The American magician for celebrations
Hello Chris! Can you tell us your background?
Hello! I started a DJ activity in 2008 and I had several jobs related to my training as an automotive restoration technician. When I was working in the racing industry, more and more opportunities were rising so I decided to become a full-time DJ in 2010. At this time, my dream was to be a world traveling famous DJ and now, I had twin boys last November so I’m pretty sure it went out the window!
How did you become both DJ and MC (Master of Ceremonies)?
I spent many years training with skilled people and I quickly wanted to add something that would kind of set me apart from others. I believe in animation to improve the quality of the event and lights to transform the ambiance of the venue.
I have been wanting to work in the wedding industry since day 1, to be dedicated in the entertainment of guests and create amazing stage design to arouse maximum emotions. When people go to a wedding, they’re going to remember just a few things, generally the food, the music and how the bride looked. And with my work, the show blows them away and it leaves a really lasting impression! I add an extra thing to the list, this extra bit of wow factor, to make it happen:) Being both DJ and MC is very positive for other areas too, like birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs, corporate events and large-scale events like festivals.
Which tools did you use to start your lighting work?
I started with projections of flat monograms and I was paying quite a lot of money just to have a laser-cut disc made, to put in an old-school gobo projector. Then, I discovered HeavyM and it totally changed my way of working and my possibilities!
Now, I can combine signs and symbols with pictures, videos, all sorts of animations and special effects, to create a whole atmosphere where it’s synchronizing with the music. 90% of the time, I do the music and mapping all together on the venues. It’s been a blessing to me because my clients just absolutely love it. There are not a lot of people or companies that are doing projection mapping on a small scale like I am, so it helps me to emphasize my signature. Video mapping has brought a strong added value to my profile and I am currently gaining some momentum in my area!
Can you explain us your show production method?
I always talk a lot with my clients, well before, to prepare the best music selection and collect the visual material to think about the atmosphere I will produce on the venue. With HeavyM, I don’t need a long preparation to create a video mapping.
When it isn’t prepared, it takes me about 30 minutes to set it up on the spot: I build a stand with a basic tripod, I just fix the projectors on it, run my cables over to my tech table and then I go at it with the design. I have basically my canvas right in front of me, I go at the drawing tools so easily, to come up with a fast-paced design. If my design is already made, I need less than 20 minutes: I just plug it in and adjust it to the parameters of the projection surface.
What are the main advantages of HeavyM for you?
There are plenty!
First, in this market full of millennials, it is getting increasingly more difficult to capture the eye of prospects. With the help of HeavyM, I keep their attention on my services, as if I had the best toy in the sandbox. Some events request a very customized atmosphere, in addition to a great musical performance. Now I can create a powerful and unique visual animation, very high-tech and sized to fit any venue!
With video mapping, I can personalize each event with an amazing setting, created on the fly. And emotional animations always make a splash! With HeavyM, I can just drag and drop into the software pictures, videos, symbols… There is also a large library of ready-to-use effects. I can enhance the contents or choose to play only with the effects, in either case, it sets the drawing automatically in motion.
It frees up a lot of mental use! When you have to deal with everything at the same time, the less you have to think about how to use the tool, the better it is.
Then, HeavyM is sound analysis and reactive, this multi-tasking is probably the best part of it! it’s very intuitive, all quite straightforward. I can have two computers with HeavyM Live running, my Serato DJ software, with a bunch of different projectors everywhere, and make it work all flawlessly together!
And since you started this activity, do you see more outlets in your market?
We are few to do projection mapping on a small scale like I do with HeavyM. How I am using it in every venue calls a new field of action and realization. My target this year is to develop this technology to my corporate clients by showing them how it can highlight their brand and I have several examples from now on. In 2017, 80% of my clients chose my music & visual package which is 15 to 25% more expensive. I think I will be able to increase my turnover from 20%.
People are seeing what I am doing with my events and are very interested. They tend to ask how much I offer the service for rather than asking how to do it themselves. Projection mapping is nothing new, Disney came up with it years ago. How I am using it in small venues, how most all of HeavyM users are using it, is creating what I would call a new field of action. A new field of realization really.
You recently produced a show for a networking event for Chicago Event Producers, can you tell us more about it?
My business partner Rick had made a fantastic connection with a few key players in the Chicago entertainment industry, who wanted us to do something totally different from any other event they have ever thrown. We decided to use HeavyM for this. We used every effect HeavyM had to offer on two computers, one ran a 12k projector and the other ran two 7k projectors. What was really helpful for myself and the other people putting this event together was that I was able to use HeavyM in the planning stages! I didn’t have time to create 3D renderings for our vision so I made a quick cardboard model of the room and projected into it, all on my dining room table! This was great for getting everyone on the same page. We provided entertainment and ambient lighting along with the projection mapping. The outcome was stunning and our client was extremely happy! HeavyM technology was certainly front and center in taking this event to the next level.
Do you have projects you’d like to share with us?
I do! Please check me out on Instagram DJChrisHodson.
I post a lot of my mini projects on there along with cute photos of my twin baby boys.
I’m really excited to see what is in store with the projection mapping side of my business. You can for sure expect to see my productions get bigger and more complex. I have been so inspired by the art installations I have seen from other HeavyM users that it has pushed me to learn how to create better custom content and to think outside of the box when projecting it.
You can expect to see some very creative work from me this year!
Chris uses HeavyM Live to make every special days fun and memorable !