Earlier this year, in the swirl of pole competitors, judges, spectators and pole-ebrities partying it up after a competition, Joe and I found ourselves chatting with Bayleigh Pettigrew about a new pole competition project she was working on with BeSpun instructor and Bendability Fitness guru Amy Guion. "It's really exciting! We just got fliers printed up! Take a couple!" She told us about trying to create just the right logo and find just the right printer and make everything perfect so they could hand out truly professional fliers. We took a couple and checked out the glossy, heavyweight cards bearing the logo for Pacific Pole Championships, scheduled for May 2012.
I had met Bayleigh at the old BeSpun location the previous year, and we shared a pole during a class. She was recovering from an injury and I was struggling to escape from a metal allergy to chrome. I was drifting away from my former "home" studio, looking for a new community. Bayleigh was a friendly face, quick to laugh, happy to share a pole. Although she wasn't one of the big BeSpun names, I noticed that every student and instructor greeted her warmly. We had just met but I saw that clearly Bayleigh was an underground force in the LA pole community.
Back to the party. She told us more about the Pacific Pole Championship that she and Amy had planned, and how they wanted to make it something much bigger than just another competition. "We want it to be something anyone can enter, at any level, any style. It's going to be totally professional. We're putting so much into making this all happen!" The little flier cards were beautiful, and although the event was still in the planning stages according to Bayleigh, I never would have known from looking at the card. She said they wanted Alloy to be the official photographers. Sweet! We were really excited.
Amy and Bayleigh on their concept, in their own words, courtsey of Pole World News:
Pacific Pole Championships arrived in May and flew by in a whirlwind. We brought along two assistants, Conner and Elric, made a big black backdrop for the stage, sat on top of a ladder for all ten hours of the event and did our best to capture the brilliance we saw onstage. We had some hiccups - software glitches, last-minute rushing to the store for faster cards, new equipment to manage - but we came out the end with great results and no major problems. Success!
More photos on PSO's Facebook page.
In the next few months, we listened as competitor and audience feedback came in. It was overwhelmingly positive for the event overall, and competitors definitely noticed the hard work Amy and Bayleigh had put in to the rigging, venue, and competitor experience. The detail that we had seen them put into something as small as that little flier showed up in every part of the event production. We were impressed too! Following that response, Amy and Bayleigh formally launched Pole Sport Organization and started planning five more events across the nation. Our job just got a lot bigger! The next event was Southern Pole Championships in Houston. Ready... go!
We started planning right away, and looked back at our customer feedback. It was great, but some competitors asked for video coverage that was closer, more dynamic, and higher resolution (our video was 720 minimum). We wanted to eliminate all the hiccups from the previous competition. So we invested in new gear (a pan-head tripod to allow us to smoothly follow the dancer around the stage, a more powerful computer to speed editing, new audio recorders for crystal-clear sound) and dove deeper into learning our video software (for a faster shoot-to-delivery time).
(We just shot a promo/behind the scenes video at a recent BeSpun shoot using the gear - check it out here!)
We'll be driving the 30 hours to Houston to save on airline costs - it's about half the cost to drive ourselves and all our gear vs. flying. Wednesday morning we will pack the car and head out, so we can be there by Thursday night and have Friday to set up, tour the venue, do some pre-production. What a crazy week it will be.
But we're super excited to be able to deliver beautiful, full-HD 1080p video with great audio and bright, clear still images in even less time. We're working on providing the kind of coverage that comes out of Pole Art or USPDF. The best part about it is that even the newbies competing at Southern Pole will have professional coverage of their performances. And as a dancer, I know exactly how much that can mean to you.
See you all there!