In these rapidly changing times, communities, businesses, and schools have had to rethink the way they engage through events. Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) is continually adapting to help customers do so, redesigning audio/visual experiences for town meetings, graduation ceremonies, indoor and outdoor movie theatres, and more.
As organizations adapt in-person events spaces to allow for safe interactions amid the coronavirus, they need creative ways to help participants
feel connected. This typically requires changes to sound and visual systems so that participants can see and hear one another in the reconfigured space.
BL&S has been supporting many communities as they hold indoor and outdoor town meetings. Some communities are hosting the meetings across multiple sites or at vast outdoor spaces. With residents spread out across a wide area, the communities need a sound system that can evenly distribute voices intelligibly and prevent audio feedback.
In such cases, BL&S can install a direct line-of-sight sound system, including line array speakers, wired up in the air, to ensure all speakers can be heard clearly. Using custom software, they are able to direct the exact right sound pressure level across the entire seating area. This is one example of how BL&S helps participants communicate with one another, despite social distancing.
Many cinemas and restaurants are looking to draw customers back through outdoor movie experiences. Yet this involves more than just renting an inflatable screen. The larger spaces can make it difficult to hear movie dialogue clearly and for attendees to get a clear view of the screen, and often the infrastructure on location isn’t set up for this type of equipment. BL&S works with clients to acquire appropriately sized screens, and install and tune sound systems to give customers a stellar moviegoing experience, within their budget. The team also manages logistics such as augmenting existing power systems to accommodate the larger sound system.
This year, graduations are looking very different, with many being held in football fields and other open spaces. It can be hard for people sitting 300 feet away in the audience to be able to see people on the stage clearly. One inventive way BL&S has found to address this issue is through the use of LED walls and special cameras – helping families to enjoy that special moment when their child receives their degree.
Held on the lawn of the iconic Provincetown Pilgrim Monument overlooking the historic town and waterfront, the Provincetown Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Celebration featured innovative video screen blending to set the mood in a 200-person tent.
The Provincetown Film Festival wanted to make its 20th anniversary gala dinner and fundraiser a memorable night, and reached out to longtime
partner Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) both for creative insights and technical oversight. As the technical lead and a collaborator on the Provincetown Film Festival since its inception, BL&S was a natural choice to support the special event. BL&S proposed a cost-effective way to implement the client’s request for a distinctive video screen blending technique to dramatic effect. Using a combination of projection technologies, the ceiling of the tent would become a spectacular 80-foot canvas displaying colorful abstract backgrounds and a tribute video.
The festival organizers loved the idea, and hired BL&S to execute on its vision, and oversee all audio, visual, and lighting needs for the event.
The Live Events team at BL&S provided a complete solution encompassing extensive pre-planning support, site visits, event setup, as well as hands-on technical support throughout the evening. This freed the festival organizers to focus on their special guests.
The festival organizers and their guests were impressed with the inventive display and how seamlessly the technical details came together under the direction of BL&S. Based on the success of this special event, HBO, the event sponsor, has since tapped BL&S to provide live streaming for an LGBTQ panel the company hosted in Provincetown.
Behind-the-scenes preview: Dreamy audio plays while beautiful footage of regionally-appropriate waves and whales flows across the ceiling of the event tent to set the mood for the Provincetown Film Festival's 20th Anniversary Celebration.
“The ‘Wow Factor’ was off-the-charts!”
BL&S has always delivered a quality product and stellar screening experience enabling us to distinguish our event as one of the top regional film festivals in the country. This year, with their new video screen blending technology and presentation, Chapin, Jon and his stellar team raised the bar to another level. The ‘Wow Factor’ was off-the-charts!"
Boston College was looking for a creative way to celebrate student and faculty artists during the 2018 Arts Festival. BL&S helped the college elevate the celebration with a unique HD video screen blending system featuring still video, screen washes, and live camera shots. This gave artists a dynamic canvas to present their work.
The intricate video system included dual projectors, carefully synchronized to provide a seamless screen blend. BL&S worked closely with the students, providing them hands-on experience with content creation as well as video
mixing. The students were excited to give people a new way to experience their art. Throughout the evening, festival guests enjoyed distinctive artwork as well as a jazz band throughout the evening.
Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) was the first and only team entrusted with managing a live event at the Pilgrim Monument. This historic landmark commemorates the pilgrims’ first landing in the new world in Provincetown in 1620.
On the heels of BL&S’s success at organizing all audio-visual aspects of the Provincetown Film Festival, the event sponsor, HBO, recommended the team to handle the sensitive details involved with a Fourth of July concert at the Pilgrim
Monument. Installing audio-visual equipment for a live concert at a historic monument like this took extreme care. BL&S worked closely with all stakeholders, including HBO’s creative consultant, the Gathery, to ensure compliance with local ordinances and preservation of the important site.
BL&S was responsible for all equipment necessary to pull off this first-of-its-kind celebration, from building two truss arches to bringing in staging, to providing high-end lighting. Due to the harbor front venue location, high wind speeds presented a challenge. Accustomed to handling installations in extreme conditions, BL&S was well prepared, battening down the truss structure to ensure its stability. To provide an exceptional audio experience for the audience, BL&S installed a state-of-the-art KARA line array audio system.
The Fourth of July celebration was a fabulous experience for concertgoers, and the event coordinators were impressed with how the concert looked and sounded.
Longtime client Boston College hired Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) to create an LED wall as the signature piece in its donor recognition event for the new indoor athletics center, the Fish Field House. BL&S arranged for 9x16' 3mm LED walls displaying striking player images as well as screen washes across both sides of the tent.
Jansport closed out the summer with its Bonfire Session in Dewey Square Park on Boston’s Greenway, complete with live performances by Zola Jesus and Deem Spencer, a festive campfire, and promotional giveaways. Based on the recommendation of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservatory, the brand experience firm Bagavagabonds hired Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) to turn a portion of the park into a concert venue.
BL&S handled all technical aspects of the live event, including:
The event came together seamlessly and proved to be a success for Jansport.
BL&S provides pre-event planning as well as on-site support to ensure the sound system performs optimally during a wide array of special events at Fenway.
The Red Sox often have multiple activities, from ring ceremonies, to
individual performances, to marching bands, occurring within moments of
each other on different parts of the field. For these multi-faceted events,
BL&S helps manage logistics ahead of time and provides multiple
crews during the event so performances can flow from one to the next seamlessly.
Broadcast live on NESN every year, Christmas at Fenway gives fans a chance to enjoy holiday festivities, including music and player interviews, at the park and an opportunity to purchase tickets for the upcoming season. To support the event, BL&S provides sound systems of various sizes at different locations across the field, connects them together from their mix position, and distributes the audio to various media outlets. In addition, BL&S sets up an audio interface to enable NESN to conduct interviews with players who aren’t able to be on-site.
Each year BL&S donates audio equipment, including “presidential style” teleprompters, for several Red Sox Foundation galas. They also donate equipment and provide on-site support for the Foundation’s Yoga at Fenway fundraiser to assist financially disadvantaged students. The BL&S team sets up a wireless mic, connected to the house sound system, so that attendees can hear the instructor as well as background music throughout the park.
In addition to installing and monitoring the audio equipment, BL&S overcame numerous technical challenges associated with live broadcast and performance. For instance, the lengthy time delay from the main loudspeaker cluster to the performer at home plate necessitated the use of in-ear monitors to assist the performer’s concentration so they would not become distracted by the echo effect.
Every two years, Fenway hosts exciting hockey matchups and community skating events at an ice rink built right inside the park. BL&S configures the sound system for these festivities. They uncovered an interesting conundrum, however. In an outdoor setting, it’s hard to hear what’s actually happening on the ice. To give fans the experience they were accustomed to hearing at an indoor rink, BL&S clamps omnidirectional microphones to the tops of the boards surrounding the ice so fans can easily hear all the skating and crashes.
To commemorate the park’s 100-year anniversary, John Williams conducted a special “Fenway Fanfare’’ and Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart took the baton for the national anthem that was punctuated by a flyover of a vintage P-51 Mustang flying wingtip-to-wingtip with an F-16 fighter jet.
BL&S worked to ensure that everything went perfectly for this historic event. This involved coordinating wireless microphone frequencies with numerous other frequencies being used in the park, and organizing crews to provide hands-on support for multiple performances throughout the ceremony.
Managing audio for Red Sox press conferences can be a challenge, with myriad audio feeds taking place simultaneously. BL&S works on-site to ensure equipment is working smoothly. When Daisuke Matsuzaka signed on with the team, for example, BL&S was on hand to ensure that the 40+ live feeds were distributed to media outlets around the world.
“I never have to worry”
“With BL&S, ballpark audio becomes the easiest part of the game. I never have to worry – they’re the best guys around.”
Parents’ Weekend has become a popular autumn tradition at Boston College for parents to experience campus life and socialize with other families. The Parents’ Mass is a highlight of the weekend. BL&S provides sound equipment and support for the annual Mass, which draws more than 3,500 students, parents, and faculty members. In addition to making the liturgy audible, BL&S was charged with providing full sound for the student choir and band performing inside Conte Forum.
In a venue designed for hockey games, the space is extremely reverberant. To accommodate the forum’s acoustical challenges, BL&S set up a sound system that was positioned appropriately to deliver sound effectively throughout the large arena.
The area outside the library where this Mass is held includes seating and a series of steps on all sides. The odd-shaped space is made almost entirely of concrete, making sound particularly reverberant. To alleviate this problem, BL&S provided a distributed sound system, including line arrays, as the main reinforcement and delay speakers mounted on stands to accommodate the large audience.
The BL&S team’s innovative approach provided clear sound in each challenging environment.