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A Peek Inside BMG’s Tech Book

Jun 8, 2017

We’ve put together our fair share of production books over the years.

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We’ve put together our fair share of production books over the years. With each project, the scale and complexity of our “production bible” seems to expand. We’re not willing to share all our secrets, but here’s a peek inside our tech book.

Logistics

The trick with tech books is to be clear, succinct and make information easy to find. This can be a challenge for larger jobs – the bigger the production, the more logistics there are to coordinate. In general, we make sure to include detailed instructions on where to enter the venue, where parking may be available, where crew should meet once they arrive and what the dress code is. And of course, we put together detailed schedules that include information on crew breaks and call times.

Production Resources

For remote productions, we like to add an addendum to our tech book that maps out amenities in the surrounding area so we know where to turn if we need supplies. This includes everything from local restaurants and coffee shops (caffeine is essential for any live production) to local hardware stores, electronics stores and rental houses. Not only is this helpful for PA’s who need to run errands, but it also helps us get a lay of the land prior to the production if we’re working in a new venue or location.

Seating Charts

Yes, seating charts. We like to map out where our technical crew will be stationed inside our mobile unit so there’s no confusion on production day. Certain positions are obvious (seating an A1 anywhere other than the audio board doesn’t make much sense), but other positions are a bit more strategic. We also need to account for clients and producers who need to be in the truck, so creating seating charts helps us get an accurate headcount as space is often limited. 

Camera Placements

We’ll work closely with our director to map out the exact camera compliment that they prefer for the production. Once we have that, we’ll overlay the camera layout on top of the venue’s floorplan so we can get an idea of the exact placements. We’ll add to that the cable runs and build-out specs for each camera so our utilities and camera ops know what they’re getting into ahead of time. We often print individual sections of our tech book for our camera ops and utilities that pertain specifically to their role. That way we’re not wasting paper and we’re giving the the most relevant info.

Audio Assignments

Getting an accurate headcount on mics, IFBs, headsets and walkies is a key part of the pre-production process. We like to create grids within our production book that account for primary and back-up talent mics and IFBs. We’ll do the same for comms – mapping out belt packs, walkies and headsets. This helps us to ensure we have appropriate technical resources, but also serves as a guide for our A2s on our setup day.

Record & Playback Channels

Mapping out the available record and playback sources is key for our EVS op, but this also helps us to ensure we have enough horsepower to accommodate our client’s needs. As part of our record / playback planning, we’ll create a grid of pre-produced packages so we can account for all of the creative content that’s supposed to be integrated into the live show.

Transmissions

Transmissions are perhaps the biggest technical component of any live show. We like to include confirmations of all our bookings along with key contact info. Depending on the project, our transmissions section may also include encoder information and streaming workflow diagrams if we’re going live to the web.

Of course this is only a small taste of what’s inside our full tech book. If you want to see the real deal, contact us about our live production services.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!