A studio-based shoot provided the solution
Austria - The experience of Chameleon Event Production’s personnel, combined with the advanced pathogen eradication tools from sister company Entec UVC SafeClean, twice saved the day, and enabled a fashion-based sales meeting from one of their most loyal and long serving clients to go ahead - in spite of COVID lockdown.
Having worked with global sports and fashion headwear specialists, New Era, since 2014, they were booked to stage an interactive sales meeting for their sales force at the Hilton on the Danube in Vienna, and had done 90% of the prep when Austria announced its lockdown on 19 November 2021.
Chameleon production manager, Sam Parkins, explained how the flexibility of his team, coupled with the trust invested by the client, resulted in the production house reconfiguring its studio in Milton Keynes and staging the event virtually, in a simulated COVID-secure environment.
The event was to have been one of four staged each year for New Era. And while it was set to have been a lavish live show featuring full room projection mapping and turnkey production, Chameleon have been well accustomed to producing filmed events for streaming and content delivery, since the first lockdown.
“We were two days away from having the carnet ready to go,” he explains. “All technical CADs were developed, signed off and all the custom scenic had been created ready to be trucked.
“Immediately we got wind of the situation I spoke to my client and we agreed the only way to get the job delivered was to consider what would be needed for a studio-based shoot. So I transitioned the crew back to Milton Keynes.”
Carpenter Richard Lake set to work, enlarging the studio space by around a metre to fit the design conceived by Parkins in collaboration with colleague, Cameron Kerr. “At the time we started on the alternative plan Vienna was still technically viable, so we had two trains running simultaneously, with freelancers here building the scenic, before making the switch,” he reveals.
“We needed the client to sign off a design that they were happy with, and since we have designed 20-plus unique feeling events for them in the past, they were pleased to do so. We have a fantastic relationship with them and they trust our methodology completely.”
But that wasn’t the end of the story, for with COVID generally rife back in the UK as well, Chameleon needed to make sure their studio was environmentally safe. Having attended a demonstration of Finsen Tech’s new key components - Zeus, a smart, cabinet-based surface decontaminator, Thor high-output UVC disinfection robot and EIR 2000 high-capacity air filtration unit, deployment became a no-brainer.
“We used all three,” says Parkins. “Thor carried out one cycle in the main room and the other in the Green Room daily, and we used the EIR 2000 on every shoot day. We were tested for COVID three times a day, and if we hadn’t had these pieces of kit to assure crew, I am certain it would have been difficult to keep the trust of the crew and clients to work so closely over a long period - during the build and the show itself.”
Instead, it was business as usual. Chameleon fabricated a custom backdrop with technical stylings and a nod to the Vienna design, including a workshop counter to demonstrate the headwear, and an area of visual appeal to showcase models demonstrating the new range of apparel. This was presented as if to an audience.
“We filmed the product in 25 sections as if it was live,” explains Parkins. “We shot 10 hours over three days and then edited down the 30 hours of footage to individual product categories, to be hosted by the client on a live website, for sales managers to explore the new content remotely across Europe.”
To achieve this, Chameleon fielded an eight-camera PPU which was split across different areas. “We used eight lenses to film the products with a single cameraman and one director to minimise personnel on site. Everything else was done remotely and controlled separately, with one person vision mixing between the various camera shots.”
The production could not have been more seamless and at the same time Chameleon were pleased to have been able to offer New Era the gold standard in virus protection. “We were even able to stream the Multiview to one of the senior personnel so he could watch the show from every camera angle, and interact,” Parkins reports.
Sam Parkins concludes: “I expected a good reaction from the client but [the event] was more than that and became a real talking point. Because of the extra precautions taken everyone had felt safe, which was an absolute blessing.”

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