NJCU Athletic Awards 2019: How We Transformed a Gym for an Awards Gala

Lots of universities hold their student award ceremonies on campus in a theater or gymnasium. Event organizers will often dress up these on-campus spaces with a few balloons, banners, and plastic tablecloths in the university colors. At NJCU, they fully transformed their gym into a sophisticated event venue worthy of any awards gala.

On May 6, 2019, New Jersey City University held its annual Athletic Awards Banquet. This "feel good" event celebrates a growing community of student athletes, administrators, and families, and highlights the athletic achievements of NJCU's Gothic Knights.

The banquet was held in the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) -- but you'd never have known it. This 2,000-seat sports arena is normally set up for NJCU basketball and volleyball games. On the night of the Awards Banquet, though, it was nearly unrecognizable as a gymnasium.

Hurricane Productions and its sister brands MediaCutlet and CaneAV worked with NJCU's Athletic Administration to transform the facility into a fully functional ceremony space, complete with a custom-designed stage, lighting, and audio services.

Stage design

We set up a temporary stage in the JMAC arena as the focal point of the banquet. Black pipe-and-drape panels extended across most of the gymnasium floor to create the back of the stage. We also carefully arranged white cardboard boxes along the back "wall" for a unique visual element, as well as to pick up the stage lighting.

Lighting and effects

Every stage setup needs lighting, so we lined the front and back of the stage with uplighting to make sure everything and everyone on stage looked great. The green lighting matched NJCU's primary school color, and our synced lighting created an exciting atmosphere for the presenters and attendees.

Audio equipment

Hurricane provided a full audio system for the banquet, including speakers and microphones for the presenters.

With our extensive experience designing athletic events for Rutgers University, we felt confident in our ability to bring NJCU's vision for the Awards Banquet to life. Check out the finished product, including "before" shots, in our video from the event:

Looking to transform a space for a special occasion? Get in touch or fill out the form below to talk about how we can help you create the perfect event.

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Create a Unique Branded Experience with a Pop Up Instagram Museum by Hurricane Productions

Instagrammable experiences are all the rage right now. In the last year alone, made for Instagram exhibits like the Museum of Ice Cream, The Color Factory, and the Museum of Selfies have launched in cities around the world.

With more than 110 million Instagram users in the U.S. alone, it's no surprise that there's been a surge in "Instagrammable events" – unique, ephemeral, pop up Instagram experiences where art and technology merge. But what are they, and how do you make one happen? Here's what you need to know about this growing – and highly effective – branding strategy.

What are Instagram museums?

scarlet mansion ball pit room

Pop up Instagram museums aren't museums in the traditional sense. They're temporary exhibits, usually constructed in a multi-purpose event space, that provide a cool experience with amazing photo opportunities for attendees. For the organizations that host these Instagrammable events, there's huge potential for increased brand awareness and exposure on social media.

The concept of a temporary art exhibit isn't necessarily new. Established galleries have always had limited-run artist exhibits, and the first true pop up exhibitions appeared in New York City in the late 2000s. These events are designed to create a sense of exclusivity and urgency; they encourage people to come visit while it's there, because after the exhibit's short run, they won't get the chance to see it again – at least not in its current form.

However, the difference between regular pop up events and Instagrammable pop ups is that the latter is specifically designed to be shared on social media. Every detail of a pop-up Instagram museum is created to be photographed, from the room layout to the color scheme to the lighting. Attendees can then snap and share their selfie experiences using the event's branded hashtag.

What's the point of a pop up Instagram event, anyway?

If you've ever heard the phrase, "do it for the 'gram," then you might understand the draw of an Instagrammable event. As The Daily Beast puts it, these exhibits "promise an experience you can share online, which is increasingly the only experience that matters." No matter what your feelings about modern social media culture, there's no denying that Instagram-worthy backdrops combined with a catchy hashtag can produce a whole lot of shareable user generated content for a brand.

If you're not familiar with the concept of user generated content (UGC), think about how often you see a brand share photos, tagged posts, and positive feedback from real-life satisfied customers. These posts have become a mainstay of branded social media content, as they provide authentic "social proof" of a brand's popularity and performance. A few good reasons to pay attention to UGC, according to AdWeek:

  • People want to feel a "real human connection" to your brand before buying from you, and UGC accomplishes that by highlighting actual customers.
  • Customers who share good experiences with your brand often encourage referrals from their network, which helps you expand your customer base.
  • It cheaply and effectively boosts your brand's credibility.
  • It gives you tons of unique content to use in future ad campaigns.
  • It enhances your brand experience.

It often takes time and effort to curate UGC organically, but by hosting an entire event dedicated to Instagramming, you'll get a wealth of photos in just a few hours, all branded with your unique hashtag and shared with your attendees' followers.

Pop up Instagram museum success story: Scarlet Mansion at Rutgers University

scarlet mansion gobo light design

Hurricane Productions recently had the opportunity to help Rutgers University create a pop up museum called Scarlet Mansion, in honor of the school's official color (red) and its Scarlet Knight mascot. RU wanted to give its students a cool place to take Instagrams, and they enlisted Hurricane to make it happen.

Hosted by the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA), Scarlet Mansion was open for a single weekend at The Rutgers Club house on College Avenue. Each of the five rooms was decked out in red and offered different themed experiences for attendees.

"There was a ball pit room, a 'senses room' with walls that you could touch, a light up dance floor, a snack room with strawberries hanging from the ceiling, and a 'secret garden' room, which made students feel like they were in a garden," explained Hurricane's general manager, Chelsea Rutkowski.

To bring RUPA's Scarlet Mansion room ideas to life, Hurricane provided an LED dance floor, lighting, and DJ services. We also designed a custom Scarlet Mansion gobo to project on the walls. By the end of the weekend, there were 115 posts associated with the hashtag #ScarletMansion.

How do I create an Instagrammable event?

Whether you're trying to raise awareness for a cause, promote your business, or create a fun "selfie factory" at a conference or event, an Instagram museum can be a great way to generate a lot of brand engagement in a short period of time.

It's important to find an event venue that's relatively customizable. Look for somewhere with a lot of open space and blank walls that will allow you to use projection technology and lighting to truly transform the area. You'll also want to come up with unique interactive room concepts, like Scarlet Mansion's ball pit room and senses room. A cool backdrop and atmosphere is essential, but your attendees will also want something fun to do besides take photos!

Finally, come up with a unique event hashtag that suits your brand. Promote it on social media ahead of time so people know when and where your event is – and be sure to let them know they'll get an opportunity to snap selfies they can't take anywhere else.

With the right resources and a great partner to help you execute your ideas, the only limit to your pop up Instagram exhibit is your imagination.

Interested in creating your own pop up Instagram event? Get in touch with Hurricane Productions and let's chat about your vision.

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Tell us a little about your vision for your event and we'll help you make it happen.

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4 Historic Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Venues

Forget winter -- Wedding Season is coming.

New Jersey is home to some impressive historic castles and mansions, so why not host your wedding at a venue that looks like it's straight out of Westeros?

Millions of Game of Thrones fans are currently following the eighth and final season of the popular HBO series.

If you and your fiance are among them, you might be thinking about how to incorporate elements of the show into your big day.

While you can certainly add other GoT details to your invitations, attire, and decor, the right location can create an atmosphere that truly brings the Seven Kingdoms to life. Check out a few of our favorite New Jersey Game of Thrones inspired venues perfect for any wedding.

 

Waterloo Village

game of thrones wedding venue nj, waterloo village

New Jersey state park or the Westeros countryside? Waterloo Village, a restored 19th century canal town in Stanhope, is a perennially popular wedding venue. This little slice of history is nestled in Allamuchy Mountain State Park along the Musconetong River.

Its gorgeous natural backdrops are reminiscent of some of GoT's filming locations in Iceland and Croatia. Waterloo also offers tons of amazing photo opps in front of its quaint historical mansions, stone buildings, and bridges.

Castle Wedding Venues in NJ

The Legacy Castle

game of thrones inspired wedding venue, the legacy castle nj

The Legacy Castle has a lot in common with Riverrun, the ancestral castle of House Tully. Surrounded by two lakes and the Pompton River, this Pompton Plains venue boasts beautiful water views and decor fit for royalty.

Beyond the castle's impressive entrance way and white stone exterior, you'll find exquisite details from a bygone era: wrought iron railings with gold leaf detailing, chandeliers with cascading crystals, multiple indoor and outdoor fountains, and a beautifully landscaped courtyard.

Epic Wedding Venues in New Jersey

Lambert's Castle

lambert's castle, game of thrones wedding nj

The aptly named Red Keep in King's Landing is built of red stones and sits atop a hill, just like Lambert's Castle. This museum and library is located on Garret Mountain and overlooks the city of Paterson. Owned and maintained by the Passaic County Historical Society, the castle dates back to the 1890s, when it served as the residence of silk industry mogul Catholina Lambert.

Unfortunately, Lambert's Castle recently stopped renting out its facilities for private parties. However, if you're getting married nearby, you can still get a permit to take wedding photos and video inside the castle and on its gorgeous historical grounds.

Castle Weddings in NJ

Pleasantdale Chateau

weddings like game of thrones in new jersey, Pleasantdale chateau nj

Like House Martell's Dorne region, Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange was, in part, inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain. The entrance hall of the venue's magnificent Fountain Room is lined with colorful,17th-century Portuguese tiles imported directly from Seville.

The exterior of the Chateau was modeled after Norman architecture, a popular style of many 11th and 12th century European castles and cathedrals. Pleasantdale Chateau also features lush greenery and landscaping, not unlike the Water Gardens of Dorne.

NJ Castle Wedding Venue

Already found your wedding venue? Give Hurricane Productions a call to book your wedding entertainment and media services. Visit our pricing page or request a quote for more details on our all-inclusive packages.

Celebrate Your Sweet 16 in Style at the Island Chateau

Staten Island is an ideal location for any event with guests coming from both New Jersey and New York. If you're looking for an easily accessible Sweet 16 venue with elegance, charm, and sophistication, the Island Chateau is an excellent choice.

Located just off the Staten Island Expressway, the Island Chateau sits in the quiet community of Grasmere. This venue only hosts one event at a time, so the Island Chateau's staff will be entirely dedicated to your daughter's celebration.

When guests walk through the arched French doors, they'll be greeted by an impressive mosaic tile design. The carpeted grand staircase leads up to a second-floor balcony that's perfect for photo opportunities.

The Island Chateau's Banquet Room can be configured to accommodate small, intimate parties of 50, large celebrations of up to 220, and everything in between. It features large, draped windows and crystal sconces all along the walls, and exquisite chandeliers overhead. The room's pale walls are perfect for uplighting and Name in Lights designs to match her color scheme.

The oversized white tile dance floor is the focal point of the room, so all eyes will be on your daughter as she does her candle ceremony or special dances. The Island Chateau can also provide a throne-style white chair trimmed with gold, so your guest of honor can truly feel like a princess.

Planning a Sweet 16? Hurricane Productions offers several all-inclusive media and entertainment packages to suit your needs. Let us help you and your daughter plan the perfect birthday celebration. Request a quote or check out our pricing page for more details.

Book Last Minute, Raw Footage and Edit Later

There's no way around it: Weddings can get very expensive, very quickly. After you've booked your venue, officiant, photographer, DJ, florist, and countless other vendors, you might not have a lot of money left over to spend on video. You might not even be sure you want a wedding videographer at all.

But Hurricane Productions isn't your average wedding videographer. We offer videography services and options you won't find at most other companies. Here are three things that make us a great choice for couples on the fence about video:

You can book us at the last minute.

Couples who know they want video typically book their wedding videographer early on in the planning process. But some couples aren't sure if they want to invest in video until a few months before the big day -- and they're often disappointed to learn that most local videographers have already been booked for their date.

Because Hurricane Productions works with nearly a dozen photo and video professionals, you can come to us 30 to 60 days before your wedding date, and we'll have someone available to shoot your event. Rachel and Steve Chassen hired Hurricane just three weeks before their wedding, and we were able to provide them with a videographer to capture raw footage of their day.

We offer raw footage packages for couples on a budget.

Our affordable wedding video editing packages start at just $1,295 for six hours of coverage and a three to five-minute highlight video. But if that's still outside your budget, you don't have to pay for edits at all.

We offer couples the option to just hire a wedding videographer to shoot and deliver raw footage of your day. This means you'll get the unedited clips of your wedding events -- ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception -- directly from the videographer's camera, delivered via our secure cloud server. From there, you can choose to keep the clips as they are or edit them together to make your own wedding video.

Not sure what raw footage entails? Learn more about it here.

We store your footage for up to a year (in case you change your mind).

A highlight edit of you raw footage can make a great holiday gift, or one year anniversary gift to each other!

Picture this : Your own private Dropbox folder. Access anytime for up to one year.

What happens if you get our raw footage from your wedding and now wish you'd gotten an edit package? It's not too late -- Hurricane Productions has worked with plenty of couples to incorporate video edits after their wedding day. We store your footage on our secure cloud server for up to one year after your event. That means you have a full 365 days to decide whether you want us to turn your clips into a beautiful, feature-length cinematic film, a short highlight video to share on social media, or both.

Jessica and Joe came back to us after their wedding to request both a highlight video and a feature-length edit:

Lisa and Jaime ordered their highlight video after their wedding day (and were absolutely thrilled with it!):

If you've already booked us to edit a highlight video for you, you can upgrade to a full cinematic edit up to year after after your wedding day, too.

So, it's OK if you want to just get raw footage. It's OK if you decide you want professional edits six months after your wedding. It's OK if you're not even sure you're ready to book a wedding videographer yet. With Hurricane's flexible options, we can accommodate any couple's needs, timeline, and budget. Get in touch and let's talk about your vision for your wedding video.

Visit our pricing page to view all of our wedding videography packages, or request a quote to discuss a custom package.

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Rylee's Sweet 16 - Razberry's Banquet Center

Rylee celebrated her Sweet 16 at Razberry's Banquet Center, an elegant Hunterdon County event venue located in Frenchtown. The ballroom was decked out in royal blue for Rylee's special night, from the table settings to the birthday girl's gorgeous gown.

Hurricane Productions provided entertainment and photography services for the evening. Our photographer, Corynn Egreczky took portraits of Rylee, her family, and her court on the grounds at Razberry's Banquet Center. The venue's gazebo and water fountain provided a beautiful backdrop for outdoor shots, while the lobby served as the perfect spot for indoor photos.

During Rylee's celebration, MC Robbie Padovano entertained the crowd with giant glow sticks and a dry ice cannon. Hurricane set up intelligent spotlighting and royal blue uplighting to match the event color scheme. We also designed a personalized graphic for Rylee and displayed it on two LED TV screens on the dance floor. As an add-on service, Rylee and her guests enjoyed the use of an attended photo booth throughout the evening.

Hurricane Productions offers all-inclusive media and entertainment packages for Sweet 16s, Quinceañeras, and Mitzvahs. Check out our pricing page for more details, or contact us to request a quote.

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