It takes a lot of technicians to execute a high-end corporate show.
From the Technical Director, to the Projectionist, the A1 to the Master Electrician every position has a function and a job to do. But what exactly are they doing? When looking at the labor breakdown of an AV budget it’s important to know what these people to do ensure that you are adequately staffed. You want to make sure you have the right talent on your roster. Here is a run down of the titles and functions of the technical professionals working in the ballroom:
Technical Director (or Project Manager) creates CAD drawings and coordinates with the hotel to order electrical and rigging. Generating a dock schedule and load-in schedule, he acts on the Producer’s behalf to oversee all the technical equipment and labor. He manages the load in/out crew, and if anything technical goes awry, he’s the go-to guy to fix it.
Lighting Designer programs the lighting board with different looks for each presenter and day.
Master Electrician (ME) can program the lighting board but he is also responsible for making sure that Lighting, Audio and Video have the right power to make their departments run.
The ME ensures that power is distributed properly.
Without this guy, you could have a black out.
Lead Audio Technician (A1) mans the audio board and the quality of the sound coming from all audio sources, graphics computer, video, band monitor, individual lavaliere mics, podium mics, etc. He balances the system to ensure that the audio is clear and crisp in every corner of the room.
Assistant Audio Technician (A2) tests the microphones daily, ensures that the wireless mics are on a clear frequency without static or interference, places mics on the presenters, and wrangles them after the presentations. He is also the troubleshooter. If during the show something goes amiss, the A2 looks into solutions while the A1 focused on the show cues.
Video Projectionist ensures all the projections are identical, he fine-tunes all the projectors to ensure the focus, the color saturation, the contrast, brightness, and everything is exactly the same on every screen. He will troubleshoot the projectors if they have any issues.
Video Technical Director/ Switcher operates the switching system, sending graphics, video and IMAG to the screens and downstage monitors on the Stage Manager’s Cue. He could also acts as a Camera Shader tweaking the images from each of the camera to make them look natural. He directs the cameraman to get the shots that will look the best. Sometimes these are two or three different positions. If there are several cameras, you may have a Video Technical Director that is telling the individual cameras what to shoot. There may be a going to the screens. There could be a Switcher for recording and a Switcher for the live screens…. All depends on the complexity and the client’s needs.
Video Playback Pro Operator and Recording Technician loads all the videos into the Playback Pro Systems (PBP)(primary and back up) and puts them in proper order. He is also responsible for recording everything that the camera captures (ISO Records) and/ or what goes to the screens (Program Records) hard drive, monitoring that both the audio and video are captured correctly. Sometimes these two positions are combined. Again, it all depends on the specific needs of the show.
There are other positions Riggers, Carpenters, Stage Hands, etc.; the above list makes up 80% of the core “running crew”. Do you have all the right “people on the bus”? Ask your account manager or your Technical Director to explain why each position is included. Then you’ll know for sure.
Next week we’ll delve into the Production staff. Until then, have a good show everyone.