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Articles September - October 2023

Capturing The True Essence Of Sound New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Photo Feature: Studio Showcase New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Mastering The Art Of Sound With Donal Whelan New!

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Articles September - October 2023

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IRAA Awards 2023: Jury Reflections New!

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Gray Spark Audio Opens New Studio For Academy Students New!

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Firdaus Studio: Building A Sonic Paradise For Recording Artists New!

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Naveen Deshpande Elevates Stand-Up Comedy with Bespoke Lighting Designs New!

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Think Guys

Hope all of you had a great PALM Expo.

If you missed it this year, do write it into your schedules and visit next year.

In a short time PALM has become huge. It now spans large areas of land. Its run out of building space and a lot of important installations and exhibition areas are now housed in temporary structures.

As a first sign on how far Event Technology has progressed - even the temporary structures are better equipped than permanent structures were, just a few years ago.

When I congratulated the organisers on the scale they have achieved, all I got is one word - ‘INDIA’.

What a fine tribute to a growing country, and a finer tribute to all of us who are helping the country grow. With the masses of people there - we seem to be creating employment and opportunity for so many young ones to build careers.

Things may have changed - but one thing, I was thrilled to notice, has not changed at all - the passion.

The Passion

In our profession we get a chance to walk through exhibitions hosted for so many industries. We do opening ceremonies and award shows for IT industry. Chemical, Hospitality, Education, Textile Industries and so many varied organisations. They may be larger, have more celebrated attendees, more educated and accomplished delegates, but one thing our industry seems to score far above those exhibitions is the passion of the attendees.

In every corner and available public space you will see huddled groups pouring over pamphlets, scribbling notes, animatedly discussing stuff in a range of languages. I love the energy and the Buzz!

The Audio boys are pounding away in the designated areas. Sound Leaking from their sound proofed domes as they test the limits of their amassed speaker cabinets. The moment the sun dips over the shed - a dozen LED screens jump up. For me the most surreal image is over a thousand moving lights all flying about - silently. No music in a silent hall. Very Cool.

In a small but significant corner at the back of the hall, sit the video boys. Planning our future. Whichever way you look at it - it’s just a matter of time before they take over all our work. Right now, its just wonderful to see how projections can alter our world and wonder just how far we will progress down that road.

In all of this market of madness, where stall owners can spend lesser and lesser time with buyers as there are just so many. All shopping for great deals which are becoming both very easy and very difficult.

Prices are dropping, inventories and warehouses are getting stuffed with more and more equipment. Which brings me to my only point of concern......

Where are the designers ? Sound Designers, Light Designers, Video Designers, DJ’s, VJ’s and their tribe. They are at the exhibition. Prowling the alleys. Looking longingly at all the goodies on display. But I did not see even one in any serious discussion with a manufacturer or distributor.

What difference? Dhandha is Dhandha! are the two most common phrases I got when I shared this observation with some colleagues.

They are right. But.... and this is a huge BUT........ This is a design driven business. The people are far more important than any bit of equipment.

I remember as a kid as I was trying to buy equipment from a store in the UK and busily striking off and adding stuff from the list of things I could afford. The senior manager who had kind of taken this nervous Indian brat under his wing, took me out for a sandwich and explained to me, ‘Son, whichever way you cut it, if you are successful, your professional fee will definitely be more than return on investment on equipment. Trouble is, if you don’t have top class equipment - you’ll never be a top class designer.’

No truer words have ever been said to me, and I personally have benefitted immensely from this wisdom. Friends thought I was an idiot to borrow to buy equipment I still did not know how to use. But I am glad I did.

Who knows? Was it the fear of not being able to repay the loan. The pressure I put on myself to work myself out of this strange spot I found myself in. The determination to prove all the naysayers wrong - or some combination of all three that made me just get better and learn more. To this date that desire to top myself persists - even if my bones creak in agony over the stress we put onto our bodies.

Palm Soundscape

Which brings me to the session I was privileged to moderate at PALM. Big Show Technology. A Bit out of comfort zone, I was a little nervous going in. But I was lucky enough to have some great panellists who taught me so much. Cleared up so many things and has made my view of the future of our business a bit clearer.

When they reminded me of my old business professor who had taught us ‘Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone’ How do you grow in a market you know very well, but is saturated.

Inevitably the answer lies at the end of a design driven process. You have to re-design and / or re- engineer your entire proposition. Find new applications for old technology. Or jettison old technology to embrace new technology that must double your ability to deliver at half the cost.

To grow you need money. But to double the growth you need designers and smart engineers.

Which brings me back to my feeling of loss when I saw the designers being excluded from the business process at the exhibition. How does a designer power his way into a finance meeting?

How do we get a finance guy focussing on cutting costs, to open up and spend money on a designer who can save costs in the long run.

Too too often I have seen decisions being shut down to service a short term financial goal.

And to be fair must add - To limit risk.

I sincerely hope some big thinkers come into our profession soon and back the right people to take our industry forward.

It’s just a matter of time before any collective public experience will have to employ significant amounts of technology and we must have the designers in place and trained to take advantage of these situations and draw in the crowds and the attention.

I hope stakeholders realise that simply throwing money and people at a problem will not solve it. We need imagination, we need discipline and we need coordinated execution to deliver our promises. If done well - The rewards will outnumber then investments.

We need a ‘Sholay’ moment to catapult our industry forward.

I am praying that at PALM our industry’s Ramesh Sippy was dreaming of Thakur and Gabbar while scouting for Veer and Jai and Basanti. Fingers Crossed he brings them together.


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