within 24 hours.

Here in Bristol, T.H. Collective is an event management solutions company which has adapted part of their 30,000 square foot headquarters into a virtual studio called e.SPACE. The team specialise in everything from exhibitions and live outdoor events to corporate conferences and awards ceremonies, and soon will be supporting virtual fashion shows, car launches and product demos, among other things. We talk to John Hobbs, Director of T.H.Collective, to find out more about this exciting new venture.

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When did you begin working on e.SPACE?

“We started building the e.SPACE at the start of June, in collaboration with two other Bristol based businesses - Fineline Lighting Ltd and Mechanical Mouse.  Our intention was to build a black box that could lend itself to any type of event.  The official launch will be on the 25 July, with a live streamed music event and new single launch by local band, the Dusk Brothers. This will be followed by features from more artists over the next few days, including a local choir.”

What virtual events can we look forward to watching at the e.SPACE? 

“While our first live event will be the Dusk Brothers gig, the e.SPACE has recently been used as a studio for a photoshoot by JMP of a local professional football team. In the meantime, we have been busy hosting online conferences using the studio’s remotely manned control rooms, which have been broadcast to live audiences around the world.”

Do you have any success stories you can share with us?

“We were approached by Fruitnet, an international media company & publisher, to help them take their annual event (usually based in Mumbai) into the virtual space. This event has run successfully for the last 15 years, with up to 100 of India’s largest fruit producers in attendance.

“With a turnaround time of just 10 days, our brief was to deliver the same content and brand exposure that delegates would have experienced while attending the event in person. While the audience were mainly based in India, the hosts were based in London and Sydney, with guest speakers and panellists presenting from Germany, Italy, Toronto and Boston.

“We had a full day of rehearsals with each presenter to check sound and lighting levels,  and familiarise ourselves with the individual presentations.  These rehearsals were recorded in case any of our presenters experienced internet dropouts remotely during the live event. This meant that we would be able to seamlessly switch to a pre-recorded backup if needed, without the audience experience being affected.

“On the day of the event, all of the presenters were placed into a virtual “green room”, which allowed us to control microphones and PowerPoint presentations before they went live.  Everything went without a hitch and the day was closed with an interactive Q&A session.  The event was a great success, with more than 650 attendees, exceeding the client’s expectations.

“The client was overjoyed with the result and we have since replicated this and hosted another successful event for them, which was broadcast to a similar-sized audience in China.”

What kind of events would e.SPACE be ideal for?

“As mentioned, our intention was to build a black box – a blank canvas that can be used for a multitude of events.

“With an in-house scenic carpentry team, we are able to construct an environment from scratch, and our video, sound and lighting departments are all on hand to react to clients’ requests.

“Typically, we work within the conferences and exhibitions world, but a few examples of the type of event we can provide are fashion shows, car launches and product demos, as well as AGMs, town hall and all-hands meetings and, of course, music events. All of these can either be streamed live or pre-recorded, depending on our clients’ needs.”

What do you find most exciting about e.SPACE?

“The flexibility of the space really does mean that we can offer "virtually any event", and we can’t wait to get creative! We are really excited at the prospect of working with local businesses; helping them promote and communicate their messages to wider audiences across the globe.”

If you’d like to find out more about the e.SPACE, please visit th-collective.com or contact the team at hello@th-collective.com.

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