Leko Novakovic, managing director of audiovisual technology specialists Novatech Creative Event Technology, said Illuminate Adelaide is an event style that would normally fly in a team from overseas to host their signature project.
However, Illuminate Adelaide instead collaborated with South Australian family-owned Novatech together with the Canadian multimedia studio Moment Factory to present its Light Cycles experience at the Botanic Gardens.
“We worked with Illuminate Adelaide & Moment Factory to be the technical guys on the ground,” Novakovic said.
“Moment Factory provided the incredible creative design and immersive content whilst we provided all of the gear and a lot of the crew which is a very different model to what they would normally do.”
Novakovic said Illuminate Adelaide, which they also partnered with to produce numerous lighting installations and projections across the city, was a prime example of how holding events is still possible during the uncertainty of COVID and juggling lockdowns.
“It’s proved how successful events can still be,” he said.
“Having quite a number of events outdoors gave it that flexibility to have it during a COVID time and be able to function with restrictions.”
While COVID has certainly limited Novatech’s ability to deliver its audio, lighting and vision services nationally and internationally, it has created more opportunities for the company to have a local focus.
“We’ve been doing only a little interstate stuff recently but a lot of that is by choice,” Novakovic said.
“We don’t want to put our customers in a position where we can’t deliver those shows due to border restrictions; however, equally we’ve picked up a lot of work in SA for the opposite reason.
“South Australians are thinking, ‘Why risk engaging with a company from Sydney or Melbourne with the risk of lockdowns and border closures?’
“Everyone has sort of stuck to their own states a bit more.”
Novakovic, who was named in InDaily’s 40 under 40 Awards in 2018, said the environment of working in the events industry has shifted to a more supportive space.
“It’s made doing events more collaborative because we are all in it,” he said.
“Pre-COVID, it was more clinical with producers saying, ‘We want you to do X. Here’s your price. Let’s go’; whereas now it’s more, ‘How can we make this work?’
“Event producers and promoters have to think outside the square, design events with restrictions in mind, and have their own contingency plans.
“We equally have to do our bit to help by thinking how we can support them in that.”
Celebrating its 20th birthday this month, Novatech has had a strong focus on live events of all different types which, particularly in its early days, strayed from the norm.
After dipping into DJing and production in high school, Leko and his brother Milenko Novakovic decided to drop out of school and follow their passion of working in the events industry.
“We saw an opportunity in the marketplace to do cooler things than what was happening in Adelaide at the time, so we pursued it,” Leko said.
“Quite commonly, companies just stick to one sort of model where they just do corporate, or just concerts whereas we were doing everything.
“Particularly on the east coast, you’ve got a company that just does sound or lighting, whereas we were different and set out to be the company that does sound, lighting, video and rigging.”
The all-in-one appeal of Novatech gave the company an edge particularly in hosting large music festivals, with interstate interest building in its ability to provide the full service rather than engaging with separate companies for lighting and sound.
“In some cases, it was more cost-effective to hire one company purely for the time and management savings, let alone the cost accumulation,” Leko said.
However, when COVID struck last year, it hit the entire events, music and arts industry – including Novatech.
From holding approximately 1200 events a year to now a third of that amount, the diversification of the business has been a saviour for Novatech.
With experience hosting virtual and hybrid events for the last five years, COVID made them take that aspect full scale.
The company is now holding five times the number of virtual events than before.
They also developed a new technology called One System Constellation, which has added a more convenient and cost-effective virtual and hybrid capability that can be deployed on any event easily and at the last minute.
The new technology is currently used for all their virtual events and is also being shipped interstate for other companies to use.
Leko says that apart from the new technology, he does not want to stray off track from their core value of live experiences.
“We are so committed to live events and want to stay with that,” he said.
“Certainly, we’re doing some things around that virtual and hybrid space, but really we’ve been looking at the gear and technology that we own and getting ready for the rebound of live events.”
“I want us all back in a room together or in a mosh pit at a festival because there’s nothing that can compete to the live event experience.