Our company, like many, is in the process of belt tightening. In reducing our workforce, one of the good people we lost was the media coordinator for my large incentive conferences. Faced with finding the best way to replace him, I am making a list of all the things he did for us.

Similarly, there are many jobs and responsibilities involved in putting together any staging event. Here is what I hope will be a helpful list of some of them, in approximate descending order of authority:

Client — The person or company that contracted for the show and pays the bills. The client is not always right, but the client is always the client!

Producer — Puts the team together and has overall responsibility for the production

Technical Director — Coordinates technical aspects. Often involved with selection and hiring of vendors

Stage Manager — Coordinates the movement of talent or others on stage

Video Director — Coordinates placement of video cameras and crew; directs their activities and video playback

Lead Video Engineer — Responsible for the technical aspects of the video equipment

Lead Audio Engineer and Assistants — Responsible for technical aspects of sound equipment and mixing of audio

Lead Lighting Engineer, Lighting Director and Assistants — Coordinates and directs lighting; programs lighting cues

Video Tape Operator — Responsible for playback or recording of video

Camera Operators — Operate the video cameras during video recording or imaging

Camera Grips — Help set up or move the video cameras

Graphics Engineers and Assistants — Create, and assist the presenters with, graphics presentations such as PowerPoint

Riggers — Responsible for rigging anything hanging from the ceiling, such as a truss for lights or speakers

Head Electrician — Responsible for power drops or tie-ins to the various power sources

Scenic Engineers and Assistants — Handle stage building and set design

Spotlight Operators — Operate the spotlights

Dealing with Crew

You should have a key point-of-contact with your AV crew — usually the technical director or an on-site producer. It's important to use the chain of command with the crew. Even if you're chatting with one of the sound people about an audio concern, your request to change something should go to your technical director or producer. This makes the key contact aware of any changes, and prevents crew friction.

New Equipment Update

The recurring theme at InfoComm, a showcase for new AV equipment, was merging mediums. Sony introduced “e-conferencing,” a new type of network conferencing that will support up to 16 users and three display devices. It uses a wireless LAN card and makes all resources on the network available to the presenter. It automatically captures the meeting minutes (audio, video, and graphics) and allows playback via a browser over a LAN.

Olympus had an eye-catching VisionPlex HDPS-100 display system. It offers a unique image composition and calibration system that brings nine projectors together to achieve a seamless 4 million pixel high-resolution display. Even up close it looks sharp! (Of course, for $180,000, I would look sharp too.) It can be configured for front and rear projection in square to panoramic formats. The system can display still images and motion video.