Recently I worked on a show where the client had brought in their own equipment to play the audio from and also their own laptop to play video from. Now this is all well and good but what happens if it does not work the way the client expects or totally fails? Who is then responsible to get things running smoothly.
The first issue I had was the tablet/ ipad device did not play audio that well. It varied the volume of the audio dependent on the amount of background noise. Also the device would go to the lock screen part way through the show, this freaked out the person operating it.Then the lock screen would not unlock, so I offered to get out the CD player, pity they did not have any with them. Well I spent my lunch break solving this problem for them as they implied it was my task as the venue tech to make their show work. They had also supplied a thumb drive with a PowerPoint show on it for me to run on the venues PC. Problem number 2 arises the “embedded” video files did not play. They assumed it was a fault of the venues PC, so they went home and collected their laptop. It was interesting to watch their faces when it also did not work on their laptop. But it was up to me in the next one of my breaks to solve this as well. So I collect up their files etc and re-build their PowerPoint and away we go.
But did I go beyond what was expected off me? Does a venue tech need to know how a clients piece of equipment works? Should we make it a condition of hire that they bring backups in a format that the venue can play. Supposing I could not have solved the problems, especially with the audio and the show is cancelled. Who is likely to be blamed, I imagine the tech is going to be in the firing line. So I suggest when a client walks in with a new piece of kit to play audio or vided the first question is ask is – do you have a back up plan if it fails.