Anyone who’s thrown even a birthday party or tried to put together a group project at school can tell you that throwing even the simplest event can prove to be a challenging task, and delegating roles makes it even more difficult. Multiple that by hundreds, if not thousands of people; with advanced video equipment, unique technology needs, and corporate executives – and there’s a bit of a mess to be untangled.
One of the questions we receive often when producing live events is “what do all these people on your team even do?!?” - and in fairness, it’s a valid concern, to a point. After all, an event is a significant cost, and labor is a huge part of that cost. With the amount of technology we have on a typical laptop, you might think to yourself – “well, why can’t I just took up my laptop to an HDMI cable and project to a screen, and hook the microphone to the PA and be done with it?”.
You certainly can do that – just like how you can plug in an iPod and cook some food for your wedding instead of hiring a DJ and caterer – but when it comes to an large, notable event, professionals ensure that everything goes smoothly so that you can focus on gaining a takeaway from your event. Here’s what the professionals on our team do:
- A1 is the head engineer, and behind the main sound mixing console for the event. This is the guy who makes sure everything sounds perfect and oversees all audio-related aspects of your event.
- A2 is an assistant sound engineer, and not always required. However, if you have a lot of speakers at your event or a complicated audio setup, the A2 ensures the head engineer can stay at his console and oversee instead of running around fixing minor issues.
- Systems Tech compliment the audio engineers by handling things like microphone frequency, communication systems, and other tasks so that the A1 and A2 can stay focused on production.
You have the Engineer-In-Charge overseeing audio and video, however, dealing with video routing, presets, and switch-outs is a lot for one person to handle. This is where V2’s come into play – assistant engineers that are specialized in video production.
- Tape Op/Plaback Op – These V2’s ensure the correct videos are queued throughout the event, that transitions fire off seamlessly, and there’s a backup sequence in case of trouble.
- Record Op – This is arguably one of the most important positions at a live event – this person ensures the right feeds are going to digital storage, checking video and sound quality in real-time ensuring that the recording of your event is high-quality.
- Camera Director – The Camera Director handles talking to the camera operators, directing shots and cueing them to the EIC as necessary.
- Most events have a Lighting Designer / Board Operator who handles the lighting throughout the event. Complimenting them is a Master Electrician. The Master Electrician is also in charge of making sure the crew follows the LD’s instrument schedule. The instrument schedule shows which fixtures go where and how they are being addressed (i.e. which DMX channel they’re on)
- When it comes to stage and content management, many event organizers ask “why do I need a person for that? That’s my job!” – however, in reality, event organizers are being pulled in many directions, greeting guests, running around checking on all these other roles – and that’s where the value of a Stage Manager, Content Wrangler, and Technical Director come into play. These professionals make sure the right people go on stage at the right times, and making sure the crew is following the show flow and event schedule
There’s a lot going on in a live event – far more than meets the eyes. To get that picture-perfect scene of a cheering audience, large video board and the right content; you need people managing every aspect of the event from power supplies to ensuring microphones are at the right level. All of these roles exist for one reason – allowing you and your team to focus on connecting with an audience, instead of being forced to run around hooking up cables. These professionals prevent miscues, insuring that your event goes off without a hitch.