Take your event to the next level with these tried-and-true production tips.
Live event production is our domain. It’s where we thrive. We love to put on a show and seamlessly perform all those behind-the-scenes transitions. We revel in the excitement of split decisions and take pride in making those on stage look good. Live event production is a thrilling process that always keeps us on our toes. With hundreds of successful live events under our belt, we’ve come up with the top five tips for running your best live event production.
1. Hire the right attitude.
When you’re putting on a live event, you only want to work with the best. Oftentimes, the best people to work with aren’t experts, but those who have the energy to work hard and a willingness to learn. You want someone on your production crew who’s a people person, a go-getter who’s easy to be around—someone who’s willing to go to great lengths to solve any problem, rather than a big ego who’s such an expert they’re above criticism or coaching. In the fast-paced, anything-could-happen environment of a live event, you’re going to want a good, energetic, motivated attitude. A crew with this kind of mindset can make proactive and snap decisions under pressure as well as work collaboratively like a true team when it’s needed most. Plus, you’ll love wrapping up every live event with a team of good spirits—they just make a job well done that much more rewarding.
2. Know the venue’s limitations.
Unfortunately, every venue has its limitations, and to disregard this fact would be a disappointing realization in the long run. It happens all the time in live event production—the room you think is a blank canvas or wet clay turns out to have several impassable boundaries. Our advice is to own it and work with it. Just because the venue can’t meet every need of your production dreams doesn’t mean you can’t still pull off a killer event. When you’re getting to know the venue’s limitations, preparation is critical. We’ve learned to walk through the venue well before the date of the event and ask and/or think about things like power capabilities, the smoke alarm system’s compatibility with fog, the weight capacity of the ceiling, and more. The worst thing you could do is ignore wise caution and have expectations or plans for the venue that could put you, your crew, and your audience at risk.
3. The event’s look is everything.
Do you know why they say “A picture’s worth a thousand words”? One reason might be that visuals give people the opportunity to fill in the blanks—to write additional context to the story being told. When combined with audio, visual cues can be incredibly powerful vehicles for storytelling and evoking emotion. This means that everyone from lights to cameras has to work together to make the look of the event tell the full, dynamic story. In most live events, your audience is sitting, facing a stage in the same direction. Already, you are telling them where to look. The stage’s backdrop and surrounding area should leverage both lights and video. One way to add an extra dimension to your event’s visual presentation is to incorporate motion backgrounds. When done right, motion backgrounds add subtle movement that gently complements everything else happening on and around the stage. Utilizing design elements (like your organization’s logo or your event’s theme) is another way to enhance the look of your event. Ideally, the venue should totally transform from multipurpose hall to immersive environment. When this happens, it’s a marriage of form and function so seamless that you can’t tell where one starts and the other begins.
4. Don’t let the audio hinder the visual.
Every great live event needs great audio, but audio and visual must work together in harmony. Many venues have U-shaped seating around the stage. Have you ever been to an event where your seat was practically on the side of the stage? Did you have to duck around any speakers to see the action? We believe great sound is heard, not seen, and no one in the audience should be distracted by a bulky speaker, let alone notice it. When you sit in the venue and visualize setup, look at the stage from many different vantage points. Does it look like anyone’s sight line would be hindered?
5. Reward your crew with good food.
Here’s a few things we know about food: 1. Food is fuel. Definitely serve food for your crew and definitely give them caffeine options. Both will help them make it through a long day of work. 2. Food brings people together. In an environment where your crew might be stretched across the venue, a makeshift breakroom will give them the chance to socialize for a few minutes. 3. Food makes happy, full bellies. And when your crew is happy and full, they’re energized to get the job done. But seriously, choose your caterer wisely. No one wants dry scones and cardboard-flavored coffee. Splurge a little and get quality catering. Your crew will love you. Thank us later.
At Media Images, we’re big on live events. Are you looking for a talented production crew to put on your next live event? Drop us a line—don’t be shy! As masters of our craft, we’re excited to hear about your event and help you make it your best one yet.