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Breathing Life Into Spaces

 

Since 2005, LiveSpace has provided customers across the United States with full-service audio, video, and lighting integration services, together with production, staging and equipment rentals for live events. We recently sat down with LiveSpace CFO, Jason McClellan, to learn more about LiveSpace, get his view on the current state of market integration and live event services, and why they use Truss Aluminium Factory (TAF) products for their projects.

 

Hi Jason. Can you tell us about LiveSpace and its services?

 

LiveSpace is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and operates two divisions from our headquarters – Live Events and Integration. For the past eighteen years, we have been designing and installing extremely complex audio, video, lighting, and staging systems for a wide range of small to large spaces. Half of our work is done in large performances spaces across the United States.

 

We’re well-known for our designs at “Toby Keiths: I Love this Bar and Grill”, “Kings Bowl America”, and one of the latest “eatertainment” creations, “Your 3rd Spot”, in Atlanta, Georgia. Each location we have been a part of features the latest and greatest technology, at the time of its installation, with seamless AVL throughout.

 

The event side of things in our home state of Michigan is busy these days, mainly during the summer when the weather is nice. The integration business kind of ebbs and flows, depending on what phase of the sales process we’re in. It’s like a roller coaster that continues to go faster and faster.

 

Our goal, from conception to completion, is to create dynamic sensory experiences, while exceeding our customers’ expectations.

 

Who are your customers?

 

It’s interesting to note that 50% of our business is within the House of Worship market, where we cover performance, audio, and lighting. For most of these projects we are involved from the design and build phase to installation. Our focus on Houses of Worship was not intentional, it just happens to be where most of the larger venue builds are occurring across the nation.

 

About 30% of our customers are within the hospitality segment. In this segment, we look for customers who want to utilize today’s emerging technology and push their installations to the limit. We like to partner with people who are excited about being on the cutting edge.

 

The remaining 20% of our customers are within education, government, and a mix of everything else.

 

What has changed or evolved in the industry you serve since coming out of COVID?

 

I’m proud that we managed to stay open and retain our full staff throughout the COVID lockdowns. It was an extremely difficult year and a half for live events. 

 

Since coming out of COVID, live events have been exploding! Everybody wants to get back outside. That’s been the largest part of our recent growth, on both the entertainment side and production side.

 

At the same time, it’s clear that people now prefer staying home to going to the office. This has led to a drastic increase in online meetings, although it seems that face-to-face meetings are making a comeback and conference rooms are still needed, but with the ability to livestream to those working from home.

 

The way businesses treat inventory has also changed. They’re not just buying what they need today, but preparing for what they might need in the future by making sure they have it in stock. As far as anticipating customer purchases, people seem to be more hesitant to make large investments right away. Instead, they prefer to make multiple smaller purchases or split a large project into many phases.

 

 

Have you identified any interesting trends in design and installation? 

 

In the past few years, a lot of performances have started using full RGBWA (Red, Green, Blue, White, Amber) LED lighting and changed all of their lamp fixtures to LED. The reason for this is not just to help protect the environment, but also to better control the color temperature within the room. It’s interesting to have full installations that are 100% RGBWA (house and stage lighting).

 

A lot of the smaller churches are getting rid of speaker array systems and investing in smaller-profile column array speakers. As a result, they need brackets or truss that help to hide these speakers within the architecture and ensure good sight lines to the stage. 

 

It seems like attendance at many houses of worship has decreased, due to many people staying home to watch streamed services. This has led to a large increase in live stream technology, which means the houses of worship are getting smaller and more compact systems are being utilized. 

 

Can you talk about some standout projects from LiveSpace?

 

One design that we were very proud to be a part was the "Infinity Truss" installed at Mt. Gilead Church in Mooresville, Indiana.  It was designed as a figure 8 with a 'thrust' in the center toward the audience and hung over the stage.  It supported (26) Chauvet Ovation E-260WW ellipsoidals, (6) Chauvet Rogue R2 Wash fixtures, (8) Elation Six Bar 500, and (36) Chroma-q Color One 100x. This project was also one of the first to use full RGBW lighting throughout the room (house lights included) to fully control color temperature and enable scenic matching in all areas. 

 

How long have you been working with TAF and why did choose their products for LiveSpace projects?

 

LiveSpace attends most of the AVL industry trade shows, such as LDI, InfoCOMM in Las Vegas, Prolight & Sound in Germany, and ISE in Barcelona. We are always looking for the best of everything – the newest trends and safest equipment. During one of these trade shows, I met TAF Managing Director, Jiri Jakubec and we’ve been buying TAF products ever since. Our partnership has allowed us to save money, while helping us execute projects efficiently and safely.

 

TAF truss is very attractive, locks together extremely well and the weight loading is impressive. Its quicklock pin system is much better than other truss connection systems, which often get stuck and are pretty unbearable.

 

COVID was a nightmare - we had to look to other manufacturers for truss products. Everyone was out of stock, and we had to change a lot of things, such as our preferred vendors, which are much different now compared to five years ago. One of the unique advantages of TAF is they always had inventory and responded quickly. No matter what I wanted to build, they came back and said “yeah, we have plenty of that”. I wish they also made wireless microphones and PA Systems! 

 

Even today, it can still take years to get some things, but hopefully we’re getting closer to the end of that situation. It was so nice when everything could be bought and delivered on time.

 

To avoid any potential problems, we hold a lot more inventory these days and respond as quickly as possible to customer needs.

 

When are TAF products a good choice for use in your projects? Can you tell us about a few projects that utilized TAF products?

 

TAF makes some of the best trusses and components in the industry. At LiveSpace, we are proud to use their products on a regular basis. We fully trust their safety and high-quality construction. In fact, TAF has every type of clamp you could want, and they work perfectly for every situation we encounter.  All the lighting rigs we deploy for festivals, concerts, and corporate events contain TAF products. We know how they will perform and are fully confident they will hold up throughout the event. Even the smallest TAF items, such as their cable management snaps, make a big difference when creating a show that needs to look as clean as possible.

 

We’ve had very large lighting installations where TAF truss was a perfect solution. In fact, almost every one of our large projects uses TAF products. TAF products have the same safety standards and weight ratings as other truss brands, while being very affordable. It’s always good when we can save our client money for the support structure, so can use their budget in other places, such as adding more light fixtures.

 

I should mention one joint project that we did with TAF for a very specific structure within an extremely delicate space. There was only two inches of space between the truss and the walls and ceilings. As you can imagine, everything needed to be extremely precise. The goal was to create two stages – one measuring 18.5’ x 30’ x 30’ using TAF TT34 (12” box truss) and the other measuring 18.5 ‘ x 50’ x 70’ stage using TT54 (21.5” box truss). Both TAF truss systems feature the quicklock truss connection. In the end, we were able to construct both stages within the allowable 2” margin.

Fitting into tight spaces - Only 2 inches between the truss and walls/ceiling

 

What makes TAF different than other truss manufacturers? Do they provide you with added value?

 

TAF’s service is fantastic. They answer every call and are quick to respond. If I have any questions, or need more information, they are always available and very helpful. That stands out from other truss brands that take days or weeks to send a quote. In most cases, TAF can do it within the hour!

 

What are your plans for the future?

 

Hire more creative people. We would like to grow in all areas, while continuing to provide our customers with fast and effective service. Of course, we would love to build our first arena!

 

You can visit the LiveSpace website at www.livespace.com or contact them for more information and a quote through info@livespace.com.


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