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Case study

Under the spotlight: Staging a high profile annual conference

2 day






A huge arena event, a high-profile speaker, broadcast TV feeds and simultaneous seminars. R&B Group tackles the NHS Confederation behemoth.

In the footsteps of Beyoncé

With the Secretary of State for Health due to speak at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference, all eyes were definitely going to be on Liverpool for this event.

The ACC Liverpool arena normally echoes to the sounds of international bands and artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Beyoncé. But for two days, R&B was going to be providing complete event production for the whole shebang.

NHS Confed 2017 Install wide.jpg

Only as good as the planning

Of course, the planning stage was epic, including a rigorous health and safety pre-production process and an extremely detailed conference plan, which had to deliver all the best solutions - within budget.

Making the ACC our own

Build-up was scheduled for two days before the event, around fringe conferences (which, incidentally we also facilitated).

First up, we needed to divide the arena in two, creating an auditorium area and an exhibition space. To minimise noise between them, we rigged a double drape divide, which also neatly provided housing for backstage technical equipment and green room areas for the keynote speakers.

The rig kicked off on Monday morning at 7am sharp, with a crew of more than 20 swarming in to install truck-loads of equipment.

NHS Confed 2017 install plans.jpg
We had full confidence in R&B. We felt Paul, Kevin and the team interpreted our vision for the event excellently. They worked professionally, promptly and collaboratively to deliver the largest projection mapping sequence ever played in the North East. They understood the brief clearly as the high profile main event in a year of celebrations to mark NECC’s 200th anniversary. Without R&B’s support I have no doubt the event would not have been the success it was.
- Dan Marsden-Knight, Events Manager, North East Chamber of Commerce

The science bit

First in place was a large colour change lighting rig, with custom gobos and a large line array PA system.

While all the overhead gear was being rigged and tested, another team was setting up the extensive backstage vision equipment and power distribution. This included a broadcast standard HD and a three camera vision-mixing production unit, to mix cameras not just for our audience but also for feeds to UK media such as the BBC.

Of course, in the digital age, live web broadcasting is essential. The organisers also wanted palantypists to create live subtitles, which, for a live event, means specialist screen technology to split cameras, graphics and the subtitles and show them all on one super-wide 12m screen.

Meanwhile, our vision operatives and camera crew were installing super bright projectors and cameras all round the auditorium.

Presentations without tears

Over in the other part of the ACC, a separate crew was installing seven breakout rooms of various sizes - a vital part of the conference schedule.

All rooms contained a full AV set up and a trusted R&B multi-skilled engineer. We installed lecterns and PA systems for the speakers, panel discussions and other fringe activities, with projectors, screens and laptops to make sure that the key points were always pin sharp.

Our engineers created a dedicated slide preview area, where the small army of presenters could check their all-important PowerPoint presentations, make changes, ask AV advice and submit their slides to be ready for them in the right room.

NHS Confed 2017 op 1.jpg

Running like clockwork

After a pretty impressive day and a half of hard work, we were ready for rehearsal.

With everything looking good, the doors opened the following morning and we were into production. Every session involved a briefing with the client, an R&B Group project manager and a stage manager to run over the details and - always vital with a live event - to keep up to date with any last-minute changes.

Three sessions a day meant our crews needed to be on the ball from dawn till dusk - but of course they stepped up to the mark and helped the NHS Confederation deliver an inspiring and enlightening annual conference.

Are you planning a similar event?

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The dream team

These are the people who made it happen

  • Antony Crerar

    07850 735124

    Antony has been involved with R&B for 20 years and functions as our development director.

    Over the years he has had a variety of different roles within the business including generating new clients, implementing new systems and software and now as our finance director keeps an eye on the old purse strings.

    Antony is a big foodie and enjoys nothing more than a slap up meal at some of his favourite restaurants, takeaways and occasionally something cooked at home.

  • Richard Goodaire

    head of projects
    07767 603 637

    Richard has been with us for over 20 years and has worked his way up from the warehouse all the way to managing the projects team. His role means he has his fingers on the pulse of all of the projects that come through the R&B doors.

    Richard enjoys a challenge and is constantly striving to come up with new and creative ways to add to his client’s events.

    In his spare time, Richard is a keen sports fan and petrol head, following a multitude of motorsports and spending weekends as a freelance cameraman covering a range of sports across the country.