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Showstopping video for 8-events-in-1 at the NEC

Showstopping video for 8-events-in-1 at the NEC

When experiential agency, Strata, first approached Anna Valley to provide video displays and services for an annual car show, the project seemed simple enough. Providing pixel perfect content for product launches like these is Anna Valley’s bread and butter, and they’re no strangers to the chosen venue, the NEC. But this was no ordinary showcase. Stellantis’s annual National Business Meeting turned out to be 8 unique events, running back-to-back over the course of 5 days, featuring a video centrepiece of epic proportions.

Stellantis is one of the world’s leading automakers and the parent company behind some of the UK’s most recognised brands including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall. The National Business Meeting is the company’s largest UK event of the year – it’s where they reveal their future plans and launch new automotive models to their network of independent dealers across the country. The 2023 showcase also represented the in-person comeback for the event after the pandemic, so it was more important than ever that it run without a hitch and deliver impact. Strata turned to Anna Valley for the vital video elements at the centre of this show.

A rotating audience

While The National Business Meeting included a general expo area where visitors could browse and interact with a variety of products, the main attraction was undoubtedly the car shows that took place in Hall 12. Over three days, each of Stellantis’s six UK-based automotive brands took turns to host a unique showcase – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. With each event came a unique set of customised content and an entirely new audience of that brand’s dealers and showroom owners – effectively making each showcase a separate event in its own right. To complicate matters further, the main plenary area needed to be designed to not only suit the purposes of each of these brand showcases, but also to host the kick-off stakeholders’ event and closing roundtable sessions, bringing the total mini-event tally up to 8!

A showstopping video wall

The NEC’s Hall 12 is a big space to fill. And, with new releases from some of the biggest names in the UK’s motor industry on show, it was vital that the impact of the visual content matched the size and proportions of the hall and the cars. To this end, Strata designed a stage and screen of epic proportions to serve as a customisable backdrop for this event.

Measuring 29 meters in length, the stage was designed in a circuit so that featured cars could drive on and off the platform as part of a lap around the hall. The LED backdrop provided by Anna Valley was equally impressive in scale, measuring 25 meters long x 5 meters high and displaying custom content for each brand at a whopping resolution of 6400 x 1280 pixels.

The Anna Valley team strategically chose to build the mammoth screen using Unilumin AVX3 panels which are twice the size of most LED tiles, effectively halving the rig time normally needed for a display of this size. Anna Valley was also responsible for IMAG for the show, providing a 3-camera crew and equipment and taking cues from the show caller. Delivering content to such a large screen required a lot of processing power, configuration, and planning because such a large screen cannot be driven as a single unit. The team utilised Barco E2 and disguise GX2s to process and deliver both pre-packaged content and IMAG visuals for the LED display. With various companies and teams across different technology working together to create a seamless show, collaboration was key in the control room and throughout the event.

Finally, delivering multiple mini-events each day meant for long working days, and as such, Anna Valley provided an ‘A’ team and a ‘B’ team so that the crew didn’t burn out on these back-to-back 16-hour days.

Trusted to deliver

The Anna Valley team are intimately familiar with the NEC – as the venue’s preferred AV partner they have a team permanently based on-site, and Anna Valley also installed and maintains most of the venue’s audio-visual estate. But the company won this job based on a recommendation from Strata’s technical production manager for the event, Matthew Vallis.

Vallis was keen on bringing Anna Valley onboard due to his previous experience with the team and his trust in their ability to create bespoke solutions for events with complex technical requirements. He notes, “Working with Anna Valley is always a smooth process. I know what I want to achieve, I give them the problem, and I can leave it to them to come back with the solution.”

And with the LED wall being the key tech feature of this event, Vallis was adamant that there was only one supplier he could turn to.

At an event like this, having the tech working seamlessly is vital, and when I have Anna Valley on board, I never have to worry. They make my job easy.

Matthew Vallis, Technical Production Manager