Things that are often forgotten at productions
What are things always forgotten at productions or an afterthought? Tally, talkback, recordings…— Geert Verhoeff (@gjverhoeff) November 3, 2022
Interested what other people experience.
Asked the question on Twitter: What are things always forgotten at productions or an afterthought? Tally, talkback, recordings… Interested in what other people experience and here are my two cents on some of the different comments I got on the tweet. Because yes how well you plan a production there is always something forgotten. Often things that are forgotten more often than you would like or that happen so often when you come into a production on-site as an outsider.
Deadlines – @_marcdejong
Yes. Probably the most important part of doing a production. In pre-production, production, and post-production global deadlines will determine if you succeed. Missing a deadline can happen, otherwise we would be in a perfect world, but it should not be a habit and it is totally fine to link some consequences to the deadlines you set. It also helps to use tools within a production team to see progress in meeting deadlines. Personally, I use Asana for my own deadlines (which is free to use for personal use cases), but there are many different tools like Trello, Monday, Jira, etc. out there. It does not really matter what tool you use as long as the whole team is using it the same way. A tool is only as good as the users.
Together with a good tool for tracking the progress of a project or tracking deadlines, it is also important to have a dedicated way of communicating. Some companies use Slack, others Discord, WhatsApp, and even Messenger. Here it also applies that it does not matter which one you use as long as everyone is agreeing on the same.
Universal power adapters and USB B cables are forever missing even though I swear we pack them every time – @iamkateAV
Or network adapters. Or USB C cables. Or… Yeah, don’t know how this happens. Think most of the time these are things that are used a lot by many and just disappear as they are seen as expendable. Started labeling the ones that come from my own event kit.
Budget – @ToivaBoy
I think there two main important things with budget. One, make sure that it is realistic for what you are going to do/want to achieve. Two, make sure that there is a sufficient risk margin (of 10%-15%) in your budget after paying yourself. Maybe you can keep the risk margin or maybe you will need it for the next project. For bigger projects I do a Statement of Work with the company so anything that needs to be done outside of what is written down will cost extra. Often this is just a simple email. As long as it is written down and not mentioned in an online meeting.
To build for derig – @DreamItTV
The show ain’t over until the truck is loaded. I am convinced every aspect of a broadcast production can be derigged within 2 hours and ready to be loaded if planned carefully. This of course depends on the nature of the show, but in my experience it should be possible. It naturally helps if during rigging you already think about how the hell you are going to derig and pack it again for the next show.
It seems we always have too few stream decks and constellations – @vildisberis
I always have a Stream Deck XL spare in my event kit, but I think the “problem” with always having not enough Stream Decks in production is trying to optimize too much of your workflow. Sure there needs to be a certain amount for the necessary work to be done if it is in your workflow, but adding more will not always make it easier. The ATEM Constellation is often a budget question or how to run a show. I love the ATEM Constellations, but there is just so much you can do with 40 inputs depending on your show. Pairing with a CleanSwitch VideoHub will often help swap out sources between segments.
Preparation time – @GGs_Liva
Unfortunately, a venue costs money so often it is already stretched when you are allowed to be there for prepping the show. But… Always squeeze every second out of it and be realistic to whoever hires that a certain amount of time is needed to deliver the quality you want to provide.
Good catering – @PlamenRamen
I have declined catering twice during an event in the past 14 years. One time was because it had shrimp in it and I am mildly allergic to that delicious threat. Love them, but makes me itch. The other time was when the smell almost made me vomit. Catering is a double-edged sword. On the one hand you want to please everyone in production, but on the other hand you will never be able to please everyone at an event. I am always a fan of local cuisine as it makes me feel like I am not only in a dark hall doing a production. Or a burger. Can’t go wrong with a good burger above the regular catering level. I even keep track of most of the burger joints I have eaten around the world.
Testing everything – @tatrix42
As much I would love this… I don’t think it is completely possible or at least you can test everything to death and then it fails during the show. Yes, everything should be tested before going live within the time restraints you have before going live, but always be prepared for something failing. Think a good example is any gear that uses wireless signals. Many times it had been tested all the way in many conditions, but then you go live. There is an audience. The audience interferes with the signal. You need to adjust. It helps to make prioritizations in your head of the things that really need to work during production.
Actually writing out a Run of Show – @CmodeDipity
From a tech perspective, the thing that I do most, you really need at least a document with when what segment and what the segment will be roughly. Of course, changes happen, but there needs to be a plan for every segment. On the other end, there needs to be a more detailed run of the show anyway for everyone involved in the production line. The graphics operator needs to prepare specific graphics whatever system you use. The technical director needs to prepare the people working the floor. The player managers, if we are talking about a tournament, need to know when the players are needed and where. The observer needs to know when there is enough time to take a quick toilet break. You see where I am going. Without a run of show, there is no show.
A run of show can be as simple as an excel sheet or you can use one of the many software (like ShoFlo) that are out there.
Giving your talent the tools they need to succeed – @Sam_Deans
@Sam_Deans mentioned ShoFlo, but it is way more than this and can be different per production. For years I underestimated the importance of having a tally for the studio (a little light that indicates if a camera is live or is about to go live) and talkback functionality (a way for commentators/talent to talk to production without being on air). The show will be so much better if the talent knows what is happening and can communicate what they want directly to the producer/director. Other tools can be very specific. For instance, for a CSGO production make sure that they have all the (live)data available to tell their story during the match on less busy moments. Those little facts elevate the broadcast of your gameplay. Because, especially in esports, the game is 90% of the show. The rest is dressing up for the games.
Some people always forget audio – @classicnit
If your audio is fucked your broadcast is fucked. Audio is often the underrated afterthought compared to all the video sources, but if you make a weird video shot decision for a split second it will not really bother most people (maybe a sneaky comment in Twitch Chat). But… If your audio continuously has errors that will annoy almost all of the viewers (provided they didn’t mute the stream already). @classicnit mentions the muting and unmuting of microphones, but I would say all audio is important. There is a reason NA Sound is often typed in Twitch Chat when something goes wrong.