An insider’s look at producing New Year's Eve in Melbourne

January 30, 2017

Event Birdie - 23 January 2017 

Every year Melburnians flock to the city’s heart to bring in the New Year. Along with a midnight fireworks display (customary, of course), revellers can enjoy an all night long (and free!) dance party in Federation Square. This year, around 80,000+ enjoyed the stellar line up of musical acts provided by Multicultural Arts Victoria and, by all accounts, the event was a deemed a major success.

Putting on such a large public event takes some considerable planning and a whole lot of hard yakka. To find out a little more about putting on a major public event we caught up with AV & Production experts, Creative Vision & Audio, who, for the fifth year running, worked on the NYE event at Federation Square.

When did the CVA team start work on the event?

August 2016 - roughly five months out from the event day. During that time, our Production Manager attends a lot of planning meetings with all the key stakeholders. 

As we get closer to the event we call on our expert team members to help with the finer details, eg:

  • Operations - securing crew and gear

  • Engineers - for their expertise/advice on set-up

  • Vision gurus - set up schematics and equipment advice

  • Lighting experts - design/ schematics (start from August too!)

  • Vision Operators - creative planning/preparation


How many team members were involved (from start to finish)?

There was one Production Manager taking charge in the lead up, constantly consulting with the AV and lighting designers. Then, come event day, our team swells and it’s all hands on deck. This is when the experts take over and plans get put into action! 

On the night, our team included; 1 Production manager, 2 vision operators, 1 FOH Audio, 1 Audio monitor, 2 stage hands, 1 lighting Operator, 4 cameramen and 1 follow spot operator. So, 13 in total.

What elements of the event were CVA responsible for?

Sound, Lighting, Vision, Broadcast video, Streaming, Façade lighting.

What is the biggest challenge when working on a public event like this?

Public safety, budget (balancing client budget with creating the WOW factor needed…hint, its about the team!) AND dealing with outdoor events in Melbourne’s weather (this year there was a combo of extreme heat and rain – challenging!)

What design element within the production are you most proud of?

The LED backdrop!

We set up LED screens behind the performers and either side of the stage. This allowed us to create an exciting visual display to enhance the vibe and audience experience. 

In addition, there was a large LED screen above the stage which had a live camera feed – this allowed people further away from the stage to see what was happening and remain part of the action. 

Basically, by adding visuals to a stage it increases the overall ambience of the performance by supporting the act and boosting the energy projected to the audience. The live feed camera LED screen also increases the audience members’ experience by allowing those that are not within naked eye viewing of the stage to get a good look at what’s going on. Meaning that MORE people can enjoy the performance on the one stage without having to create alternative stages with more performances. Overall, this creates a more unified atmosphere from the crowd.


Did you use any super cool technology?

We used our new media server which allowed us to have five different arrangements for the screens. We think that’s super cool!

How long does set-up and pack down take?

It takes 3.5 days to set-up the event and about 10 hours, with 8 crew to take it all away.

Did the team manage to enjoy the night while they were working?

Absolutely! The atmosphere was incredible and the buzz of having your hard work come to life sure feels great!

What feedback did you get from your client?

“A tremendous night” – CEO, Federation Square  

“Sincere congratulations and hearty respect… Whatever turbulence may be present in our world right now, it is nights like this, in places like this, that remind you that what unites us all is much stronger than what divides us.”  General Manager Program and Events, Federation Square


Having kicked off the year with a bang, what are CVA’s goals for 2017? 


We want to add even more LED and lighting stock to our arsenal, streamline processes using review information and feedback, increase business networks and grow baby, grow!



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