An Easy Guide To Understanding How Event Production Works

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You may have heard about event planning, which is the process of managing the tasks before an event begins. An event planner organizes everything that leads up to the main event, such as creating budget outlines, shortlisting the number of attendees, selecting venues and caterers, and finalizing start and end dates. You might also have come across the term “event management”. It includes managing the venue while the event is live. An event manager ensures that the event runs smoothly from start to finish. So where does the term “event production” fit in? If you are thinking along the lines of film production, then you won’t be much off the mark.

Event production uses technology and creativity to deliver an amazing audio-visual experience for the audience. It involves managing the live stage performances of an event by providing the right kind of lighting, sound, video, and other special effects. For instance, during a play, an event producer is responsible for arranging the lights above and on the stage before the play begins, and for determining which lights to switch on and off while the play is in progress. In short, the lighting reflects the mood and the emotions of the audience based on the play.

Delivering audio-visual effects is bound to appeal to any audience. There is a lot more to the event production process than what meets the eye. The producer needs to assess the client’s requirements, set up their team, and plan the event schedule from the point of view of production. Only then do they transport all their equipment on the site and begin arranging it according to the outlines. Typically, there are five stages to the event production process – pre-production, hiring resources, on-site preparation, live event production, and load-out.

  • Pre-Production

This stage begins as soon as the deal with the client is finalized. The planning team tries to figure out the core requirements of the client before creating a rough technical outline. You need to visit the venue to assess the areas where their production equipment can be fitted, take the appropriate measurements, and come up with an accurate blueprint. Copies of these blueprints and outlines should then be sent to the rest of the team.

You need to collaborate with the client to create a script for the event to be followed by performers and production crew alike. If there are any videos or graphics to show on the screen, or any original audio clips to be played during the event, then you should start creating those right away. Concept planning also falls in this stage. However, the most important part of pre-production is hiring a crew.

  • Hiring Resources

Your production team doesn’t just comprise planners, coordinators, designers, and developers. It also includes an entire crew of on-site personnel who are responsible for transporting and arranging all of the production equipment in the right place. The event production specialists at advise against keeping an in-house crew. It is not a cost-effective option, and they will usually have to wait for long periods of time to work. Hence, you need to reserve a couple or three months for hiring each new member of the crew.

Additionally, though the event may only be a few hours long, it will take you days to prepare the sets, order the right AV equipment, and put the lighting and sound systems in place. If the venue is in another city, you will need to book a place to stay for your crew and take care of their daily expenses. The final yet equally important part of the hiring process is the logistics and transport of the equipment and crew. Ideally, it should be arranged as soon as you have a fixed crew and equipment number.

  • On-Site Preparation

As soon as your production crew arrives at the venue, the on-site setup begins. Every member of your team needs to personally assess the property first. The riggers and technicians will eventually start setting up the stage and the AV equipment. Once the entire stage is set, the stage manager will coordinate with the lighting and audio engineers to rehearse the cues. At this point, the client and their performers should also be involved in the process. You need to rehearse your AV setup while they are rehearsing their act or speech so that you two are perfectly in sync on show day.

  • Live Event Production

It’s finally the day and time of the show. You should have everything prepared by now, right down to the replacements in case any of the primary equipment stops working. On this day, you and your core production team, including the equipment operators, will do everything that they did during the final rehearsal. Only this time, there will be no room for error. The characters of the play can easily cover up their mistakes on the stage. However, you simply cannot afford to commit any mistake in the first place.

For instance, if an actor forgets their lines midway, then they can act and say something else in continuation with their previous dialogue until they remember the actual script. However, if your audio operator mistakenly plays a cheery theme during a death scene, then it will completely, irretrievably ruin the emotional state of the audience. That said, if the actors are versatile enough, then they will usually take your crew’s mistakes into their stride, probably performing an impromptu jig on the spot.

  • Load-Out

The final stage of the event production process, load-out involves packing up your stuff after the end of the program and loading it all back in your transport vehicles. You should leave the venue exactly as it was when you first arrived there, so a bit of cleaning may also be involved. It may not be your job, but it will make the venue owners happy, and they won’t hesitate to refer your team to any other contracts that come their way.

All good event production companies always have reserves and replacements for both the team members and the equipment supplies. You cannot afford to lose even one technician to sickness, or a single light focuses to malfunction, on the day of the event. The smooth running of the lights, sounds, videos, graphics, and special effects is every proficient event producer’s priority.


Lauren Bull is a writer living in Jersey City. If you have a minute, she'd love to be the 18th person to tell you how great The Wire is.

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