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Top 4 Live Production Challenges at SXSW

Jan 27, 2020

SXSW is one of the top festivals in the US each year.

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SXSW is one of the top festivals in the US each year. With the convergence of film, music and tech, South By has something to offer for everyone. Brands and media companies often use SXSW as an opportunity to showcase new technology or upcoming releases, which is why SXSW is an ideal event for live production. But producing live programming from Austin isn’t easy. Here’s a look at the top 4 live production challenges at SXSW.

1. Lack of Parking

Parking at SXSW is a bit of a nightmare, which not only effects load-in logistics, but also impacts where your production crews can park. Road closures, permitting restrictions and an influx of cars make it especially difficult to find space for a vehicle. Getting a sense of which roads are closed, what permits or permission is required, and exactly how much flexibility you have when bending rules is important to establish well in advance. We always come up with a list of nearby garages and a plan A, B and C for load-ins and deliveries.OTT consulting, broadcast consulting, show development, content development, production services, live production, video production companies, live video production companies, video streaming, live streaming, OTT services, OTT providers, OTT companies, OTT operators, OTT, over the top television, production staffing

2. Availability of Live Production Transmissions

Cellular and bandwidth demands are at a premium during South By. More demand can mean more strain on  your connections, which means it’s important to plan for a primary and redundant transmission option. Our top choice for all our live production projects is always fiber; however, that’s often limited and requires a long lead time if the circuit needs to be constructed. Assuming fiber isn’t available, a dedicated internet circuit will suffice. The key is to lock in your internet orders as early as possible and to make sure that your connection is dedicated – you don’t want to be sharing bandwidth with other activations (especially if you’re live streaming). And make sure you have contact info for the in-house network engineer or ISP. It’s important to know who to call if you’re not getting the right signal strength.

3. Access to Live Production Resources

Not surprisingly, production resources are in high demand during SXSW. This means everything from equipment to personnel can be tough to find. It’s important to book your equipment and crew as early as possible. When securing rentals, plan some level of redundancy in the event you need to accommodate last minute client requests – finding additional gear locally may not be an option. We like to build a list of local rental houses and equipment shops prior to the show so we know who to call if we need to source something quickly.OTT consulting, broadcast consulting, show development, content development, production services, live production, video production companies, live video production companies, video streaming, live streaming, OTT services, OTT providers, OTT companies, OTT operators, OTT, over the top television, production staffing

4. Lack of Travel Options

As with everything else on this list, booking early is the key. Travel accommodations are no different as Austin can fill up fast. We usually look to book AirBnb’s instead of hotels. They give you a comfortable place to crash and generally come with a few free parking spaces, which can come in handy.

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If you’re looking for live production support at SXSW, Broadcast Management Group can help. Contact us any time to discuss your SXSW production needs.

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!