Common Live Event Production Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

by Dave Toole  7 December 2016

Every successful event involves making a plan, then making a backup plan, and then making yet another backup plan. If you’ve ever planned a live event, you know that anything can go wrong at any point in the event. The only way to avoid ongoing errors throughout the event is to plan every element of the event ahead of time and have multiple backup options in place. The following details three of the most common live event production mistakes and how to avoid them to ensure smooth events with minimal technical errors and other issues.

Poor communication

Event planners must remain in close communication to maintain proper accountability. When you’re in the middle of producing a live event and suddenly, you don’t know who has which resources, how a certain session is being managed, or where a set of volunteers is planning to regroup, it’s already too late to solve the problem before something goes wrong. Before your event begins, gather the staff and hold a brief meeting to guarantee that everyone is on the same page. The meeting should last no more than 20 minutes and should include event technologists, event management, talent, and any venue administrators. This gathering gives everyone an opportunity to put faces to names, review specific responsibilities and guidelines, and assign points of contact.

Lack of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a requirement for all modern live events. If a venue doesn’t have Wi-Fi, you’ll need to find another location. Depending on the size and scope of the venue, there may be as many as 100 wireless audio and intercom channels is a single venue. You may also be competing with TV and public safety communications. It’s very easy for frequencies to conflict with one another, resulting in connection problems and equipment failure. Your live event staff should include at least one experienced radio frequency (RF) technician who is responsible for setting up, scanning, monitoring, coordinating and locating the frequencies for all of the event equipment. Many event planners rely on the venue technicians who may not be familiar with the gear required for a specific event, increasing the risk of errors. Employ the right talent and use the proper tools, such as cutting edge spectrum analyzers and frequency management software.

Malfunctioning equipment

When you’re not prepared to handle equipment failure, a live event can go downhill very quickly. Even when you test all the equipment beforehand, you need to be prepared for a failure at any point. A strategic event plan for troubleshooting equipment issues should include dual redundant power supplies, battery backups, spare equipment, and redundant live backups of critical equipment. Consider planning contingencies with vendors and securing backup vendors for all necessary services as well so all your bases are covered. The key element to avoiding common live event production mistakes is proper planning and ample backups. Keep trusted vendors on emergency retainer, and put your tech team in touch with venue administrators as early in the planning process as possible. During the event, keep your event producers informed so they’re aware of any changes that occur and technical challenges that arise as well as the ongoing allocation of resources and responsibilities.

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