Scoring with graphics

A post by James Noake.  

I’ve got World Cup fever.

It isn’t the football. It’s the graphics.

For me the World Cup is a festival of spectacular screen graphics: analysis, player profiles and stats.

Big budget live TV events, such as election nights and World Cups, tend to break new ground for live graphics that dynamically respond to data. Much like an event, these graphics are cued live by directors and graphics ops, often in an outside broadcast unit.

World Cup 2018 promises to be a graphics bonanza. A new generation of graphics servers, including Ventuz and D3, are allowing incredible real-time 3D rendering using powerful Graphics Process Units (GPU’s).

In the past the most powerful graphics systems were the preserve of TV production studios with larger budgets and a safe studio environment to host the fragile servers. However, recent advancements in GPU’s mean that events can feature the same calibre of real time graphics. At Live Union we’ve been harnessing these new opportunities for live data visualisation, 3D models and audience interaction.

For your next event graphics look to TV for inspiration.

Surely the best excuse going for watching football at work!

Format Disruption

In our last report we got under the skin of what the 2018 delegate really values. Now we turn our attention to the incredible innovation that’s happening in event formats.

We’ve chosen six exciting, diverse ‘event architectures’ but the creative potential for generating new formats is almost endless. Hopefully these ideas will be useful stimulus for discovering the right format for your audience.

Download your copy of Re-imagining Formats.

Interesting April

Welcome to April’s That’s Interesting. We’ve been taking That’s Interesting on the road to bring to life the best of these newsletters for various businesses. Do get in touch if you’d like us to come and share some event inspiration with your team.

Most Interesting
TED’s Tech Playground (3min explore)
At Live Union we run a Digital Playground at some of our clients’ events, designed to help make technology more approachable. This is TED’s version of the same concept and includes some lovely playful experiences.

Just plain interesting
Beautiful touchscreen data viz (3min read)
Great David McCandless installation at the Qatar National Library

AOL’s incredible DJ cube (1min explore)
Three stories, five DJs, four screens. Perfect for your next turntable battle

Hip Props (3min explore)
On trend furniture for your next event

How to give a five-minute presentation (1min read)
Typically succinct and insightful suggestion from Seth

B2B events & the women’s movement (4min read)
The CES keynote controversy and how brands are taking the lead in supporting women in business

Why this financial summit had its own roller coaster (2min explore)
At the heart of Capstone Investment’s Volatility Summit was a roller coaster sculpture made out of 3,500 rolls of coins. Check out some of the other photos from ‘Volatility Park

The storytellers who read aloud to Cuban cigar rollers (3min watch)
Historic and inspiring storytelling

Something interesting to go to:
A pint of Science (5min explore)
Science talks in the pub. There’ll be one near you

New angles on LED

photo – U2 Start

A post by Live Union Production Manager James Noake

U2 have always broken new ground in set design. The band’s 1997 Pop Mart tour pioneered the use of LED video walls. Twenty years later their 2017 Joshua Tree tour blew audiences away with an incredible 60-meter-wide by 20-meter-high LED wall, the largest hi-res screen ever used on a touring production. The screen has over 7,500 horizontal lines of resolution and was built from just over 1,000 individual panels.

LED screens have of course become commonplace across the wider event world. An innovation of particular interest to us at Live Union are LED video panels that can be constructed at angles to each other. This gives us the ability to create ever more extreme curves or even right angles.

Keen for the right opportunity to use an LED cube, Live Union were recently asked to design a centrepiece video feature at an event. Technically it was surprising how easy the cube was to  put together. Once up and running it operated much like a widescreen video wall with a multi-screen management system to control graphics across the four faces. The high, 2mm pitch resolution meant content still looked great close up; perfect for an exhibition-type environment.

Anyone familiar with widescreens and custom aspect ratios will appreciate that the biggest challenge is choreographing dynamic content that both justifies additional screen space and keeps the audience engaged. Thinking of screen content in three planes challenged us to identify ways in which the cube could be used to maximum visual impact. This relied on stitching together each face, enabling the viewer to perceive it as a seamless 3D visual experience as opposed to four screens at right angles to each other. Plenty of time was spent researching, storyboarding and designing – the end results looked spectacular!

The creative opportunities for right angle screens are fascinating. We’re exploring new ways to use them to build the audience narrative, for example, an LED entrance archway to welcome delegates with live social media feeds. Or a central cube screen with seating in the round to form a debate or boxing ring style stage. Whatever the challenge we can’t wait for the next project that gives us the chance to use this incredible technology!

Making sense of Microsoft Translate

A post by Harriette Wight

Existuje lepší spôsob, ako začať hodnotenie, ako pomocou produktu, ktorý ste revíziu?

Want to know what my opening sentence says? Head over to Microsoft Translate.

The events industry and particularly the event technology sector have been asking how AI will transform our industry. Well Microsoft’s new PowerPoint plugin might be the start of that transformation. Microsoft Translate previewed its latest PowerPoint subtitle offering at their Build conference back in May 2017. This exciting new plugin uses AI to translate both content within the presentation as well as your presenter’s speech in real time.

Typically event organisers are still using the booth and headphone system for simultaneous translation. So when we heard about this PowerPoint plugin we had to try it.

As a speaker the plugin will subtitle your speech into a language of your choice, it can also translate your slides for you. As a delegate you can follow the presentation in your own language either by watching the subtitles on the main screen (assuming this is in your language) or by downloading the Microsoft Translate app and joining through the translator live feature.

The translator live tool is part of the Microsoft Translate app and offers 11 speech and over 60 text languages. This feature allows up to 500 people to be part of a conversation at once in any language they choose. Imagine everyone at your conference being able to communicate no matter which language they speak. Another great use for this would be for any hard of hearing delegates. The app also includes a photo translate feature (instant translation of any printed text), offline text translation and a useful phrase library.

To test the translate live feature I got Kat in our production team to help me out. Kat’s mother tongue is Slovak, here’s how it went:


Now unless you speak Slovakian you may think this works perfectly, and to an extent it does. Microsoft Translate takes your words and the order you say them in and translates. This meant that the order wasn’t always correct in Slovakian. I also called Kat a Cat according to Microsoft.

Kat’s thoughts

Valuable translation tool, good competitor to Google translate. I was not using it to its full  capabilities, but it seemed to cope well with the more complex Slovak words . The word order may not reflect the spoken language as accurately but overall the app performed well and allowed for a seamless conversation.

The verdict

This has the potential to be a great tool for events with international audiences. The live translator could also aid networking. The photo translation feature could support attendees with any printed collateral.

However the translation needs a bit more improvement, hopefully this is where the AI part of the solution will come into its own.

Interesting March

Welcome to March’s Interesting. We’ve recently been taking Interesting on the road. Bringing to life the best of these ideas to various businesses. Do get in touch if you’d like us to come and share some event inspiration with your team.

Most Interesting
Anatomy of a 2018 Delegate (15min read)
We’ve had loads of great feedback to our report getting under the skin of what today’s audience really value. Download your copy.

Just plain interesting
Samsung use AR to solve a problem (3min read)
All too often AR is a solution looking for a problem. Samsung actually had a problem – how to get enough of their Galaxy 9s into people’s hands at Mobile World Congress.

Convening power (2min read)
As businesses lose control of the environments in which their marketing appears, events are an increasingly attractive way to communicate their brand.

Six ways to use apps to get people networking (3min read)
A concise introduction to the networking apps you need to know about.

Graffiti Kings (2min explore)
Fun, energetic idea to put a bit of colour into your next event.

Radical hospitality (3min read)
Do your event audience feel welcome?

Inside the Olympic drone spectacle (3min watch)
If you haven’t seen the show itself you can watch it here.

A venue to know about:
New space open for bookings at the Science Museum

Something interesting to go to:
Tunnel Visions (2min explore)
The Barbican are great at installations. This looks like one to check out.

If there’s something interesting you think we should include, please share it via

Anatomy of a Delegate

What delegates want from events is changing fast. That’s why we’ve produced our new report, Anatomy of a 2018 Delegate, in which we get under the skin of what today’s audience really value.

The 2018 delegate is experience rich: more sophisticated, demanding and open-minded towards events. Anatomy of a 2018 Delegate will help you maximise audience value.

The report covers the five areas fundamental to engaging your 2018 delegate:

Personalisation – ability to tailor an experience

Brain-friendly – events designed for optimal engagement

Connections – effective, efficient networking

Entertaining – surprising, fun interactions

Shareable – content for delegates’ own communications.

Download your copy of Anatomy of a 2018 Delegate.

Interesting January

Welcome to the first Interesting of the year. Below you’ll find plenty of stimulus for your 2018 events, including an incredible presentation from CES and some sage advice on how to think about your event audience.

Most Interesting

Jaw dropping INTEL CEO presentation (90min watch)
Brian Krzanich’s CES Keynotes are an annual masterclass in how to make the most of a speaking opportunity. Skip to 27mins to see some awe-inspiring graphics.

Just plain interesting

Random coffee dates (5min read)
A wonderful post on the power of new connections within an organisation and a tool you can use to bring this idea to your next internal event.

Are your event audience tourists or explorers? (3min read)
Jeff Hurt shares a compelling way to frame how you design your events.

From Webin-argh to Webin-ahh (3min read)
Live Union’s Conor Harte shares his tips for designing this very particular type of presentation.

A podcast to know about (25min listen)
Bizbash’s GatherGeeks podcast is a good listen. The first part of this episode discusses Microsoft’s Translate plug-in for PowerPoint. Up to 60 languages streamed live to the audience’s devices; we’re going to trial it to see if it lives up to the hype.

Sensory Reality Pods (2min explore)
No one has yet found the killer application for VR at events but this certainly opens up some new options.

Something interesting to go to:

The Moth
True stories told to a live audience. A fascinating way to observe the art and craft of storytelling. Started in the US but now also running in the UK. Find out about the next London event here.

Something for anyone going skiing:

Ski the world (4min watch)

How to go from Webin-argh to Webin-ahh

A post by Conor Harte

The scene: You are at your desk, Pret sandwich in hand, a visibly mounting to-do list. You have set aside some much needed CPD time when Linda from Finance comes over to talk about last year’s figures. In horror, you simultaneously spill the congealing remains of this morning’s instant coffee on your January-sale jeans and set off your 80’s guilty pleasure power ballad playlist on Spotify, notifying the whole office of your love of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’. Slow zoom out as the whole office stares at you, startled and appalled…

This is typically what your audience is up against when trying to engage with a webinar. Audiences in general are demanding more from content and how it is being delivered. From Ventuz to gesture controlled presentations, content in face-to-face events is ever more exciting and innovative. So how do we take this and use it in an online streaming format? Webinars are a unique platform, they come with different hurdles but also with great benefits when used correctly. Here are 5 tips from our experience of creating webinars:

Write a Narrative

Having a clear story before starting to design the presentation is vital. Developing your narrative into a script will ensure that you aren’t repeating any points, that you stay on track and on time. Make sure you rehearse with your speaker and do a dry run before going live. That is a must!


The average adult attention span today is 8 seconds; that is 1 second less than a goldfish. Make sure that your slides aren’t covered in text, facts and figures.  Pick out the key ones you want to highlight and get your speaker to do the leg work. Use images and infographics to get your key information across.


As we have mentioned, your audience are likely to be distracted, so knowing where they are in the presentation will help keep them engaged. A great way of doing this is to include a progress bar in your slides.


We aren’t talking about the whirling title you used for your Year 11 physics presentations. PowerPoint animation has come on leaps and bounds. With the presenter typically not being visible, animation plays a vital role in connecting the audience and the content. If we need to renew the attention of the audience every 8 seconds, this will help engage and prevent distraction. Test your animation on the machine you will be using, animation can take a lot of computer capacity and may not work as well as the computer it was created on.


Finally, relax! Running a webinar can be very daunting, but with a cracking presentation, a watertight script and plenty of rehearsal time you have everything you need to make sure those attendees are engaged.

As you can see what works in webinars is different to what you’d typically do for other types of presentations. For instance, large images are great for dramatic stage presentations; detailed slides work best in smaller face-to-face meetings. A happy medium between the two works best for webinars, ensuring comprehension, meaningful content and clarity.