For more than 20 years, Bartha has supported the National FFA Convention & Expo. This annual gathering of 60,000 young adults develops leadership skills through agricultural education.
After more than 90 years of live events, the National FFA delivered its annual convention virtually in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National FFA planned a return to in-person sessions in 2021, with events also live-streamed to virtual attendees. They turned again to their partners at Bartha to manage staging and production.
This live + virtual hybrid approach presented unique planning and execution challenges, especially given the combination of large convention hall and stadium event spaces. Bartha’s unrivaled project management ability, staging knowledge, and production expertise resulted in an outstanding event with incredible engagement.
The 94th annual event, held in October 2021 at the Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium (ICCLOS), required ample organization and logistics. From technical support to custom graphics and video packages and other staging needs, Bartha was there to produce an exceptional event.
Bartha began preparing with FFA organizers eight months in advance to ensure an engaging experience for the more than 50,000 live participants—and for thousands who would join virtually. Some virtual attendees even presented or accepted awards. Nearly all the presentations were live streamed to an online audience.
We coordinated with National FFA’s information technology team and the ICCLOS team to coordinate feeds and embeds, pushing the video through fiber optic cabling at Lucas Oil Stadium and through a live feed on the FFA website, making this massive event seamless.
The event spanned five convention center ballrooms for numerous award ceremonies, multiple delegate sessions, various competitions, and 15 concurrent breakout sessions. It also included lively opening and closing sessions on the main field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In total, the complex setup of a stadium stage and breakout ballrooms required nearly 30 screens, 40 Bartha personnel, and 20 trucks to haul our state-of-the-art equipment to Indiana to produce the convention. All in a day’s work!
Attendees, both in-person and online, gave the event high marks. And as usual, the FFA team was pleased with the process and the outcomes. At the end of the four-day convention, both live and virtual attendees had enjoyed an invigorating, inspiring event.
Bartha has been the production partner for the National FFA Convention & Expo since 2000. From the beginning of our relationship to present day, they have continuously looked for ways to elevate the experience for our members, advisors and guests that attend. From the main stage production and branding the entire convention center to rock solid A/V setups for breakout sessions, delegate sessions, awards events and overflow viewing areas, year after year they bring their “A” game. That is the reason why it’s been such a long-standing partnership. They become a part of your show, not just a service provider. I would recommend the Bartha team to anyone looking for a top-notch event production company. From concepting, creative, and development to the execution of the project, they rank as one the best I’ve worked with.
— Mandy Hazlett, CMP, DES, Associate Director of Convention & Events
As the world continues to adjust to a new way of doing business, hybrid events have become the norm. In-person attendees continue to expect energizing, entertaining, and engaging events. And others expect these events to be streamable online, live, or on-demand. Bartha’s expertise and capabilities make it an ideal partner for these hybrid stadium-sized events.
The National Emergency Number Association’s recent conference and expo exemplifies the scope and quality of the event support and services Bartha can provide.
The association – known as NENA – is a repeat client of ours. As with past efforts, they relied heavily on our creative and production teams to move their multi-faceted project forward in a truly collaborative manner. Hosted at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in July, the primary event components included an emergency number industry trade show/expo, general sessions, breakout sessions, store, registration, and other activities in and around the convention center.
For the 2021 NENA conference and expo, Bartha provided:
It is not only about what we do, but also how we do it. For NENA, we are a fully equipped event and production facility, which streamlines their processes before the event and on-site. Because of our long history together, we understand their needs and have refined the pre-production process to include bi-weekly calls and flexibility to handle changes and tight timelines.
Click here to learn more about Bartha and the work we do for businesses, associations, colleges and universities and organizations of all types of sizes, in the real world, and in the virtual world.
Bartha has been a key partner with the University of Michigan since 2017. We have created and executed their vision for their highly produced Spring and Winter Commencements. Of course, it’s a big deal when you are invited to “The Big House.” But, it’s an even bigger deal when you are invited to the University of Michigan’s iconic football stadium to produce its Bicentennial Commencement with an audience of 60,000 graduates and their loved ones. Enter 2020 and all the changes and challenges that came along with switching to virtual and hybrid events. The University did an in-house Zoom commencement that year, and in 2021 they wanted to continue to improve their production in a big way to allow their 13,000 graduates to participate.
They came to us looking for ideas for how to make the commencement interesting and engaging, giving the students a feeling like they were still part of it, even though they were not in the stadium. Most of the creative was focused on making the opening video have a huge emotional impact as well as developing a hybrid solution with reliable streaming capabilities so parents and extended family could view the event.
We created a 90-minute pre-recorded program from over 200 hours of footage that we shot in-person, gathered virtually, and received from the client. The production encompassed their entire ceremony with speeches, honors, and celebration of accomplishments. We were honored to produce several stand-alone segments, including an engaging opening video that highlighted all parts of the University and celebrated achievements from students and alumni from around the world. We also created two music videos in conjunction with their School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Our pre-production creative also included pre-recordings of speakers and presenters recorded in person and virtually from NYC to Geneva.
Perfectly imitating University of Michigan’s official website style, we built a custom page that was uploaded and hosted on their site. The YouTube livestream and chat were embedded on the top of the page. Below the stream there were anchored sections for a variety of purposes including: a social wall embed linked to Michigan’s tagboard account, a program PDF download button, and a typical footer with a help hyperlink. View the webpage here.
For the live in-person portion, following COVID protocols for the state of Michigan and the University, we incorporated a live stage and stadium audience and presenters with two 40-foot-wide LED walls, sound systems, cameras, and staging for the 5,000 in-person attendees in Michigan Stadium. We set up a stage for presenters, who kicked off the program for the in-person and other 50,000 worldwide virtual attendees. We also had thousands of students attend via Zoom so that they could be on screen during the ceremony.
In addition to the video and in-person portions of this event, we also created a custom streaming webpage that allowed attendees to view the stream, interact via a social media wall and reference the commencement program.
Overall, this event was an enormous success. The client admitted that the opening video made them so emotional they cried, and we think that’s a win. Hybrid events pose a unique challenge of weaving together attendees and connecting across great distance, and we were honored to provide a solution that celebrated the momentous accomplishments of their students and connected attendees from the stadium to locations across the world.
The University of Michigan has worked and trusted Bartha to complete our in-person Winter and Spring Ceremonial events since 2017. When it came time for the University to resume ceremonies for the 2021 season, we knew we could rely on Bartha to help us make it happen. They exceeded our expectations! For our virtual Honors Convocation and Rackham Graduate Exercises they were able to create animations to acknowledge each student as if we were in person. Both parents and students shared in our excitement as they had the opportunity to process across the virtual stage. For our Spring Commencement, they created our first-ever hybrid ceremony. Utilizing a custom website, in-person camera work and Zoom, whether students were in the stadium or at home, everyone was able to share in the ceremony experience. As we look ahead into the unsure future of events, the University of Michigan knows they can count on the Bartha team to provide high quality productions and amazing customer service.
–Erin Dolski, Event Manager, University of Michigan
Ohio FFA is a long-standing client who came to us looking for a unique virtual experience for their 93rd Convention. When we started the planning process, they asked us for a solution for bringing all portions of their four-session conference to a completely virtual audience. Bartha was excited to solve this unique problem using skills honed to streamline pre-production and create a show that provided a live experience.
We recorded all four of the hour-long sessions in our studio utilizing our 30′ wide LED Wall. The studio setting featured several stunning FFA custom-branded, animated backgrounds for the video segments. Our producers, editors, animators, and graphic artists created the final program from the recorded content. Utilizing FFA’s branding, our team made engaging video productions by adding Bartha produced graphics, slides, backgrounds, and animations for a “more in the moment” experience viewed by their thousands of attendees.
Ohio FFA’s custom web page was made to feature the livestream, spotlight sponsors, remind viewers of the schedule, advertise a merchandise shop, detail workshop breakouts, and more! Attendees could easily jump to each section via a top-page navigation with anchor links. View the web page here.
Some Bartha-guided solutions that led to the event’s success included a custom branded website and a mix of live Zoom feeds from around Ohio into the pre-recorded sessions. The sessions also featured live Bartha studio segments with the FFA Officers to lead their recognition and elections programming.
Combining those live portions with branded content and expertly edited videos made this year’s program a huge success. We’re proud to be a part of an event and organization that honors the skills and progress of its over 25,000 members in Ohio through agricultural education.
For over a decade The Women’s Sports Report has brought Columbus together to celebrate girls in sports. As a long-time partner of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, we’ve been committed to celebrating this event in innovative ways every year. In keeping with their “news desk” style theme, we chose to produce the virtual event with the hosts in a studio environment with a digital background utilizing an LED wall.
It’s important to our team that when we partner with a production service their primary focus is on the quality of service in addition to the expertise. For years, Bartha continues to deliver on exceptional customer service for us and most recently, demonstrated that they could provide the guidance and leadership we needed when we took an in-person event completely virtual. As we look toward future production needs, Bartha will remain a preferred partner for our events!
– Jenn Cartmille, M.S, IMC & CTA, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission
Operating from our studio spaces, we were able to help them reach their virtual audience with a professional broadcast that allowed interactivity and brought in several speakers virtually who otherwise would not have been able to participate. One way we were able to help them with their virtual experience was creating a custom website built around their goals for attendee engagement, which allowed for an easily managed streaming platform. Custom websites are a great alternative to purchasing a virtual platform and allows for more cost-effective customization and a more unique attendee experience.
Another key to success was our dedication to pre-production. Through regular client meetings, rigorous production timelines, and rehearsals we were able to weave together the many moving parts of this event seamlessly, which included four high school sports teams, a keynote speaker and eight remote speakers.
Creatively we were able to not only design and build the custom backdrop and streaming site, but we also created lower thirds, countdowns, and other custom graphics. We were able to really push the normal expectations of a stream and create something unique to help celebrate girls in sports across Ohio.
As always, we can’t wait to push further next year and help celebrate the amazing things girls in Columbus are doing in sports!
Regarded as the largest celebration of its kind in the country, with event proceeds funding college scholarships and The King Arts Complex, the 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast went virtual for the first time this year. Having produced the annual breakfast for many years we were excited to bring this event to life in a new way. To weave together their theme, “Now Is The Time”, as a cohesive thread throughout the event, we decided on pre-recorded videos and animations edited together into a seamless video presentation. Some of the pre-recorded segments were shot in our studio, edited and inserted into the program. This presentation was then premiered live and available throughout the day for viewers.
Utilizing that system, we were able to recreate the EXPERIENCE of the live event while also being able to reach an additional audience, with around 1,500 total views of the presentation. Pre-recorded videos were produced for multiple presenters including Melissa Harris Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, Shannon G. Hardin, Columbus City Council President, and Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
In the wake of COVID-19, we had to switch from the normal in-person event to a virtual event for our citywide 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Breakfast event.
Planning our first virtual event with a lot of options and unfamiliar terminology can be overwhelming and seem like a daunting task. Also, as an IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity organization, we were looking for an affordable solution.
Our production services provider for in-person events, Bartha was there with an affordable virtual solution. They took the time to understand what we wanted as a company, what we wanted for our attendees, and the branding we wanted for our corporate sponsors. Bartha explained the process, asked thoughtful questions, provided contingency plans and full support.
We wholeheartedly recommend Bartha to everyone we know.
– Bert Castle, Executive Director
In addition to the main video presentation, we also created a highlight video of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast. This highlight reel is available to view above.
We get the opportunity to partner on all types of events, but we’re always especially proud of the ones that share messages of equality and have a positive impact on our greater community.
Over the last few months, as plans have continued to change, we’ve helped new and long-time clients create virtual experiences that help capture their attendee’s attention and challenge what’s possible by going virtual. One of these events was the Ohio Virtual Fatherhood Summit. When the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, a long-time partner, reached out to start planning their annual summit, it was an in-person event for around 200 people. But as with many events in 2020, they had to make the decision to create a completely virtual event. Their main goal was to stay as true to that original event as possible.
As with in-person events, we’ve found that pre-production for virtual events is crucial to identifying possible problems, managing virtual platforms, coaching speakers and anticipating technical support needs. We follow a multi-step process that allows us to assess each client’s individual virtual meeting needs including streaming, custom websites, virtual event platforms, location options, a/v support, moderation and creative content creation. This attention to detail helps everything run smoothly on event day.
For the Virtual Fatherhood Summit, we were able to provide our client with a customized event platform including an exhibit hall, technical support for attendees and presenters, branding, edited videos from all sessions and metrics to review the success of the event. We were able to provide those services utilizing our on-site control room and their headquarters and assigning two teams to support the event. Our event platform team was responsible for setting up the platform and tailoring it to the client’s specific branding requirements. Additionally, they served as the technical help desk for anyone having issues with the platform. Our creative team elevated the quality of the sessions by creating graphics, lower thirds and editing video compilations.
Part of our event day support included switching between presenters who were in different locations. Weaving presenters from multiple locations together can be a challenge but having a knowledgeable production partner removes the stress. Our approach and expertise with the event platform allowed everyone to come together in an interactive way. One way we accomplished that was by using PiP (picture in picture) during the live event so that attendees could see the presenter during the PowerPoint presentations or could see both people speaking on-screen at once.
A wow factor for this client was the exhibit hall feature we created within the event platform. The exhibit hall included a custom map and each exhibitor was given their own dedicated web page for information, polls, conversations and the option to jump instantly into a Zoom call at the press of a button to interact live with the exhibit representatives. Nearly 20 virtual vendor booths were ready to greet visitors during the all-day event. This solution allowed our client to keep something from the live event that was important to their success, but in a way that kept it effective for their virtual meeting.
Overall, this event was a big success. Over 450 people visited the website and generated nearly 30 thousand page views. Feedback from attendees and vendors was positive with lots of comments on how much like the in-person event we were able to make the virtual summit. The summit also logged record attendance because they weren’t bound by typical financial barriers that often stifle events of this size, such as venue capacity, travel, lodging and catering costs.
Our award-winning design team partnered with our experienced team of technicians helped the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood reach their goals and create an impactful experience. With our turnkey solutions and impressive support, they were able to connect with more attendees than in years past and reach higher than before.
We can’t wait to see what we’re able to do next.
We partnered with The Purdue University Foundation to produce an event for donors and alumni to kick off a 2-billion-dollar capital campaign titled “Ever True”. We worked side by side with University Events to create a beautiful pre-event networking space and media that was projected across 4 ultra-wide screens recognizing every donor in the room.
When 35,000 young people ranging from high-school age to early 20s gathered at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, earlier this summer, we knew we were about to blow their minds. And we did.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) 2018 Youth Gathering had a unique set of objectives. Chief among them was consistently and continuously engaging an audience of tens of thousands of easily-distracted young people. Also a priority was the ability to accommodate a multitude of moving parts, including efficiently and effectively moving dozens of bands, musicians, choirs, presenters and other performers on and off stage without disrupting the program. And while it was a raucous affair at times, the theological components of the program were equally important to a successful outcome for the event.
It all started with the design of the stage backdrop. It had to be both attractive and functional. The essential element of the set, understandably, was an over-sized cross. Roughly 90-feet high and made of 12-foot truss and LED tube lighting strips. Complementing the cross was a mosaic of custom-made projection surfaces of various sizes and shapes, some with sharp angles, bringing to mind a giant stained-glass window.
In addition to three projection screens, the projection surfaces were made of fabric stretched over frames. We were looking for a fabric that was easy to work with while also allowing our moving animations, video and other visuals to look stunning via front projection. The good people at Sew What came through for us with great solutions. Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
For everyone involved, ELCA’s 2018 Youth Gathering was a unique, next-level experience.
The initial plan was to paint the set with lighting. As the creative process with ELCA evolved, the ideas became bigger and more activity was planned. Ultimately, two dramatic moving animations – including a magnificent sequence of a space shuttle blasting off to open the gathering – and a dozen static looks that were produced by our Creative Services team and used throughout the sessions, ranging from blue sky and puffy white clouds to an urban scene with graffiti accents.
Another feature of the set was a Baptismal fountain, complete with running water. It was about 4-inches deep and looked deeper from a distance. While no Baptisms were performed, the water was used by speakers to form the sign of the cross and one speaker presented while standing in the fountain.
Further, the set had to be designed and fabricated in a way that efficiently and effectively accommodated a near-constant rotation of bands, choirs, DJs and other performers, which also required management of backline equipment and other technical needs. Our designers and fabricators forged the perfect solution. The praise band was positioned stage left for the duration. Stage right was more active. A sliding wall, designed and lit to mimic the stage left performance area, was used to hide set up and then reveal performers on cue. The transitions were efficient, seamless and dramatic.
An audience of this age needs to be engaged, active and involved. With bands, DJs, performers and non-stop dancing in the audience, the 90-minute walk-ins felt more like EDC than ECLA. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in the event via ELCA’s “Mass Cast” program. With a new cast every day, hundreds of attendees were taught simple routines with simple props such as flags or glow sticks to be performed each day. Speakers were equally engaging and a mirror image of those in the audience. All presentations were 8 – 12 minutes and delivered from memory. No teleprompters were used. An audience of peers – especially this age group — appreciates presentations delivered to them and for them, not at them. In addition to the Houston audience, all of the sessions were streamed around the globe via our webcasting and content delivery network.
For everyone involved, ELCA’s 2018 Youth Gathering was a next-level experience. One of the main reasons it was able to happen is a shared commitment to a thorough, collaborative process that allowed everyone to contribute their best ideas and take calculated risks with their work. We met face-to-face with the ELCA team on four occasions to discuss current plans and next steps, in addition to site visits at the venue.
We were impressed with the efforts ELCA made to connect with its audience. We are grateful for the opportunity to support those efforts with the type of Texas-sized visual and technical sizzle we were able to bring to the event. We hope to work with them again in Minneapolis in 2021.
We welcome the opportunity to bring our collaborative approach and proven expertise to your next event, big or small.