HOW TO COME UP WITH AN ACCURATE BUDGET FOR YOUR NEXT PROJECT.

 

Many times when we are approached by event creatives or clients, they're looking to get an idea of what they are looking to do is going to cost.

Sometimes it’s tough to give an accurate estimate because there isn’t enough information in order for us to draw the proper conclusion.

Today I’m going to layout a few things to take into consideration when budgeting for your light, sound and video design needs for your event.

How people get it wrong.

In cases where a budget gets in the way of a project being completed the way the client is requesting, I find that the client is trying to squeeze their into their budget rather than taking a step back and prioritizing the different parts of their event.

They’ll focus solely on the elements that they want to see and don't realize how important other factors like  scheduling and the installation of the selected elements.

The biggest part of cost to consider these days is labor. We spend more on labor because of adjustments to last minute event schedule changes or incorrect event/venue specs. Not planning accurately can have a significant impact on the final cost for your project.

What you can do about it.

Information. Information. Information.

In my opinion the best way to get an accurate estimate that doesn’t change much at the end of your event is to provide as much information about the project upfront as possible. Details that might seem insignificant at that time could be very important. Think specifically about loading times, event schedules, setup, breakdown, and of course the location.

There are a lot of venues and locations in New York that have very tight restrictions on the turnaround time, they have restrictions on the union labor versus the standard labor. There are many things that can come out of the closet at the last minute and you find yourself shuffling to decide what are you gonna do in this situation.

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One example I can think of was when we worked on a project were we spent time budgeting with the client where we were supposed to begin setup at 6 AM. The client called back and requested we begin at 4 AM instead not realizing the labor numbers that we supplied are going be incorrect because we have a different labor schedule for people if we start at 6AM as opposed to starting at 4AM or overnight.

Same thing for the breakdown. If you’re planning to break something down the same night of the event, you might want to think about what's the difference in cost of the venue for the next day as opposed to the labor cost of the overtime labor breakdown. Because again, once you start working at midnight you're gonna have these challenges of cost for all different things that are associated with it.

Early in the process, put your budget together for the worst case scenario. This ensure that if you're not sure what time your setup is will be, what the breakdown will be, when the changes on the room will happened or the band will begin to play. Whatever the different variables are - you can plan for the higher side so you'll think "Ok, we're gonna start at 6AM but if we have to adjust we’re still ok."

Estimate on the higher side and that way it's easier to make adjustments at the later stages of your project and  flexibility to lower the budget as opposed to raising it.

Hopefully that was very helpful. If you have a project that we're working on and you want some guidance where you just wanted to get an idea about something that you're having the works, please feel free to contact us at Levy NYC. We have a very strong and dedicated team that can help you solve your problems and answer your questions. You can reach us at 212-925-4640 or info@levynyc.net . Thank you.

 
 
 
 

THE ONE MISTAKE THAT MANY EVENT PRODUCERS MAKE AND HOW TO AVOID IT.

 

I think an item that really is overlooked when planning a project is the budgeting of time. The allocation of enough time for the creative process - to be specific.

As a designer, I think it's very important to include enough time for a creation to evolve and flourish.

We've previously discussed budgeting for a project from a financial point of view and we also went into how changes in time can impacts the end cost of your event.

In this case though, I want to discuss the time allocated for experimenting and installing the desired design to get the look that you want.

The creative process takes time, and when you're at the venue, you want it to look spectacular. There is a certain amount of time that's associated with tweaking the design and really getting it to look as incredible as possible.

At times when I’m working on a project and setting up the same day of the event, the design implemented doesn’t appear the way we all thought it would in concept. So our team needs some time to change a few things to get the look that was first intended.

For example, I remember a project where we spent months with the client coming up with ideas and concepts. The project was planned for 1 day setup and 1 day of rehearsal. Then at the late moment, the client decided that they couldn’t allocate time for a rehearsal hence everything happening on one day.

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While I spent time explaining that this would definitely affect the final outcome from a creative standpoint, it was overlooked and disappointing for us that we weren't able to do a lot of things that we were planning to do because of the last minute time change.

So it's important to really keep in mind that the creative needs time during setup to ensure you’re getting the exact look you’re looking for. Often times It's not just turning the screw that solves an issue, it's knowing which screw to turn. And that takes time.

Hopefully that was very helpful. If you have a project that we're working on and you want some guidance where you just wanted to get an idea about something that you're having the works, please feel free to contact us at Levy NYC. We have a very strong and dedicated team that can help you solve your problems and answer your questions. You can reach us at 212-925-4640 or info@levynyc.net . Thank you.

 
 
 
 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENDORS FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT?

 

Probably for you, one of the biggest challenges when leading a creative event project is how do I pick the right vendor?

How do I know who's good and who's not? What is the best price and value?

These are great questions because there are so many different vendors that do so many different things. You also have to figure out where you are in your budget and decide like -

“Ok, I know that my budget is tight and I'm gonna use this vendor but I may not be happy with the outcome.”

Or it might be a little bit of a rough road and you have to decide what if the stress or inconvenience with working with certain vendors worth the outcome of your project.

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So when you really need to pick the best vendor, the process can be a bit overwhelming.

Basically, I think everybody knows the saying that you're only as good as your last job. So if you work on a situation and you have a client that's not happy, they will feel like that they can always find somebody else. So it's important for you as a producer, planner or someone who hires vendors to make sure that you really choose a vendor who has a track record and has been working for a while. You need someone who can really solve problems as they arise.

So what should you do. You have so many things to do as the leader of your project. Spending a lot of time looking through different proposals, vetting different vendors and choosing a vendor is probably not one of them.

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Ask for referrals

Colleagues in your field that have worked with vendors you’re looking for is the best source for finding great vendors in a short period of time. Personal endorsements from creatives you admire speak to the experience you can expect with that vendor. Be sure to ask a lot of questions though because projects can be very different.

The venue you’re using may also have vendors they have already worked with in the space and are comfortable working with again.

If you can’t get a referral from a trusted source then your next option is to turn to the internet and review a company's body of work. Many companies have portfolios on their website or on social media. Look at the range of things they can do. Get a feeling for their style and pay attention to how their work makes you feel.

When you want to pick a vendor, you can also utilize a number of different resources like BizBash.

Comparing Vendors

So you now have a few vendors to choose from. How do you narrow it down to one vendor?

I think it's important to make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples as sometimes you'll get proposals that are very different than everybody else. And when it looks too good to be true, it's probably too good to be true.

When in doubt, go with the proposal that makes the most sense for your project management leadership style.

For example, if  you're hiring a light company, a sound company and a video company -  your cost and number of people on site you have to manage will increase. It may make sense to work with one company that offers all three because you’ll have one point of contact so you don't have to worry about coordinating with multiple emails and phone calls.

There are a lot of different situations we found where in projects in the past that I've worked with clients I feel very comfortable when we're providing all services related to tech and video/lighting.

It really helps from an aesthetic standpoint of view that we were able to control the way everything's installed and we don't have to worry about the fact that we spend a lot of time creating this great beautiful environment and someone comes in the last minute with different colored cables and with different kinds of speakers.

So it's important for a creative standpoint of view. It may also work from a technical standpoint of view as well as for financial standpoint of view. Choose the vendor that makes your life the easiest.

Hopefully that was very helpful. If you have a project that we're working on and you want some guidance where you just wanted to get an idea about something that you're having the works, please feel free to contact us at Levy NYC. We have a very strong and dedicated team that can help you solve your problems and answer your questions. You can reach us at 212-925-4640 or info@levynyc.net.

 
 
 

PAY LESS ATTENTION TO THE LINE ITEMS OF A PROPOSAL AND MORE TO THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR VENDOR.

 

"I'm meeting you about your project and you're telling me your vision and you say I want the room to look beautiful and I want this and that... 

If I give you a list of equipment, you’re like "What is this?”

You won’t know what this list of equipment is and if you come to me on the day of the show and say this is not what I expected. I don’t want be the one to say “Well, look it’s all here. We have five of these, ten of those, twelve of these.”

Which is what you might have in a sort of a AV type of experience as opposed to a complete concept. 

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On the day of the show, no matter what you have on that piece of paper, the idea is that the design has to be right.

So, communication and clarification are important. It’s not just this black and white piece of paper with the bunch of line items and quantity at the bottom.

You need to understand some sort of a design, or have somebody that you can speak with that you feel has it."

- Ira Levy

 
 
 

HOW THE USE OF LIGHTING CAN SPEAK TO GUESTS AT YOUR EVENT.

 

"Think about how many times you’ve walked into a room.

When people first walk in, it’s beautiful but somebody needs to monitor the room the whole night because as a dinner gets more comfortable and more moody, you want to bring the lights down.

You want to talk to the crowd with the lighting.

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A lot of the problems that people have is that when you walk in, usually, you want to keep it a little bright so people can see their places and things like that.

As people settle, we want to bring the lighting down.

So it’s also important to make sure that whoever is working on that show is aware of this because it’s something that people forget."

- Ira Levy

 
 
 

HOW LIGHT DESIGN IS MEANT TO INTEGRATE INTO THE EVENT EXPERIENCE.

 

"Now, a lot of projects are really based upon experience.

Its a complete experience. So when people come into a space, from the time they come in to the time they leave, it’s all about controlling their experience - from what you want them to see to what you want them to feel.

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For example, here is a project that I did with Preston Bailey.  It really shows how important it is to bring somebody in early in the phase of project planning.

We integrated all the lighting so you don’t see any cables. You don’t see any fixtures, stands or anything like that.

This was a tent wedding that we did. We have a technique of suspending all the cabling above the fabric and then bringing in the lighting to be exactly the same angle as the fabric and as well as around the perimeter."

- Ira Levy

 
 
 

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LIGHTING DESIGNER & LIGHTING COMPANY.

 

"One important aspect which is always hard in my line of work is having people understand the difference between a lighting designer and lighting company.

So, someone goes to one of these hotels and they say “Oh we have this in-house company and they’re gonna bring the lighting in.”

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And it’s constantly a battle to explain to people it’s not just about having a bunch of guys bring in light and pop them down wherever there needs to be a concept, a design to the project and it’s like they saying it’s not turning of the screw it’s knowing which screw to turn.

When you do a project, it could be the littlest thing and all you have to do is adjust the light in certain way and it affects the whole project."

- Ira Levy

 
 
 

The ever-evolving design process and the future of the event industry.

Industry Expert Ira Levy, Creative Director of LEVY | NYC and Lytehouse Studio gives insight into the ever-evolving design process and reflects on the future of the event industry, in an interview for BizBash.

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—What types of events do you do?

EVERYTHING!! LARGE SCALE CORPORATE EVENTS, PRODUCT LAUNCHES, EXPERIENTIAL JOURNEYS, PRIVATE WEDDINGS & INTIMATE DINNERS, TO NAME A FEW.

—What’s unique about your approach to lighting design for events?

I CONCENTRATE ON ENSURING THE DRAMA AND MYSTERY OF MY DESIGNS ARE UNBLEMISHED BY THE EQUIPMENT I USE. I WORK TOWARDS INTEGRATING ALL EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY SEAMLESSLY INTO THE ENVIRONMENTS MY TEAM AND I CREATE. 

—Where do you get your inspiration from?

EVERYWHERE I GO, I SEE THINGS FROM A LIGHT STANDPOINT OF VIEW. I GO TO A LOT OF ART FAIRS AND INSTALLATIONS. MANY OF MY IDEAS COME FROM AWARDS SHOWS, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND LARGE SCALE ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATIONS.

—What are some of the most unique events you’ve worked on, from a design perspective?

I'M WORKING ON MANY PROJECTS WHERE I CREATE IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENTS WITH SOUND, LIGHT & VIDEO. I AM STILL IN AWE OF THE EMOTIONS THAT CAN BE FELT FROM A FULLY IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE.

—How do you sell a client on an "out-of-the-box" idea? 

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN THE IDEA AND SUPPORT IT WITH THE RIGHT VISUALS SO THAT THE CLIENT CAN UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF THE PROJECT.

—What do you envision as the future of design?

TECHNOLOGY WILL CONTINUE TO DRIVE MOST INSTALLATIONS. PEOPLE HAVE A HUNGER FOR THINGS THEY CANNOT FIGURE OUT OR UNDERSTAND. IT IS OUR JOB AS VISIONARIES TO KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING HOW THE MAGIC IS BEING CREATED.

 

Check out a few of our past projects...

 

Hungry for more? Follow us on Instagram & Facebook

Visit the full article here

Q&A on Light Design with Ira Levy

In this segment of Light Design, Ira Levy answers some important questions.

Stay tuned for more on Light Design, Sound Design, and Video Design by LEVY | NYC. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest.

 

Tiffany and Co. "Paper Flowers Collection" Launch Party in NYC!

On May 3rd, 2018 Tiffany and Co. painted New York City #TiffanyBlue covering everything with #tiffanypaperflowers they also threw a huge party at the one and only Tiffany and Co. on 5th Ave. These events marked the kick off of Reed Krakoff's first collection titled "Paper Flowers." 

Here's what went down:

The star-studded event was graced with the presence of Elle Fanning, Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner, Michelle Williams, Sarah Paulson, Yara Shahidi, Zendaya, and even a performance by rapper ASAP Ferg.

It was a pleasure working with Tiffany and Co. on this memorial night. 

Lighting, Audio, and Video by LEVY | NYC Design and Production drop us a line for inquiries at (212) 925 4640 or email info@levynyc.net

Light Design Secrets with Industry Expert Ira Levy

This week Ira talks about Light Designers vs. Lighting Companies, Integrated Lighting Methods, and Best Practices. 

For light, sound, and video inquiries drop us a line at (212) 925 4640 or email info@levynyc.net

A Preston Bailey Master Class With Ira Levy

In this week's webisode, Ira speaks about the importance of light design and a collaborative process.

Follow Ira Levy and LEVY | NYC on Facebook and Instagram for the latest! Special thanks to Preston Baily for hosting this wonderful master class.

For light, sound, and video inquiries drop us a line at (212) 925 4640 or email info@levynyc.net

A Preston Bailey Master Class with Ira Levy

Welcome to a mini web-series from a Preston Bailey Master Class with guest speaker Ira Levy. In this segment Ira Levy talks about the importance of light design!

Follow Ira Levy and LEVY | NYC on Facebook and Instagram for the latest! Special thanks to Preston Baily for the invitation.

New York Weddings Event by New York Magazine

Levy NYC had a great time on event design and production at New York Magazine's Wedding Event yesterday at 180 Maiden Lane. From beautiful wedding decor to fabulous deserts and cocktails, each booth was exquisite in its own way.

Scroll through our album for some of the evening's highlights. 

Spring Garden and Rooftop Event ideas

Spring is official here! At Levy NYC, Spring is the season of garden parties and roof top fun, and we are feeling inspired by this year's crop of fresh outdoor event ideas.

First, live projection mapping highlights the forest's natural beauty in Bioluminescent Forest. From camping festivals to your courtyard garden, projection and lighting elements are a a great way to breath life into an outdoor event.

 

What's Spring without a pool party? ... A pingpong, projection mapped poolparty!

This Projection Mapped Ping Pong Pool, featured at Art Basel, is recipe for successful event design. We can't wait to experiment.

 

The outdoors become a playground for music, art and light in the Spring. What better exemplifies this than the New York Festival of Light? Co-founded by Ira Levy of Levy NYC, the spirit of the festival continues to reflect in our work across the corporate and social spheres.

Day 1 - The Levy | NYC Open House

Today and tomorrow, the Levy |  NYC Open House is not to be missed. The latest in event technology and stunning visual displays will be showcased from 12pm - 8pm daily.

Join us at our Brooklyn Headquarters for extended Open House Party hours from 6pm - 10pm on Thursday. Bring a friend for the caipirinhas and DJ!

 

Interactive Floor

 

Le' DJ Booth

 

Times Square Come to Brooklyn

Immersive Lighting: Fine Art LEDs

Levy NYC's founder, Ira Levy, is deeply inspired by the work of fine artists such as Dan Flavin. Take a look at this 10 minute interview with Ira which covers his background in event production and design. 

Through the use of lighting and audiovisual elements, Levy NYC seeks to create accessible aesthetic environments and event design. See the photos below for the influence of the moods, atmospheres and tones first brought to life by Dan Flavin on Levy NYC event production.

As fine art merges with the latest technology, Levy NYC asks the challenging question, how can the new arts of projection mapping and interactive technology be applied to the world of innovative event design?

Stay tuned for further developments.

New York Fashion Week with Alice + Olivia

This season’s Alice + Olivia New York Fashion Week event turned traditional runway on its head through creative staging and event production. Models were installed in various scenes of eastern and Italian Renaissance decadence while the audience circled the room.

Levy NYC’s audiovisual design gave life to the scenes, highlighting the subtle movements of the models while shadowing the wooden-frame and fabric bedecked sets. The many elements of event design came together to create the illusion that the collection has stepped out of a renaissance painting into the modern world.

See the Elements section of the website for a description of the lighting techniques used.

Photos from “The Enchantress of Florence” by @aliceandolivia at New York Fashion Week 2017.