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  • Writer's pictureTerry Gobert

“Rapping” Up a Unique Event for a Long Time Client

When Texas Southern University (TSU) needed expert-level event production services for their Fall 2021 Commencement, they knew just who to call. Over the past 12 years TSU and Southern Sound Systems have teamed up on literally hundreds of live events. We’ve seen thousands of graduates cross beautifully-lit stages with their names displayed on giant video walls and live-stream screens for all their friends and families to see. Together we’ve dazzled and entertained Homecoming Crowds, University Lecture Attendees, and Gala Event Guests with spectacular audio, video, lighting, stage, and event production experiences.

A Southern University with a Rich History in Excellence

As one of the most premiere educational institutions in Texas, TSU knows the importance of executing only the highest-quality events. After all, a University with more than 9,000 students, 1,400 staff, 10 separate colleges, and 100 programs and concentrations has certain standards to maintain. When your alumni include U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, U.S. Congressman George “Mickey” Leland, and many other world leaders, you have to have the best quality sound, video, lighting, and staging…and event productions that proceed flawlessly.

Fall 2021 Celebrity Graduate

On December 11th, the 150-acre TSU Campus in the heart of Downtown Houston played host to thousands that came to see their friends and family members graduate. One graduate in particular attracted widespread attention from international entertainment media. Grammy Winning Rap Music Artist, 26-year-old Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, was receiving her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration.

With the likes Time Magazine and USA Today covering the graduation ceremony, TSU’s reputation was on the line more than ever. They needed someone they could trust to handle every detail of the Saturday morning event.

Southern Sound & Lighting Gets Busy

Managing the graduate announcements during the event was facilitated by MarchingOrder Virtual Ceremony Solutions (VCS). This new technology is being used at many graduation ceremonies to accurately announce and display each graduate’s name on the PA system, video screens, and live-streaming feeds.

Southern Sound & Lighting designed a seamless integration around the MarchingOrder solution that included dual LED walls, Ross Video switching, Cannon sports lenses, and Teredek Wireless video systems. D&B Audio Systems and Yamaha Digital Audio Consoles were used to produce superb-quality sound to every corner of the TSU Health & Physical Education Arena. For remote attendees around the world, audio and video from the venue was streamed using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and a live a/v feed that was accessible from the TSU commencement event website.

Live Production Support Professionals

Southern’s on-site crew of 10 event professionals, including Audio and Video Engineers, Camera Operators, LED Wall Technicians, and Project Managers handled every aspect of the complex event. Precise production timing was tested and rehearsed to assure each graduate name was announced and displayed at the exact moment they walked across the stage. As the VCS system scanned a unique code carried by each graduate, there was a set timing delay as they stepped up to the stage. This was followed by synchronized audio and “Lower Third” screen announcements of their names on the LED walls.

It’s a Rap

The event proceeded as planned. The graduates, their families and friends absolutely loved the live event. The University was extremely happy with the audience experience created by Southern Sound & Lighting. Live stream feeds broadcasted every smiling graduate’s face without a glitch and the entertainment media that was there to see Megan Thee Stallion graduate had nothing but great things to report.

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