Event production is the magic that makes the action happen. You’ll find most of what you need for event production in our TEDx Production Guide — this is what your production team will be primarily using for your event. In the meantime, here’s a general outline.
Any event producer knows that there is a lot to cover when it comes to event production. The key to success is to plan ahead, and take care of your needs as early as possible. Here are the need-to-knows that will guide you in your production planning:
Your video and production manager should create a production schedule and checklist, so you make sure you have everything covered. This includes the very smallest of details: At what time and where will your equipment will get loaded into the venue? (Hint: the day before the show.) Who is the point person for video setup? Logistics should be a priority in your production planning.
Equipment and crew
There’s a good chance you will have multiple people managing the production of your event. Make sure you have enough people to cover all tasks, and that everyone knows each other well. You should also have a list of the equipment needed for each aspect of production.
Your microphones are one of the most important components of a TEDx event. After all, this is what your speakers will be using to communicate their story to the audience. You’ll want to double, triple and quadruple check that all mics are working, and that the audio is optimized for the space you’re in. Audio recording is another big consideration — if the audio on your talks is bad it will have less chance of being considered for TED.com.
Slides and projector
All of your live speakers should rehearse using their slides to make sure that they work. Speakers will either have a remote to change slides themselves, or you’ll need to give someone the sole task of changing slides. You’ll also want to make sure all of the slides are in the right order, according to the event program.
Remember that your lighting is for a video production. Creating an environment on stage that works for the camera is very different from your standard stage lighting for a play or conference. If possible, consult with a lighting director familiar with video production.
You’ll want your video production to be at its highest quality so that you can share your local TEDx speakers with the world. Our Production Guide has all of the relevant information on video production, including appropriate equipment, camera angles and livestream needs.
What kinds of technical needs do you have for both recording your live talks and featuring your recorded TED Talks? Will you have someone to fill the role of technical assistant, in case any problems arise? Will your event have wi-fi? Hire or task someone with tech experience with the role of technical director to make sure all your tech needs are in place.
Make sure you have electric outlets in the right places, and/or enough extension cords. You should also know where the circuit breaker is in your venue, in case of a blown fuse. Ask the owner or manager of your venue if there are other electricity needs you should be aware of.
The big day
On the day of the event, your production crew and manager should have an easy and reliable form of communication to be in constant contact with each other. We encourage a two-channel Clear-Com system or similar party line system: one channel for the tech director to call lighting and presentation cues, and one for the camera director to relay orders to each cameraperson. This system allows for overlapping dialogue, and is much more effective than walkie talkies during the event.
All relevant members of your executive staff should also be able to easily contact key people in your production crew, in case anything should go wrong.
Next section: Speakers + program
- There’s a good chance you’ll need a budget for production costs. Your event producer and/or video and production lead should talk to your financial manager about creating a budget for things like a production crew and tech assistance.
- The devil is in the details. One missed production detail can make for a big problem. Having more than one person create your production schedule and checklist can avoid any minor details that may be missed.