TEDxCesena – Maurizio Berti – Organizer

In Collaborating by Mark Sylvester

The Hack: How to get one Mac to do the work of three during the show


Maurizio Berti from TEDxCesena produces an event that highlights his area and emphasizes the hospitality that the region is so well known for. His hidden talent is attracting speakers using food, in the form of Piadina’s, as a compelling reason to come to Cesena, located on the eastern edge of Italy near San Marino.

Maurizio started by helping another team (Bologna) which have been doing events with close to 1000 people, then in 2015 he applied for his own TEDx. The first event was 100 people (2016) and then they scaled up to 400 people (2017). From 2010-2015 he helped TEDx’s with 1000+ people (TEDxBologna, TEDxCNR , and more), as a supervisor of the audio video experience. Read his detailed hack, #10 in the Lightning Round below, to learn why he’s in such demand.

He is a part of an Italian cohort of TEDx organizers that support each other through workshops, attending events and sharing camaraderie. With over 30 TEDx events in Italy each year, their annual gatherings are quite spirited.

He’s excited about doing TEDx Adventures this coming year in addition to Salons to continue to grow the local TEDx community.

I’d like to do a TEDx on the beach.” Maurizio Berti, Organizer, TEDxCesena

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    Maurizio started watching TED videos in 2010 and began working in 2012 as the AV Supervisor at TEDxBologna, 60 miles away from Cesena.

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    He helped organize 10+ TEDx events other than TEDxCesena and in 2015 he became a licensee. This year they did their second event in February, Handle with Care, and their next event will be towards the end of 2018.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    They are located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, namely in the Romagna area that is famous for their hospitality. This means that they open up the event to TEDx organizers (24 attended this year) and go out of their way to be great hosts to invited speakers and guests.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    He says it’s easy to do the producing, that’s his background. He loves collaborating and is working on becoming a great curator. He says that one of the things he enjoys most is collaborating with other TEDx organizers.

  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    The overwhelming response from the community. TEDxCesena event in 2016 sold out in one hour. He was also surprised when he got a positive reaction from the other Italian TEDx organizers when he invited them to attend.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    Finding local speakers. They are close to Bologna, which has a University, but it also has it’s own TEDx. They have to fish outside the area for great ideas.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?

    For first-timers, you can do a lot with much less money than you think. For veterans, make connections with other organizers and learn from them, remembering that a good idea can come from anywhere.

  • Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?

    TEDxAdventures and Salons, and taking the time to breathe a bit before next Fall’s event.

  • What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?

    Any TEDx in India. He also wants to go to TEDxMontreal (Hey Katy, send him an invite.) And Grace, he’d love to attend TEDxMontrealWomen too.

  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    How to get one Mac to do the work of 3 during the show. Maurizio wrote in after the interview to give us a detailed explanation of how to make this hack happen. “It’s a hack for new organizers/or low budget events who typically have to deal with a tight budget and would like to deliver a great video experience. Because probably the real “hack” is that the outcome is professional compared to the complexity and the cost.It’s a particular setup of the Mac that allows you to have smooth transitions from one presentation to another or a video etc. almost seamlessly, while your TEDx logo is on the background. And you can do it with one Mac, so you see it’s very cheap. (never tried with a Pc)If you have a lot of budget, normally you’ll have a production crew with all the fancy stuff, and you can achieve it with two macs/pcs + 1 video mixer/video switcher (three pieces of equipment). Mixers and switchers are typical of large budget productions (also because they imply the presence of additional paid personnel to be operated). Technically, if you use one mixer + two Macs to switch between presentations + the third Mac only to screen the background that is three Macs. And the interesting thing is that since it requires only one Mac, you can set it up also for small low budget TEDx Salons since it’s very affordable. So if you want to try “the hack,” you have to set up the Mac to use multiple displays when you connect it to the projector. This way you have your normal desktop on your laptop LCD screen (Desktop A) and a separate desktop sent through the external output to the projector (Desktop B). On Desktop B you set up your logo as a background, and this is what your audience is going to see for the length of your event, while on Desktop A you will keep powerpoint, keynote, your presentations, files, videos, etc. and they will only be visible to you.Also prepare your presentations so that the first slide is identical to the background image that you set up on Desktop B. When you start playing a presentation your audience will only see that the stage screen goes to black for a fraction of second and that goes back to the usual logo background right away and then on with the speaker slides. And I can assure you the final effect is worth it.”

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