Why it is Essential to Have Backup Equipment During an Event

Why it is Essential to Have Backup Equipment During an Event

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By Billy King, Director of Operations – Alford Media

You’ve spent months planning your event. You’ve gathered all of the resources you need, including the proper lighting, sound, and equipment. The event’s infrastructure is favorable — the venue has high ceilings, a limited number of chandeliers and is perfect for rigging. The speakers are well-prepared to wow attendees with their presentations.

On the day of the show, everything appears to be running smoothly when suddenly a lighting board and KePro recorder goes down. You don’t have backup systems, and the crew is scrambling to find replacements in a city that isn’t known for its audio and visual prowess and technology.

Sounds like the stuff of an event professionals’ nightmares, right? Fortunately, you can avoid such an event from happening.

“Not having backup systems can sink a show before it begins.”

Backups Are Critical Components of Events
There are event technology companies that value backup systems just as much as their starting lineup.

We recommend having at least one backup for each main system at all critical points wherever possible. The exception might be laptops, where the company recommends one or two additional computers, but won’t necessarily suggest more because there’s a slim chance a large number of backups crash.

Backup recorders are incredibly important. We suggest that engineers always carry with them an H264 recorder. At Alford, one of the main recorders we use is KePro, and we never send just the exact number that’s needed.

Backups Can Be a Show’s Lifeline
Event equipment can be fragile, as much of it was designed for life in a studio. While it does wonders to make shows come to life, these machines weren’t typically built for the rigors of show business, which often involves a lot of traveling. That’s why it’s crucial to have proper backup systems at every event.

In the unlikely chance something goes wrong, it’s a good idea to always have at least one backup at critical points like projection, record or graphics so we can get a program back up. If you lose one of the cameras for a little bit, you can always go to graphics or another camera to cover yourself.

Why Backups are Essential

The same can be said about PlaybackPro’s and lighting consoles. For gear that isn’t always reasonable to add a back up, like an audio console, we always want to have redundant power supplies as a fail safe for those main points.

Not having backup systems can sink a show before it begins, costing both the planning company and its client thousands of dollars in the form of lost revenue.

Backups Can Be City Dependent
Earlier we mentioned that some cities are not known for their AV capabilities. It’s vital to know before an event which cities can support your programming endeavors and tech needs. This information will determine if backups can be reasonably found locally in the event of a failure and who your best source is. If there are few to no equipment resources in that area it will determine what kinds of backups you’ll want to send on site and how many.

Cities like Orlando or Las Vegas are known huge audio, video, and lighting cities, so there’s a lot of vendors to tap into if we do have a failure on a piece of gear. It’s generally pretty easy, even up to a large format projector, to get a unit locally if we have to in places like that.

On the flip side, many midsize cities like Kansas City and San Antonio aren’t known to have as many resources to tap into and, therefore, the company would likely have to ship backups to the event.

It’s important to resolve these logistical challenges weeks ahead of time because they’ll have a direct impact on budget, and plans and development.

If you’re contemplating whether or not that spare part is worth it, trust us when we say, it’s likely worth much more than you think. Backups may never be used (which is a good thing), but if they are needed, they can save the show and everyone involved money, time and logistical (and often unrecoverable) headaches.



Alford Media