You might have remembered when we put together our “Live Event Toolbox” a while ago. We wanted to give it an update and have put together a top ten list of items to keep in your tech booth. Whether you’re doing a multi-city tour, a weekly church service, or one off event, you really need to throw these ten items in your workbox.
How many times have you been on an event that you had all the graphics, media, title slides ahead of time? I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have been doing an event that someone didn’t need to give me a piece of media last minute. Don’t waste time downloading it or waiting for an emailed link. Have a reliable USB Jump Drive or Bus Powered drive with plenty of free space to grab their media. This will make your life easier. Keep a jump drive in your pocket. You can get one 128gb jump drive for about $25-30 online.
The flashlight built into your iPhone is fine for making sure you don’t trip walking around in the dark trying to find the bathroom at night, but it’s not a suitable solution for live events. Keeping a small format flashlight on you during events will help you immensely. Whether you’re trying to track down a cable behind stage or connect your video lines behind the desk, getting a flashlight just makes it easier.
I have a Leatherman that I carry with me on all events. Whatever brand you prefer, having a multitool on your belt will make your event days so much easier. From snipping zip ties and cutting tape, to quick gear fixes and more, a good multitool can do it all!
Zip ties come in handy for any number of tasks. The biggest being cable management and strain relief. HDMI connectors can come out simply, and other connectors can pull on your equipment hurting both the cable and what it’s connected to. Zip tie cables to handles or other rigid structures to help keep everything going.
Label everything. Seriously, there’s nothing more frustrating than than going to move a fader, make a cue, etc. than not being able to find the right place. This is especially the case when using off board midi controllers, etc. Additionally, label your cables. Board tape works well in a pinch to identify the end of each cable so you know what you’re working with. This will save tons of time from having to trace your cables back and forth in case of troubleshooting.
Sharpies go hand in hand with the board tape, but be sure you have some handy. Don’t use pens, pencils, or other markers to label with. Sharpies are easy to read and stay on most any surface. (Side note, have a small bottle of rubbing alcohol or some alcohol wipes nearby incase you get sharpie on a surface you don’t want it on…it’ll help get it off quickly.)
While a multitool is great for many things, tightening bolts on trussing, lighting, projector mounts, and more is just not one of them. Throw a small c-wrench on a carabiner and attach that to a belt loop. Easy access during loadin, the event, and load out. This one has saved me so much time it’s crazy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cup of coffee or a bottle of Mt. Dew when the time calls for it, but staying hydrated means drinking plenty of water. If I’m being honest, I feel the best on events that I ditch the soda entirely and keep the water flowing all day long.
Don’t overlook mints. After a morning of coffee, a couple of meals, and 10 hours away from your toothbrush, you, and those around you, will be thankful for this tip.
Whether you need to write a to-do list, a phone number, or make changes to the set list, having a pen and paper to jot these items down is the best and easiest way to grab that info. There’s nothing wrong with putting it in your phone or computer, but we all know that notifications pop up on the digital devices we interact with all day and things get looked over. Pen and paper give you a great place to start.