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Best Practices for Outside Broadcast and Live Event Production


Live events are a great way to connect with audiences, and outside broadcasts (OBs) have become an increasingly popular way to bring events to life for remote audiences. There are many challenges associated with OBs, but proper planning and execution can ensure success. In this article, we’ll discuss the best practices for outside broadcast and live event production that can help make your event a success.

Pre-Production Planning
Pre-production planning is an essential step in ensuring the success of your event. It involves identifying goals and objectives, assembling a production team, scouting and securing locations, creating a production schedule, and coordinating with vendors and partners. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Identifying Goals and Objectives
Before you start planning your event, it’s essential to identify your goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with your event? Is it to promote a product or service, raise awareness for a cause, or entertain a specific audience? Knowing what you want to achieve with your event will help you select the right production equipment, the right crew, the right venue, and the right timeline for your project. Make sure to identify the primary goal of your event and then break it down into smaller objectives.

For example, if your goal is to promote a product, your objectives might be to showcase the product’s features and benefits, demonstrate how it works, and provide a platform for customers to ask questions.

Assembling the Production Team
Once you’ve identified your goals and objectives, the next step is to assemble your production team. You’ll need a team that can deliver seamless coordination of equipment, talent, and logistics. The team should include a producer, director, camera operators, audio technicians, lighting technicians, and production assistants. Each member of the team should have a defined role and responsibilities to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

It’s essential to hire professionals who have experience in live event production. Look for individuals who have worked on similar events and can provide references. You should also consider their availability and budget when assembling your team.

Scouting and Securing Locations
Choosing the right location is critical to the success of your event. You’ll need to consider many factors such as accessibility, power, lighting, and sound. Make sure to visit the location and assess it in advance to identify potential problem areas that may require extra attention.

If you’re hosting an outdoor event, you’ll need to consider factors such as weather conditions and permits. You may also need to rent equipment such as tents, generators, and portable restrooms.

Creating a Production Schedule
A production schedule is a roadmap that helps you plan your event from start to finish. It should include all the critical points of the event, such as rehearsals, setup, takedown, and live broadcast times. Make sure you have enough time built in for contingencies and troubleshooting.

It’s essential to communicate the production schedule with your team and vendors/partners to ensure everyone is on the same page. You should also have a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Coordinating with Vendors and Partners
During pre-production, you’ll need to coordinate with vendors and partners who can provide the equipment and other resources needed to produce your live event. Make sure to do background checks on vendors and partners and get references from them before hiring.

You should also discuss the terms of the contract, including payment, delivery, and setup times. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what each vendor/partner will provide and what their responsibilities are.

By following these pre-production planning steps, you’ll be well on your way to producing a successful live event that meets your goals and objectives.

Technical Setup and Equipment
Choosing the Right Cameras and Lenses
Choosing the right cameras and lenses is essential to produce high-quality video. Outdoor events often require specialized cameras and lenses that can capture movement and action under challenging lighting conditions. It’s crucial to have a knowledgeable team of camera operators who can capture the right shots from the right angles.

Audio Equipment and Microphone Selection
The quality of audio can make or break a live event. High-quality microphones and audio equipment are essential to capturing crisp sound and delivering it to the audience. Ensure your audio team has the necessary equipment and experience to manage sound for your events.

Lighting Considerations for Outdoor Events
Outdoor events often come with lighting challenges. Sunlight, shadows, and reflections can interfere with lighting quality. Event lighting technicians should have the required skills and equipment to overcome these challenges and enhance the visual experience for the audience.

Video Switchers and Live Streaming Equipment
Video switchers allow you to switch between multiple camera angles during production, providing a more dynamic viewing experience for audiences. Live streaming equipment is essential to broadcast your event across a range of platforms, facilitating audience engagement for remote viewers.

Power and Backup Solutions
Outdoor productions are vulnerable to power interruptions and outages. It’s essential to have backup power solutions in place to ensure continuity of your event in case of power outage or failure.

On-Site Production Management
Establishing a Command Center
Having a command center on-site is essential for managing the production process. The Command center should have access to communication equipment, monitoring systems, contingency plans, and backup solutions, providing coordination between technical and production teams.

Communication and Coordination Among Crew Members
Effective communication between team members is critical to achieving seamless production. You can use different communication technologies such as walkie-talkies, headsets, and phone systems to keep everyone connected during the event.

Managing Talent and On-Screen Personalities
Managing on-screen personalities is crucial to producing a seamless production. Managing talent requires attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and strong relationships with talent agents and representatives.

Ensuring Safety and Security Measures
Safety and security are paramount for outdoor events, and preventive measures should be put in place to safeguard the audience, crew, and equipment. You should have contingency plans in place in case of emergency situations like terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or accidents.

Troubleshooting and Problem-Solving
Even with the best planning and execution, outdoor broadcasts and live events can still experience unforeseen issues. The production team should be prepared to solve problems in real-time, make quick decisions, and have contingency plans to avoid and manage technical issues.

Outdoor broadcasts and live events are a fantastic way to connect with audiences and deliver unforgettable experiences. However, they also come with significant challenges that require careful planning and execution. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can create a seamless production that delivers high-quality sound, video, and production value. Remember, a well-executed production can make all the difference in connecting with your audience and leaving a lasting impression.