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January 4, 2017 Kim Sertich

Top Tips for Running Successful Live Audio Event

Spectrum Video Fiesta Bowl Media Audio

If you turn on any sports channel or local news station during bowl game weeks, you’ll see the press conferences, coach’s remarks and player interviews. And, unless there is a noticeable glitch, you don’t give the prep work that goes into the media events a second thought.

But, companies like Spectrum Video, which provide lighting and sound services, are a vital part to the success of the bowl game experience.

Setting up hotel ballrooms and stadium press conference rooms for any large event can be complicated and requires plenty of planning including studying room diagrams, lighting schematics and audio flow charts. This year, with an 11-person crew Spectrum Video laid more than 3,500 feet of lighting and audio cable, ground mounted five trusses with stage lights, prepped 13 hard wired and wireless mics and hung 20 panels of pipe and drape.

To add to the complexity, we provided separate press pool microphone boxes for players and coaches at multiple interview stations. And, we sent a separate feed to the stenographer who indicated in real time which mics she needed independently as the interviews were happening.

So, what are the tips to make everything run smoothly?

Diagrams, Schematics and Flow Charts

  • Get room diagrams from the hotel as early as possible so you can start planning your equipment and crew needs and drawing up schematics and flow charts.

Pipe and Drape

  • Communicate with the client to provide fabric banners vs vinyl to hang over the black drape. Fabric looks better because there is less light reflection thus absorbing the camera flash, will show less wrinkles and hangs more evenly.
  • Have plenty of metal “S” hooks on hand that are wide enough to fit over the pipe to hang the client banners.
  • Have a plan in place to stretch out the bottom of the banners if needed for a more taut look. A bottom pole pocket and wood dowel will also add weight to the banner for a smoother look.

XLR Cables

  • Have more cable than you think you will need on hand in case additional audio is requested on site.
  • When laying the cable, ensure you are not placing it near anything that will interfere with your audio, such as your light truss bases, which might create a buzz in the feed.
  • Plan for plenty of manpower to lay the cable. For the recent bowl games we worked, it took a full day to lay cable.
  • As obvious as it sounds, make sure to use cable trays across the doorways to cover XLR and power cables and tape down all the cables in other areas.

Microphones

  • Have new batteries in your wireless mics and extra batteries on hand.
  • It’s always good to have a back-up wireless mic ready to go in case someone jumps on your frequency at the last minute.

Audio Board/Press Mult Box

  • Hire a skilled sound engineer to operator the audio mixer. There are numerous audio configurations needed for multi-feed events and the engineer needs to be familiar with anything and everything that can be thrown at them.
  • Make sure you have enough outputs for all the broadcast media attending and that you have an audio splitter looped in the line for additional needs.

Lighting

  • It’s important to work with the client and their budget to decide if you will have rigged or ground mounted lighting. Ground lighting can save money.
  • A good rule for how many lights you need, is one light per person being interviewed at a time.
  • Make sure all of the lights are on dimmers so you can control the brightness.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.

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