Great stage design is critical to how your live talks turn out, both for your live audience and for those who view your videos on the web. An attractive stage is pleasing to look at for a long period of time, but not so elaborate as to distract the audience.
Tips for great stage design:
- Dark backdrop: For organizers without professional stage design resources, the simplest way to create an elegant stage is by hanging a black (or dark-colored) curtain.
- Absence of clutter: Clutter -- power cables, multiple laptops, projection rigs -- distracts the eye. You'll want your audience to be able to maintain full attention to the talks and performances.
- Decoration: Without a little decoration, your stage will look cold and flat. An interesting art piece, technological artifact or intriguing piece of furniture on stage (consider an object that speaks to your event's theme) will give your event a distinct personality, and accent the talks on stage. Our favorite simple stage set is the library: You can achieve it simply with two armchairs, a side table, bookshelves with books and objects, a large globe, and an area rug for good measure. You can dress it vintage or mod; it always works.
- Easy entrance and exit: Make it easy for your onstage host and live speakers by offering a simple way to get on and off of the stage. No need for a green room -- all live participants should enter the stage from the audience. This approach saves time and makes transitions smoother.
- Layered lighting: Flat lighting will make even the most exciting performance dull to look at. Even if your venue only has fluorescent lights, you can avoid the "lecture hall" look by borrowing floor lamps from your home and placing them at the foot of the stage.
- Well-placed screen: You'll want to place your projection or video screen where the audience won't have to turn their heads to see it -- but also where it won't interfere with the live speaker.