“Passion and technology go together like tequila and lime. It’s a smooth and exciting combination that leads you to fun places.”
This article is the first in a collaborative series with Astro Audio Video Lighting (AVL), one of Los Angeles' leading retailers, installers and integrators for audio, video and lighting equipment. These articles will provide insights into how the Astro AVL team has used X-Laser systems to fit their clients' needs in all sorts of entertainment and production disciplines.
By Cypher, Sales Manager / DJ Instructor / Installation Designer & Foreman at Astro AVL
Based in the heart of Los Angeles, our event production & installation company is frequently handed opportunities to explore the use of a wide range of creative and unique applications of both audio and visual technology, oftentimes relating to DJ sound and lighting.
As it stands for most of us dabbling in this world, it’s all in the great pursuit of bringing a client’s vision to fruition. Typically, that means acting as the "flint" to spark an idea for the customer, enabling them to see how they can enhance the intended experience in ways they hadn’t known were possible.
From corporate showrooms, to public art exhibits, to music video shoots, over the next few blog posts I’m going to share how X-Laser enabled us to leave lasting impressions using their laser systems and how you can find opportunities to do the same.
We will start with identifying and categorizing the most common types of clients you will encounter in this industry. Astro’s company President and Founder, Craig Merrick, has decades of experience targeting the right lighting solutions for both video and live event production. In this series of blog posts I will outline the basics of that valuable company experience from our joint perspectives to act as your resource when crafting your approaches to proper X-Laser integration.
Video Production - When They Come to You
If you routinely deal with clients in commercial, TV, and film then you are already used to dealing with a set designer. If you’re just breaking into that sector then you better get used to it. They set the stage and you draw the curtains, so to speak. Astro AVL is next to Burbank, California, the film production capital of the U.S., so we interact with these types of problem solvers on a daily basis.
Oftentimes they are going to give you abstract brush strokes of what they want to accomplish, with pictures from Google Images and then turn to you for suggestions on what tools to use. Once you identify the sentiment they are trying to convey, it's easier to tie it to a lighting product that can exude that same quality.
In the case of X-Laser, this sentiment is usually excitement, expressiveness and the notorious “wow” factor.
One example of this was when we provided a custom laser solution for the Ty Dolla $ign performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in late 2020:
Many of the clients you interface with may even verbalize their desires using misnomers or have vague descriptions from a layman's perspective. This will leave you suggesting and describing various lighting products until you are both on the same page as to what technology they really need to utilize.
Before you spin your wheels, shoot them over a demo video like the one above to see if this is a path worth pursuing. Once they’ve expressed a medium interest, set up an appointment and get them to see the lighting effects in person.
We utilize the X-Laser Skywriter HPX M-5 to quickly demo the real potential of a high-powered laser for clients in these scenarios. It’s hard for them to deny the appeal of such a piercingly vivid animation or custom logo, and if you think that helps them get their message across then a live presentation is your best bet at winning them over.
This will most likely result in a rental booking for the duration of the shoot, which as we know, can often run longer than originally scheduled and result in an extended reservation period. Plus, who doesn’t love to be the invaluable technical resource that saves the day and keeps that client coming back for more?
At Astro AVL we have multiple showrooms that enable us to perform those same demos from the comfort of our own home. Utilizing the latest laser software and programming tools makes it simple and quick to provide a variety of effects according to the specific feedback you get during the meeting. Tuning the color, speed and style of animation will help make things click for them and they can then move forward to the next item on the list while resting assured their hardware decision will meet their needs.
I’ve done this many times with our clients at Astro AVL and you can imagine there is a good reason they return to us time and time again as their premier DJ supply store. In the next blog post, I’ll address the next customer demographic: the nightlife industry.
ABOUT ASTRO AVL
Astro AVL has been a landmark resource in the entertainment industry since 1974. As LA’s first and original DJ store, it has helped legendary and local artists launch their careers and has provided Hollywood's top production studios with the tools they need to bring their sets to life through visual artistry. Beyond sales, Astro offers a rentals & repair service department and a school for educational instruction in DJing, Music Production, and Lighting Programming. The company also designs and executes customized systems across hallmark LA venues and nationwide chains. If you find yourself in Los Angeles, Astro AVL invites you to check out its award-winning showrooms. To learn more about Astro AVL, please visit astroavl.com today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cypher has 20 years of experience as a DJ and as a producer with track releases on five internationally recognized record labels. Along with performing for venues from NYC to LA he designs audio and lighting systems, giving him a wide base of knowledge of products in the entertainment industry. He is the Manager, Lead DJ Instructor, and Installation Foreman of Astro Audio Video Lighting in Glendale, California.
To see all of the blog posts in this series, click here for the archive.