What happens when you mix a funky location sandwiched between two of Europe’s largest brothels, a bunch of VC’s and energetic startup folks, a healthy cross section of journalists and PR and Media folks, and Heisenberg Media? The answer? Nothing short of inspirational magic, aka the European Pirate Summit.
This was the first Pirate Summit that Luca or I had attended, and it was above and beyond any conference that we’d been to before. While the Odonien did give me a bit of a KaterHolzig vibe, Cologne’s version featured fire breathing dragons, and speeches and pitches interrupted with the semi-regular passing of the Deutsche Bahn (which was often met with a hearty ARRRR!).
I found the small(ish) crowd to be just the right mix of young and old(er), startups, VCs, and digital creators. I’ve heard plenty a speaker while shooting with Heisenberg, and found the variety at Pirates to be quite impressive and inspiring. If I had to pick a “winner,” I’d say that Marco Boerries‘s talk about his career ups and downs had the audience on the edge of their seats and asking for more. Capping off a fantastic event, having dinner with our good friend Colette Ballou of Ballou PR is always a treat, and was only outdone by the spectacular burning of the man.
Having covered a number of events, I’ve seen a fair share of stunts and shows on stage, but have to admit that Thomas Offner of ProSiebenSat.1’s venture arm SevenVentures scores major points for subverting the “No Powerpoint” rule by wearing multiple stacked t-shirts and removing them one at a time. Body Point, as he referred to it, was a new one to me. Bonus points for going bare chested at the very end and concluding with, “…and that’s the naked truth.” Hats off to you sir, and only at Pirates!
Shooting at an outdoor location also presents its own set of challenges. On the upside, you’ve got plenty of natural light to illuminate the scene. The downside is that natural light is often supplemented with tungsten based lights to keep the video folks happy, and let those in the back row see the speaker. Personally, I chose my white balance based on which angle I was shooting at. One side of a speaker presented more of a tungsten hue, while certain other angles allowed for a more natural daylight setting.
Luca did an outstanding job with the event organizers portraits. Initially, we both took way more gear to Cologne than we needed, thinking about multiple flash units, softbox diffusors, sync cables, etc.. In the end, the shoot was very simple. A plain flat black wall provided the perfect backdrop, and as Luca put it, “I just went natural, and found this huge overhead softbox,” referring to the excellent diffused light that the overhead white tent was providing.
It wasn’t exactly planned, but with two shooters, Luca and I were able to effectively manage shot and publication timing. When one of us had covered both stages, we’d come back to the photo desk, unload our cards, and get to work on processing, uploading, and tagging. After two sessions, this meant that one of us could cover both stages while the other was unloading and processing. Once the upload was complete, the other would be on his way back to repeat the process. This resulted in a (semi) live coverage of the event, with the longest delay between shooting and publishing about an hour, and this was mainly due to a spotty internet upstream. Note to self: Startup company – fix the “but the internet is crap” problem at conferences – make millions.
“In a word: awesomeness. Incredibly smooth collaboration. Brilliant execution of all wishes + needs as well as executing spontaneous ideas. Independent management of facebook (uploading & tagging of photos). The Heisenberg guys come highly recommended if you want to take your event to the next level. Our likes increased by +15% in two days and are still increasing. A lot of new profile pictures are also popping up 🙂 All in all, Dan & Luca did a fantastic job and I’d not hesitate a sec to refer this amazing crew to someone else (as long as the date does not collide with Pirate -events) ;)” – Till Ohrmann, Co-Founder/CEO, The European Pirate Summit
All we can say is – thanks, and see you next year guys! It was AAAARRRRRRSOME!
Until the next shoot – Dan
For more coverage of the European Pirate Summit:
One Big Booty – Milo Yiannopoulos – The Kernel
Is the European Tech Community ready for its own Burning Man? – Liam Boogar – Rude Baguette
Startup-Radar: Drei spannende Jungunternehmen des European Pirate Summit – Lars Budde – t3n
Chasing the Gold Treasure – Stefan Gantchev – Launchub
Pirates at the European Pirate Summit again! – Startup Pirates