You know the feeling. You’re setting up your event technology. You’ve been scrupulously planning for and promoting for months. Then, the unexpected happens. An attendee spills root beer on your setup. Your live stream server crashes. The power goes out. What now?
Whether you’re filming a wedding or hosting a live stream Q&A, you never want to be faced with an event technology catastrophe.
The key to conquering the unexpected is preparation.
This may sound like common sense, but many event managers feel they do not have time to prepare every aspect of the event media tech.
However, preparing for the worst doesn’t have to be a hassle if you follow the simple steps. Follow the steps below to ace our course: Event Technology: Disaster Preparation (ETDP).
ETDP 101: Preparing for the Event
1. Outline your event technology.
Are you hosting a live stream, filming an event, or both? How many cameras and microphones will there be? Does your setting require extra lighting?
Create an in-depth outline of the kind of tech you plan to use at your event. An event tech guide will help you decide where to focus attention in the preparation process.
2. Perform a test run.
Go to your event location and create an entire setup of the tech equipment. That’s right–everything. Create a mock event: follow the exact procedures that you intend on performing at the actual occasion.
A test run may seem tedious, but it is one of the most crucial steps in any event technology prep. Hosting a practice run will give you a chance to test the network, run through presentations, visualize your event, and smooth out any flaws.
Testing the Internet
How does the internet at your location work? If you are unfamiliar with the internet at this location, speak with those who are. Ask them if the network has experienced any problems in the past. If so, what problems occurred and how did they fix them?
Run an “internet speed test” (by typing that phrase into Google) to determine the capacity of the network. Don’t promise an HD event video if your network can’t deliver. If necessary, consider investing in network range boosters to ensure a solid network.
3. Pack extras.
More than extra batteries–remember bring extra tripods, power cords, and other equipment. When debating tech what to bring to the event and what not to bring, overpack. If you tell yourself, “we won’t need that,” you’re probably right. But pack it anyway. As the saying goes: “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”
4. Protect your equipment.
Technology isn’t very reliable. A light bulb in your setup may go out just because it’s having a bad day. Although you can’t always control the tech, you can certainly control many external circumstances surrounding it.
Similar to a screen protector on a new phone, place barriers around cameras, microphones, and lighting stands. Determine the placement of your equipment beforehand and what could go wrong. For instance, you might not want to place a laptop at the edge of a stage.
ETDP 102: Planning for Worst-Case Scenarios
When the power goes out…
1. Back up the essentials. The power going out is possibly the worst case scenario for an event. You don’t just lose your internet connection or a camera–you lose lights and all other electrical facilities. Create a simple plan for what to do if you lose these essentials. For instance, will you move the event outside? Or set up some battery-powered lighting?
2. Create a plan for recovery. Most often, power outages result in regenerated systems. This means you will most likely have to set up your event tech all over again. Create a plan for restoring the router, cameras, computers, and other tech as efficiently as possible.
3. Don’t expect the power to come back. Although most power outages last only minutes, your outage could persist for the duration of your event. Instead of relying on the power, find a way to appease your audience and carry out your event without it.
When the internet stops working…
1. Determine the source of the problem. Slow or nonexistent internet can come from a variety of problems. However, you can narrow it down by running some specific tests. Is the internet only not working on one device? Have you tried resetting the router?
2. Bring a back-up hotspot. Invest in a mobile hotspot device–you can find some for under $50 online. These wifi connections are great Plan B’s to recover from temporary internet connectivity issues. Be sure to know how to access the hotspot beforehand and have the network password already stored in your event devices.
When your equipment is ruined…
1. Note what is expendable. Some of your equipment is superfluous–great to have, but not essential. Other pieces of tech may make or break your event. List what equipment you consider “expendable” for your event and what is not.
For instance, lighting is important, but you can do without your favorite stand. On the other hand, if you don’t have a camera for the wedding, you don’t have an event.
2. Schedule backups. Purchasing backup equipment of crucial technology (i.e., camera, laptop, lighting) would be not only expensive but impractical. Instead, find affordable alternatives.
Find a nearby colleague or professional business with accessible equipment that you could borrow during your event if needed. Or, rent out equipment backups for your event and bring them with you. This small cost could save you the price of a disastrous event.
If your presentation won’t work…
1. Create accessible and diverse backups. Not only do you need backups of your presentations, they need to be accessible in your time of need. Furthermore, diversify the platforms on which you store your presentation. If your presentation isn’t working at your event, the problem may be the platform (e.g., Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint).
2. Supply different ways to view. Consider distributing the event content beforehand. Provide attendees with an access code to view your presentation (including links to videos) on their own devices. Instead of relying on a screen and projector, come up with alternative ways to view your content, such as handouts.
ETDP 103: Creative Solutions to Event Tech Failure
1. Don’t rely on tech.
Your event doesn’t have to rely on tech. Groundbreaking, we know. Although relinquishing event technology for good is a little excessive, there are some parts of an event tech that you may be able to pull back the reins on.
For instance, consider distributing flyers in addition to email newsletters to promote the event. Or, tackle a whiteboard and handouts instead of a powerpoint. Or, record only key points of the event. Hosting your event outdoors can minimize some of the needed technology.
2. Use the failure as a tool.
Every misstep gives the chance for an opportunity–most often, as a learning opportunity. But you can also make the event tech failure more than just a chance to do better next time.
Everyone has seen a movie where the main protagonist, when thrown against all odds, leverages his obstacles to succeed more than he would have without the disaster. Use your event blunder as a tool. Be creative, and you can shine amidst disaster.
3. Hire professionals.
Let’s face it. Many event tech failures sprout from lack of experience or novice practices. Don’t expect to carry the entire burden of an event all by yourself. Instead, hire a pro team to take care of the event tech to ensure smooth delivery without all the anxiety.
Valoso offers a team of skilled videographers and video editors who can help make your event a smash. Our team practices the best prevention techniques to guarantee functional and successful event technology.
Interested? Click on the banner below for a free quote for your next project!