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Event Production / Webcast Help Guide-Version 1
 

more

s6k Arts
      &
  sektor 6 kommunikations Media Department
present

Event Production / Webcast Help Guide    Version 1
The Book of Hell

s6k has a forward thinking approach to all its endeavors and the way we approach event production and Webcasting is no different. As many of you know, with the diverse range and immense number of productions connected to the s6k network, we've dealt with many configurations of Webcast & production strategies. We bring that collective experience to this help guide.

This document is designed to address the various configurations and help you understand the structure and capabilities of event production and Webcasting.


EVENT PRODUCTION

This is a delineation of the personnel and their task loads. For most events you will not have all these positions filled, but you will need to know that they are separate roles and what they are comprised of even if you have to do everything yourself. (Which we mostly have to!) Though roles are flexible this is a basic sketch of who is responsible for what and why.

Event Production Staff Structure

Executive Producer
- Is the overall head of the venture. Has final decision over every facet of the event production process. Usually is also financially responsible for the event.

Producer
- Is responsible for the execution of all facets of event production agreed upon by the EP. This role is the heart of any production. The producer coordinates all resources and usually assigns tasks to all personnel.

Associate Producer
- Is integral to the process in providing resources (conceptual, equipment, financial) but typically defers to the decisions of the Executive Producer & Producer.

Art Director
- Handles all aspects of artistic execution such as flyer design, venue installation (visuals, monitors, displayed art and the like). Usually the Art Director collaborates closely with the Exec. Producer and Assoc. Producer(s) to create an overall concept. Once decided upon the Art Director has the responsibility of executing the final concept.

Production Manager
- In charge of all aspects of venue installation. This person works closely with the Art Dir. to execute the event concept in respect to the “user experience”. Is responsible for coordinating installation artists. The Production Mgr. administers load-in and out scheduling. 

Production Assistant
- Executes all tasks designated by the Production Mgr. Organizes all documents, contact lists and will usually be responsible for basic communications.

Event Manager
- Is in charge of all facets of the event in process. Coordinates door people (guest list, cashier), security (if necessary), bartenders (if necessary). This person oversees Stage Manager, Lighting Director and any other staff personnel during an event.  

Stage Manager
- Handles all aspects of stage management. Coordinates performer / band / project load-in & out, equipment storage. This person coordinates stage needs with the venue sound / stage personnel.

Lighting Director
- Executes lighting concept. Works in conjunction with venue lighting / technical personnel.

Guest List Personnel
- They screen people for complimentary or reduced entry. Must be a cool & friendly person.

Runner (aka "a gofer")
- Responsible for running errands, on-site or off-site.

Additional Staff Personnel
- Register, security, coat check & bar tenders usually are part of the venue staff.


PRODUCTION CHECKLIST #1 - INITIAL THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CONTEMPLATING AN EVENT

    Determine the venue that properly facilitates the vision of the event.
    Determine on-site technical contacts
    Determine internal staff capabilities.
    Perform a site survey to assess all technical and overall event aspects (sound, electrical power, stage size, lighting, projection capabilities, equipment storage, dressing rooms, coat check)
    Determine whether the prospective venue is union or non-union
    Ascertain promotional opportunities
    Coordinate implementation of pre-show web presence (obtain artwork, text, promotional video clips, relevant links & coordinate for programming.)
    Flyer design


WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AFTER THE EVENT

You should always produce an assessment of the entire production after an event:

    A detailed (hopefully written) post-mortem of the event. This is to assess all elements of the event that worked and more importantly the ones that didn’t. This should be done with all your key personnel (Exec. Producer, Assoc. Producer, Event Mgr., Stage Mgr., Art Dir.)
    Before your post-mortem, obtain detailed assessments from your Production Assistant(s), runners. (If you have them email their assessments, you will have a written document for your files and your formal post-mortem.
    This must be done within 5 days after the event. You should plan in advance for this process. To have your post-mortem beyond one week after the event, you will not be able to achieve the optimum results because you will be dealing too much out of memory. The ultimate goal is to deconstruct your collective understandings of all the processes of the event. This can only be done with a fresh account of the event.


WEBCASTING

Webcast Acquisition Squad Structure

Webcast Chief Technology Officer
- In charge of advancing the technical vision while maintaining quality and proper implementation of all strategies. The VP of technology supplies advanced directives for protocol, purchasing and technical strategies to the webcast director and senior webcast engineer who will carry out the implementation.

Director of Broadcast Technology
- Oversees all aspects of streaming media video/audio/data technology. Coordinates the delivery of materials to be presented in various online formats.

Webcast Producers / Acquisition Director
- Is responsible for the implementation and overseeing of the entire webcast process and staff as well as identifying new hires. The director also creates the final visual concept or look as well as sound. This includes number, type & angle of cameras, size of staff, and collaborating in the conceptualization process with the senior webcast engineer. The director guides the communication between the camera personnel to create visual cohesiveness during the shooting of the broadcasts.

Webcast Producer / Acquisition Associate Director
- Is responsible for the implementation and overseeing of the webcast deployment strategies and staff. The associate director also creates visual concepts and aids in the management structure of the squad. Identifying alternate strategies for multiple webcast deployments also falls in the responsibility of this position. Finally the associate director guides the communication between the camera personnel and the primary production crew to enhance cohesiveness during the shooting of the broadcasts.

Senior Webcast Encoding Engineer
- Implements and or oversees all streaming media technologies and creates the most effective way to achieve technical goals. The senior webcast engineer also decides the size and delegates the duties of tech personnel.

On-Site Equipment Manager
- In charge of the maintaining and the management of the squads equipment on-site. Another responsibility of the position is to research new gear for the squad and to keep us technologically advanced.

Webcast Production Assistant
- They are responsible for the data management for the squad. Their tasks also include: Arranging travel, coordinating setup/load out scheduling, obtaining relevant technical venue information and obtaining all pertinent information on venue location environs.

Webcast Producer
- In charge of implementing directives from the webcast director. This means coordinating camera personnel on location, load in/out time and any other task or tasks delegated by the webcast director and / or senior webcast engineer.

Webcast Technicians
- Execute all tasks dictated by the senior webcast engineer. This includes all back end computer based technical set-up, management and wiring.

Technical Director
- Executes the live mixing of video feeds, taped commercials, additional b-roll footage, graphics, titles and any other element to be included in the broadcast.

Audio Engineer
- Executes live mix of audio feeds including direct venue console feed, microphones, additional music or any other audio to be included in the broadcast.

Chyron Operator
- Operates Chyron unit, which controls all title generation for the technical director for insertion into the broadcast feed.

VTR Operator
- Operates all b-roll units and prepares and executes cueing and running of all additional video elements.

Camera Personnel
- They are responsible for wiring during deployment, event shooting and camera management.

Lineperson
- Manages camera cables enabling the cameraperson to move freely. They also can help to maintain the area a shooter is utilizing. In addition they aid in cable installation / removal.

The goal should be to change the “security cam television” aspect of the average webcast into an interesting and interactive experience. We suggest creating a special forces-like implementation process for deploying webcasting technologies in the field. This can help smooth the rough edges of deployment with a common sense approach based on cohesion to a well thought out deployment workflow model.

For you to achieve this, you will need to obtain as much preliminary information as possible from the venue(s), artist(s), personality(ies), co-sponsors and any other source that will promotionally and / or technically enhance your webcast. Later in this document we will supply a description of the required preliminary information for a webcast.


PRODUCTION CHECKLIST #2 - INFORMATION AND MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING A WEBCAST

This information should be obtained and supplied to the webcast director preferably 4 to 8 weeks prior to event. This lead-time is crucial to obtaining and implementing all technical as well as promotional requirements.

Webcasts with a lead-time less than the minimal lead-time of 4 weeks may not be possible and may be scaled below proper scale size because of time constriction.

    Determine the website the webcast will be broadcasted from
    Provide a detailed description of the prospective personnel
    Determine on-site technical contacts and supply to webcast production assistant
    Supply a floor plan or venue dimensions (supply video and or pictures if location is out of area)
    Supply information on the status of Internet connectivity of the venue
    Determine whether the prospective venue is union or non-union
    Arrange a meeting for the webcast acquisition director and senior webcast engineer to do a venue site survey as to ascertain all pertinent location information
    Ascertain promotional opportunities
    Coordinate implementation of pre-show web presence (obtain artwork, text, promotional video clips, relevant links & coordinate for programming.)
    Supply webcast director with any and all imagery that is to be included in webcast
    Meet with webcast acquisition director to create a concise broadcast schedule

You Should Always Produce the Following Information After an Event.

    A detailed (hopefully written) post-mortem of the event. This is to assess all elements of the event that worked and more importantly the ones that didn’t. (You should have all your key personnel present at this or at least have them write evaluations of the event. It should be done NO LATER than 5 days after the event. Everyone should have a fresh recollection of the event.)
    Copy(ies) of broadcast production tape(s)
    Complete technical & conceptual support through inception to completion

Raw Tapes and Broadcast Masters
All productions should be archived through DV tape. Though there are many other ways to save video, DV tape is the most stable platform to save your productions. You also want to be sure to save the project file from your edit. Keep that disk with the DV tape master.

How to Select Your Venue
This is extremely important. You must do your homework. What nights are and historically have been successful at the venue, how many people drink from night to night (plainly put, are the bartenders busy) and more are integral elements in assessing venues.


A CHECKLIST FOR ASSESSING A VENUE

    Venue rental  It is important to know how much they charge.
This will change from night to night and from venue to venue.

    Does the venue support the genre your producing?
You may find an ally in a venue manager, promoter, booking agent, or even the owner. If your genre is featured at a specific venue, you may very well have an easier time getting confirmed on a good or decent night, and at a less expensive rate.

    Ask your friends and anyone else about the venue
The best way to find out about a venue is to ask others who have worked with the venue in the past. They can give you plenty of relevant information. (note) Be sure to only inquire about specific venue information and not industry gossip. There is plenty of that crap around. Focusing on actual work examples keeps you at a professional level, which will give you more industry respect. Badmouthing people only makes the badmouther look bad.

    Finding a venue with a sound system that fits your production
Some venues sound systems are designed for DJ’s and / or track acts, for small bands, some for large audio production and so on. Sometimes your production may have live music planned for it and the venue could’ve been perfect for everything except they may not be set-up for bands. For industrial / tekno genre performance, it is imperative that the venue have a powerful stage monitor system. (note) If they only have wedge monitors they may need to bring in larger side-fill cabinets.

    Assessing venue resources
A venue may have video monitors, projectors and other stage / set props. Venues may own or have access to more gear than is visible. Most people don’t ask...so the venue doesn’t mention it. They don’t want to make more work for themselves. Also, make sure the venue has enough space in it to execute your production. (i.e. dressing room[s], off-stage storage, accessible clean bathrooms w/hot water)

    It’s all in how you ask
If you begin with, “You probably don’t have...” or “I know it’s a lot of trouble, but...” while inquiring about something, you can almost guarantee they are going to say no. Go in with a firm plan, elaborate on your production requirements in a direct manner, and present something that they will want to invest venue resources in, even if they normally don’t supply pre-production / production support or funding.

    Refer to Production Checklist #1 & #2 for more specific things you should inquire about.       


HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON YOUR PROMOTIONS AND PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Webcast Advertising and General Event Promotional Strategies Help Guide

There should be more emphasis placed on creating promotional and monetarily beneficial relationships for these events. Though this focuses on how to monetize a Webcast, many of the strategies apply to traditional events as well. Below we offer a few approaches.

1)    Is it possible to have someone else cover the entire costs of the webcast?

This is self-explanatory yet usually the most difficult to actualize. The best scenario for making a full sponsorship a reality is finding someone who is in the process of producing an event, interested in webcasting it but doesn’t know how to go about it. This requires getting on board during the conceptual stage of an event. Getting in later usually translates into a less lucrative situation.

2)    Can we make a number of small deals with various companies that combined would cover all or most of the expenses?

This could be a much more utilized approach. There seem to be many companies that are capable of spending small to medium amounts of money for various promotional opportunities. The number of advertisers and/or promotional partners dwindles when you demand a larger investment, thus limiting your choices for sponsorships. Assess how much they’re willing to spend and then create a situation based on that assessment. Though a company may have plenty of money, they may be not so interested in spending it on your event, though they may be capable or willing to spend a smaller amount. Attempting to only get large sums of money for advertising may result in not only losing them as a possible advertiser but destroys the chances in the future of working with them. By spreading the costs around, you generate revenue in addition to creating more avenues for web-traffic to be generated for your E-vent. Remember that more companies involved means more people who have a direct interest in talking up as well as bringing traffic to your event.

3)    Can we find non-traditional advertising for the webcast?

There are many traditional companies that want to be more involved in the digital .com world but not enough to make a large investment into it. These people can be reasonably swayed into a situation but may get turned off or become resistant if it seems that they may be entering less than clear situation. This requires approaching them with a clear, easy to understand advertising situation. Plainly put, make it easy for them to spend their money. You make the process easier for them by supplying the potential advertiser with a package deal that represents a win-win scenario. You have to generate relationships with a long-term strategy in mind in comparison to a more short term minded approach. You will generate more advertising revenue long-term from an advertiser that sees you as a competent, valuable, easy to work with advertising resource.

4)    Can we create on-site promotional opportunities for non-web based companies?

Within live events there are many avenues for promotional opportunities. This allows you to sell not only the on-site exposure, but in addition the guarantee that it will be shown throughout the broadcast. This correlates with the type of promotional strategies these companies typically utilize with the augmentation of a wide variety of Internet enabled strategies. In theory this follows many of the ideas mentioned in #3. They will require you foresee the concerns they will have. This is done as a pre-emptive strike to relieve as many of their concerns as possible, which will give you much easier access to companies and their resources. If you answer issues before they mention them, you’ve not only removed or lowered their (and your) stress factor, you’ve also exhibited to them that you’re on the ball and working with you will be a breeze and not a chore.

5)    Are there companies interested in banner ad opportunities?

Banner ads can still be sold, but the reality of the .com (commercial) death resulted in companies being less than secure the expense would be justifiable. Unless you have a large name attached, you should aim for on-site promotions, email promotions and other strategies.

6)    Is there a venue that suits your need and is already prepared to enable a webcast to occur?

Webcasting is a valuable resource but could be made more cost effective by taking a few easy steps. These days there are many venues that are already wired. This will save a large amount of money as well as headache. Getting a venue wired is completely capable but a lengthy process that requires at least 6 weeks lead-time. You should search the network because someone may know of a venue that suits your needs.

7)    Has there been enough promotion for the event or time to do such?

This can’t be stressed enough. It’s like comparing apples to bricks in respect to the difficulty in getting eyeballs to your webcast versus the venue itself. There must be a constant, multi-faceted push for e-attention. Just spamming out an announcement alone may very well result in your only audience being your team and your client. Using web based and traditional promotional strategies simultaneously will heavily affect the amount of people brought to your E-vent.

In addition, when contemplating whether an event should be webcast, understand that even a personality able to easily pack a venue may only translate into a meager amount of traffic to your webcast.


WHAT KIND OF WEBCAST CAN BE DONE?

There are endless combinations and configurations of webcasts possible. You should focus on creating scenarios that correlate with the vision and content, maximizing the experience for your audience. All webcasts are to be seen as individual productions that require individual concepts.

The following are brief examples of various possible webcasts. Any of the following examples could have a chat component and may or may not be broadcasted by tape delay:

Commonly used webcast configurations
    3 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net
    4 – 7 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net

Advanced webcast configurations
    5 –11 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net
    Bi-directional multi-camera feed link between 2 venues broadcasted to the net
    Multiple locations linked to a single primary venue to be viewed on a monitor and / or projection combined with primary venue multiple camera coverage and broadcasted to the net

Live: Broadcasted at the exact time the event is taking place. This process is also referred to as being streamed live.

Chat: This function allows your web audience to interact via text with your event. As they are watching they’ll be able to communicate with a moderator or interact directly with a host and or guest.

E-commerce: Allows people to buy goods or services linked to the event. This is a vital element because it can be a strong revenue-generating tool and is one of the only money making devices used once the event is underway. This can also be connected with on-site sales. (Note - On-site sales normally require that the venue receive a percentage of the profits. This amount will vary but is almost always enforced.)

Tape Delay / V.O.D. [video on demand]: You will employ all the video filming technologies and strategies of webcasting an event, but you do not broadcast until a later date. This can be a viable option for desired events to be covered when the venue lacks the technical requirements to enable a live webcast to occur. A tape delay can also be a cost benefit for events that don’t require being broadcasted live. The additional time can allow for post-production treatments such as titling, additional video editing, sound modification or additions and the like. The tape delay broadcast can also be accompanied by a live broadcast element and or chat component to create a more in-depth broadcast, hence re-creating a live event out of a tape delay scenario.

On-site Presence: This is another important element to enhance the analog webcast experience. Video monitors, projectors, computer kiosks, digital message boards and other video and/or audio presentation devices are the tools used to continually remind the at-venue audience there is a webcast in progress. This will set your webcasts apart from other companies. This is because most webcast companies only advertise on the flyer and have very little on-site representation.


LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME PROPOSED WEBCAST CONFIGURATIONS

[Note] Any of these configurations could be augmented by a source video feed (any video and/or photo imagery). This means you can intercut relevant pre-existing B-roll footage into a live broadcast. A chat component may be included to any of these as well. Wireless video and audio technologies will be utilized, allowing maximum flexibility for the camera operators, thus allowing multiple position schemes for each camera.
These possible webcast scenarios are only to give you an idea of what is possible. There are many variations that can be created and there should always be an emphasis on designing fresh scenarios. Each webcast is a site-specific effort, and to be maximized should be treated as such.

Camera Coverage Scenarios
    2 - 3 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net
This represents a minimum cybercast package. For small venues featuring a less prominent artist or a small panel discussion, this is the package that will probably be deployed. This coverage may assume the configuration of camera left, camera right and camera center on a camera crane.
    3 - 4 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net
For more detailed, medium level events this is the package. This package enables more in-depth coverage. For instance, you can have 2 cameras focused on the stage, 1 center camera covering the stage (possibly on a camera crane) and the audience while the final camera can be used for a host and interviews.
    5 - 11 camera shoot at a single location broadcasted to the net
This is considered a large-scale deployment. When covering events such as festivals, large gatherings or event prominent bands and/or performances. Only events with sizable budgets will accommodate such a coverage venture.

Camera Types
    BETAcam
    Broadcast quality high grade DVCam
    Pro-sumer level Mini DV
    Pro-sumer level Mini DV with Nightvision
    Special design spy cam technology (various image quality and camera positioning)
Nightvision: This enables you to shoot in low or no light situations. [Note] Shooting in this mode will add a heavy green tint to your video image, so if you want your video image pristine, do not shoot in this mode.
Maintaining a professional manner should always be your primary goal. Below are listed a number of rules that will help you. (note) Just think of how you react when someone starts telling you their business and issues with the people they work with and understand that is how you sound when you do the same. Keep you issues within your team.

Crews in the Field Should Abide by the Following Guidelines:
    When in the field representing the company never discuss office issues and always be aware of the information disseminated. (There’s a reason why Microsoft or AT&T sues people who have loose lips. No one needs to know every issue you may have with the people on your team.)
    Always maintain a high standard of professionalism. (Remember- There may be something going on that now has you aggravated. If you discuss it to someone in the field, you may ruin a deal someone else is working on as well as understand the lasting effect of hurting the reputation of a company that you still work for.)
    Problems happen! Never discuss any of the problems you may be having with the execution of your event unless you require help from them. Be self-sufficient and reliant. If you work well under pressure, that vibe is spread throughout your team and any other venue personnel that you may encounter. Flipping out over a problem doesn’t solve anything. (Once you or they calm down, the problem still has to be dealt with. But now there is a vibe that diminishes everyone’s energy which could mortally wound your event, not to mention the people at the venue are looking at you like your an complete idiot!)
    See if there are any other events going on in that community. Access to one event almost always can get you access to other related events.
    Try to obtain a referral for other events at venues the owner or manager may be associated with.


Thank you and we look forward to working with all of you.
Let’s create a great place on the Internet for people to convey the spirit, art, technology, culture, energy & ideas and share that in our communal analog gathering experiences.

Artekulture = Art-Tech-Culture
sektor 6 kommunikations



 
 

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