Saudi Arabia’s MDL Beast is one of the biggest EDM events in the world.

Spread over five stages – ranging from the 2,000-capacity Saudi Beast to the 45,000-capacity Big Beast – the festival was held on a piece of “blank-canvas” land just outside the capital city. The country has limited technical entertainment resources, so LarMac LIVE coordinated the site-wide production and artist management effort with a streamlined pool of trusted suppliers.

 “PRG very quickly became the go-to company for lights and video, with audio equipment coming out of their German office. This was a real no brainer, primarily because we were using a lot of very few fixtures – it’s EDM after all – and so sourcing the assets was a huge factor in this decision. PRG also comes with a support structure and a special projects team like no other.”

What to Know Before Signing a Hotel AV Contract

1. You Always Have a Choice of Audio Visual Providers

You have a choice between using the hotel’s AV provider or bringing in your own. Don’t be pressured or misled by catering contracts and overly aggressive AV salespeople. You are the customer and you have power. Hotels’ main focus are in room rentals and catering sales. AV is an added revenue stream for them. Hotel contracts may attempt to deter you from bringing in your own AV but you have options.

Before you sign a hotel AV contract, negotiate out any terms that require you to use their AV services or pay fees for not doing so. Leverage your event business value to the hotel against binding AV terms and win your freedom to choose. This keeps your options open and pushes the hotel AV provider to be more competitive. After all, it’s your event and you should be able to choose who you work with.Bring better event AV to life with easy diagrammingGet Started Free

2. Know Where Costs Come From For A/V Equipment

To understand costs, you need to know how and why they are there, to begin with.

The audio visual company pays commissions to the hotel to be in-house and have access to hotel guests. In some cases, they pay large signing bonuses to get a contract with a hotel or a portfolio of hotels. The AV company purchases the gear and pays the salaries of any AV staff at the hotel and temporary AV contractors. The hotel isn’t responsible for any of these expenses. The hotel provides an office and storage space for gear to the AV provider. Equipment rental rates are set to recoup signing bonuses, cover AV provider operating expenses (including commissions paid to the hotel or venue), and profit above all. Same applies to convention centers with in-house AV.

Whether you pay one bill to the hotel or you pay the hotel and the in-house AV company on separate invoices, the breakdown between them is the same. The problem is the customer is the one who pays in the end. It seems easy and convenient to just use the hotel’s AV service. But at what unnecessary cost to your event budget? Outside AV providers can do just as good if not better of a job with your event as the in-house and potentially cost less. Do the math and figure out what works best for your event and budget.

3. Added Fees and Service Charges for Audio/Visual for Events

Let’s not forget the service charges. Service charges of 20% and higher get added to your AV bill at some venues. What is that really for anyway? When I was an AV Director in hotels for a large AV company it was explained to me that service charges are to cover F&B labor. But, if that’s the case, why is there AV labor and a service charge on the same bill? My advice: look for this and question it.

Regardless of how it’s justified, outside AV providers typically don’t charge service charges. I used to omit service charges if the set up required extensive labor and operators. I would only apply them if it was a simple set up and tear down during normal business hours and there was no other labor being charged. This seemed like a win-win for both the AV team and the client.

Top 5 Audio Visual Trends for Events

Planning events can be stressful, especially when you’re coordinating with a number of suppliers and stakeholders. One main requirement is having a great audio video setup. And if you’re at a loss on the know-hows of getting A/V systems, here’s a helpful list of modern audio visual trends and the questions you need to ask in order to implement them.

“A/V at events is trending towards the visual: video, AR, and VR.”

1. Event A/V Is Going Digital

Gone are the days when simple printed graphics are all you need to promote and keep things interesting for your event. Now, it’s all about getting more interactive and digital. You should know how and when to make use of video presentations and LED displays/signage, among many other forms of digital setups and systems.

2. Advanced Displays Are Huge for Events

Another important trend to take full advantage of is the rise of 4K displays and VR systems that are on the rise. This is even more of a requirement if you have an event that’s heavy on presentation of information and graphics. The good news? Since this trend has become increasingly popular, more and more suppliers are offering it at more affordable prices.

AV as Art: The Chameleon Lamp

Located in St. Louis, MO, the Angad Arts Hotel was looking to revamp the appearance of a floor-to-ceiling concrete support pillar located in the lobby lounge on the top floor of the hotel. Working with Chris Brackenbury, founder of Pixelwix, the team developed an innovative visual solution that would elevate the look of the hotel’s lobby lounge. The proposed solution was to create a large 360-degree projection screen surrounding the support pillar, and install projectors around the pillar, allowing media content to project onto the screen on a 24/7 basis. 

Leveraging five Optoma ZH400UST projectors, as well as Pixelwix’s proprietary warping and blending tools and media player, the team was able to position the projectors on a custom slide rail on the center post and overlap the projected images to cover the entire 360-degree canvas. 

The lounge of the Angad Arts Hotel lobby was successfully transformed into a visually captivating hotel entrance with a beautiful 360-degree installation in the shape of a lamp, dubbed the “Chameleon Lamp.” Designed to attract and welcome hotel guests, the visual installation also further enhances the hotel’s commitment to showcasing the work of local St. Louis artists and contributes to the Angad’s unique Art Deco experience. 

Projectors Light Up Sydney Opera House


The iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House were transformed into a digital canvas showcasing brilliant and lifelike projections to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali, and to observe Remembrance Day.

Designed, planned, and executed by Christie’s longstanding Australian partner The Electric Canvas (TEC), the projections were made possible using 14 Christie Crimson 3DLP laser projectors. The projection system was installed in four compact structures at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, some 400 meters from the Opera House on the opposite side of Circular Quay. TEC’s technical team set up and programmed the Crimson projectors with their usual aplomb and efficiency, ensuring pixel-accurate alignment of each projector with the Opera House’s architecture.