Blog

Cables on wall

Over the last 11 years at Capital A Productions we have had the pleasure of working with some of the best artists in the world in all genres of music. Many of them Icons in their respective fields. Several of them have passed away in the last few years which makes working with them that much more special.

In this business we get asked often if we get a lot of autographs and photos from these shows. The answer to that question can be answered by simply looking at our WALL OF FAME. Here is where we would put all our autographs, photos and memories from years of doing shows. Just take a look for yourself….

Yeah, That is it…it doesn’t exist. It serves us much better as a cable wall. It’s not that most aren’t available for a quick autograph signing or a 5 second selfie. Most of them would oblige I’m sure. There is an unwritten rule in our industry that once an artist steps into the “backstage” area that they are in a safe zone. When they come in for load in and sound check they are just normal every day people showing up for work. It is not...

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safety first sign

Preparation is the key to success. The more you are prepared for any situation, the easier it becomes to divert any emergencies out of your control. Every event is different… Each time you add different variables such as venue, show time, show logistics, equipment needed, distance traveled, etc. you add or subtract time needed to properly set things in place. Our rule of thumb is to start with a minimum of four hours to prepare for an event. Many events require more time and manpower to accomplish everything needed to set up completely. We are sometimes asked, “Why does it take so long to set up for an event?” The answer is quite simple, safety. Yes, there possibly could be a much faster method to setting up, but the safety of your team, your customers, and our crew are way more important than that. When the carnival or fair comes to town would you prefer they get it out of the trucks and up and going as fast as possible, or would you rather they do it properly and safely? When you attend an event or concert, usually there is thousands of pounds of metal hanging directly over...

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broken cd

With lots of holiday events coming up in the near future, here is a list of several components to consider when preparing for a public performance that includes playing pre-recorded music. The more of these items you prepare for, the smoother your performance will be.

1. Responsibility

The venue, sound company, festival planners, or event organizers are NOT responsible for the playing of your music. For some that have been doing this for years, you may have relied on a tape player or CD player to do the job. Most likely, there may not be a CD player on-site unless it is arranged in advance to have one provided. You should consider the music as much a part of your performance as you would your costumes, flags, or stage props. You wouldn’t expect the venue to provide these things, why would you expect them to take care of HOW your music is played?

2. Reliability

CDs can become scratched or damaged if dropped or mishandled. Using digital music can help to safeguard your performance. You can have several copies on-site just in...

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microphones on stand

If I told you that you have been conditioned to accept bad sound… would you think that was a lie? Every time you watch a television show or movie that includes a scene involving a live microphone situation, what is the first thing you always hear? Feedback. I’m sure this is just to relay to the viewer that a live public address system is in use, but should we really be reminded each time? The fact is that with trained professional audio teams and equipment, this feedback should never happen. It always happens in movies even when the president or high public office speaks. You would think that audio engineer assigned to the president of the United States would be qualified to eliminate this simple nuisance.

Another example, chances are that you have attended something in your life where there was a speech or presentation where feedback was present. Was this a result of “bad sound”? Not entirely. It is probably a combination of several things, such as, inadequate equipment for the space, an inexperienced person tasked with “running sound”, and improper microphone placement...

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pie chart

There are two different sides on this issue. On one side, you have those that feel keeping your budget secret is the way to go. The other side knows the importance being transparent with your trusted production provider. I am going to attempt to show you the benefit of using the second method.

In this business we develop long-term relationships with many clients. Over time we begin to learn each other and how each prefers to operate. These relationships are constantly growing and evolving. The majority of the time we deal with people who do not do event planning for a living. These are usually volunteers or committee members who take on the task of event planning and management maybe once or just a few times in their lifetime.

The first consultation usually involves a conversation with terms like “sparkly lights, a stage big enough for a band, bright colors, etc.” This is simply because these people know what they envision but are not sure of the “how”. This is where we can help. Without knowing your budget, we will take this basic information and spend time...

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microphone on money. buy local.

There are several advantages to buying local. The most obvious is to keep your capital in the local economy, stimulating the area where you do your business. But there are some reasons you may not usually think about. As it pertains to event and concert production, buying local has it's advantages. When you give a local provider a chance, you begin a relationship, one that is ever growing as that production company learns your needs and visions. A good production company will provide logical, affordable solutions for your events.

Going local will create the opportunity to know your supplier, face-to-face, earning trust and mutual respect. If you have ever used a company from another city, you have most likely done everything over the phone or through email. This is not to say that it can’t be done this way, but having someone look you in the eye, seeing your passion and drive, sharing your vision, and bringing it to life will achieve outstanding and everlasting results.

Going local means everyone has pride in their community. When events are a success, it creates...

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happy new year 2019

There are several advantages to buying local. The most obvious is to keep your capital in the local economy, stimulating the area where you do your business. But there are some reasons you may not usually think about. As it pertains to event and concert production, buying local has it's advantages. When you give a local provider a chance, you begin a relationship, one that is ever growing as that production company learns your needs and visions. A good production company will provide logical, affordable solutions for your events.

Going local will create the opportunity to know your supplier, face-to-face, earning trust and mutual respect. If you have ever used a company from another city, you have most likely done everything over the phone or through email. This is not to say that it can’t be done this way, but having someone look you in the eye, seeing your passion and drive, sharing your vision, and bringing it to life will achieve outstanding and everlasting results.

Going local means everyone has pride in their community. When events are a success, it creates...

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people moving letters to spell PLAN

When planning an event that includes live music, there are several questions you need to ask in advance to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Below is a more detailed version of the questions and answers as to why you need this information. In most cases, the artist can provide you with a technical or a production rider that will outline what they will need in order to perform. You will want to gather this rider in the beginning of the planning process.

1. Power Requirements:

Most guitar amps, power amps, and other equipment require a great deal of power. Running extension cords all over the venue will probably not do the job and you will run the risk of tripping the breakers in the middle of your event or worse. Most times, a dedicated power distribution system is required to make sure enough clean power is available.

2. Sound Requirements:

Is the artist responsible for bringing the sound equipment or are you, the event planner, required to do so? If it is your responsibility, what does the artist require to put on a show? Make sure you ask...

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no daisy chaining plugs

Have you ever lived in a house or worked in a place that was constantly tripping the breakers? When you tried to use the blender in the kitchen and someone flipped on a hair dryer in the next room, the power draw becomes too much for the particular circuit and the circuit breaker does what it is designed to do... it trips. This is to help ensure a fire does start or at least overheat. These circuit breakers are there to protect your house and your appliances from permanent damage.

This same principal applies to live event production. When your vision involves as many brightly colored lights as possible or a sound system with several large power amps this will put a strain on any 15A or 20A circuit. These are the most common types found in normal electric wiring. Each lighting fixture and power amp as well as anything that requires power has a specific “draw.” This draw is the specific power consumption rating for that specific piece of equipment. Given this information it is a simple math equation to figure out how many can be plugged in at one time on one circuit. It is...

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skull and cross bones

If you work in the live entertainment sector long enough, whether it be performing or organizing, you will have events that stand out in your memory as less than acceptable. Sometimes, it is a sound system that wasn’t what you expected. Perhaps, things that were promised were not delivered. It can even be something as wrong as an unsafe working environment. Some examples could be a less than stable stage, electrical hazards close by, blocked fire exits, or unrealistic working conditions.

As someone who has been hired to perform a task, or has done the hiring, you have the right­ to refuse to work in subpar conditions. This does not mean it is acceptable to be a diva and make unrealistic demands. It does, however, ensure that you will not willingly put yourself or crew in a dangerous situation that may result in injury or even death. No amount of money is worth losing a life.

When looking at a stage for the first time, walk the entire area and visually look for places where it sags or dips. Check the stage legs to make sure they are all secure....

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you talking to me?

I once worked with a guy who was brilliant when it came to part numbers, model numbers, and products, but not so much when it came to communication. We were on a job site once when he asked me to hand him the XT-4100. I searched for several minutes before finding out the XT-4100 was the hammer. We wasted precious working time just because I did not speak his jargon. Wouldn’t it have been much more simple to ask for the hammer in the first place? Yes. Often times people of any industry, especially the audio-visual-industry, forget that not everyone is familiar with our industry terms. In fact probably only about 10% of the people you encounter on a daily basis has any idea of what is needed to provide professional production support. It is more important to speak in outcome as opposed to process.

When I go to a fancy restaurant I look at the pretty images in the menu. I pick my choices from seeing the outcomes. I don’t care or need to know what model of stove the chef uses to prepare my meal. I don’t need to know what type of plate will be used or anything in the process, I...

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lights camera action logo

When filming a movie one of the most important aspects of cinematography, also one of the easiest is lighting. If a scene is too bright you lose all of the feeling of mystery. If is too dark your viewer loses sight of what you intended them to see. The old saying you have heard a million times is “Lights, Camera, Action.” The first word is lights. The other two things can’t happen without it. When you go to a concert or show the musician will usually sound amazing. What you find different in the higher priced shows is lighting. The flare and the flash that makes it a show. If none of that mattered, it would be called a listen not a show. Again this type of lighting is about drawing the viewer’s eye to specific things at specific times, controlling the experience. These same concepts apply to your events as well every time. No matter what type of event you plan you have a goal or message in mind. Something in your event is a planned moment. With lighting you can make sure that message is delivered 100%. Sadly, lighting is sometimes one of the first things cut from a budget....

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weve got your back graphic

Most event planners deal with many types of events. Everything from grand openings to anniversary celebrations to weddings and more. Occasionally they will be called on to provide live entertainment. When it’s not something you deal with everyday t can be a daunting task. The world of pages of entertainment contracts and concert riders becomes a reality. There is no clear-cut way to provide for a band or artist. Each one will come with separate needs and challenges. Knowing how to read a concert rider is the key to making it a flawless process. A rider is a written list of artist requirements to perform. It will include a contract that will stay price, showtimes, show links, etc. The rider will state all items needed in the dressing room. This usually includes meals, snacks, drinks and other various items. We’ve all heard stories of a rock band that requires only green M&M’s in the dressing room. This would have been indicated on this page. There will be a page on technical requirements. This is the information that should be forwarded to your trusted production provider,...

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but wait theres more graphic

Every day we are bombarded with sales pitches. It is often, “Buy one get one free” or “ buy one get the second 50% off” or my favorite “we will double your order absolutely free, just pay a separate shipping and handling fee.” Hardly seems free at that point. Businesses are doing everything they can for you to purchase their “whatever.” Some ploys are in your face up front pressure. Others are more subtle, sometimes even subliminal. What happens if you don’t sell a “whatever?” Is it still possible to offer these types of deals? Sure it is. But the value to the customer isn’t double the whatever the ordered or half off in savings. The value to the customer is so much more valuable than that. Here at CAPITAL A PRODUCTIONS we don’t sell a “whatever” of the day. We sell service. We sell relationships. For when you partner with CAPITAL A PRODUCTIONS you get more than production for your events. You receive confidence. Confidence that your plan will be successful. You receive assurance. Assurance that the event you have possibly spent months preparing is handled by professionals that...

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faith road sign

Yes that is the hook from a George Michael song, and yes you have that in your head for the next two days. Sorry about that, but I had a point to make. Feel free to do the little dance too. Faith is not just a term associated with religion. We all use faith hundreds if not thousands of times a day. Many times without thinking about it. The chair you are more than likely sitting in while reading this, you sat down having faith that it was support you comfortably without cracking or breaking. If you have ever flown on a plane you had faith that the person responsible with your life had gone through the countless hours of training and qualifications to be a licensed pilot. Did you ask to see his credentials? Probably not. You had faith. And it works every day.

When it comes to your business, you spent hours and hours going over every little detail. Your event has to be perfect. As a professional this is just another day at the office, but to your client this is THE day. The wedding she has dreamed about since she was a little girl or the retirement party he has worked 40 years...

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lets get serious graphic

How did we ever survive before the invention of the mobile phone? Where did we go for information about anything? The library? Encyclopedias? (Kids, google it) Where was the best place to find out the answers to our everyday questions? I remember back then and I remember going to those whom I trusted the most. Those who I knew had “been there and done that.” I always confided in those who I knew would have the solution. Today it is all too simple. Just the phrase, “Hey Siri” gets you your own personal information source. Ask anything, she will tell you. Then there is also the aforementioned almighty GOOGLE. Everything and anything is at your fingertips. For the most part it is a great source of information but sifting through all the content to find relevant answers can be overwhelming. We all know that because it is in the internet it must be true. Sounds viable doesn’t it? This certainly isn’t shining a negative light on Googl

e or Siri. I along with millions of people across the planet rely on them every single day. Compared to the fairly recent past they are light years...

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volume knob at 11

This Amp Goes to 11!

There was a fictional movie released in the mid 1980’s about a metal band named SPINAL TAP. It was a fake documentary about the daily lives of a touring band. In one scene, the guitar player, Nigel Tufnel is showing off his equipment. He has a guitar that is so pristine that it can’t be played. It can’t even be looked at. Then his amps all go to eleven. When asked why he said, “when every has their amps all the way up on 10... there is no where else to go. But these amps go to 11, they would be 1 louder. “ It is a funny scene but nowhere near reality. It is a simple fact that if your amp is a 100 watt and goes all the way up to 10 that doesn’t mean it should, ever. If you have a decent car, perhaps a Toyota or maybe even a Ford, most likely your speedometer goes all the way to 160 mph. Should you? Ever? Probably not a great idea. That car was designed to run the best at about 65 mph. A little misconception about guitar amps are that they have to carry your sound to fill whatever venue you are playing. This is not true. Modern sound systems are designed...

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bibbidi bobbidi boo

When you took a chance, a leap of faith and decided to try and make a living planning events yo

I would say that is quite a success. Simple math would dictate if you planned two a week you would be over 100 for the year. I would say that is quite a success. You would undoubtedly be working like crazy to make them all events you can be proud of. The problem that each of us in the industry has to be conscience of whether we be a wedding planner, event specialist, concert promoter, florist, or full production company is forgetting the details. That is quite easy to forget when you are frantically trying to pull an event together before the deadline, while thinking about a wedding next week, a retirement party the week after and the next week and so on. There is only so many minutes in the day. To these type of companies each day is just a day in the work week. One more event completed, more money in the bank. It’s easy to fall into the mindset. I equate that to being like a restaurant that opens its doors for the first time. Business begins slow with just a few customers and...

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sound guy aliens meme

5 things that help you be a better Church Sound Engineer that have NOTHING to do with Sound.

Being a good sound engineer takes time to achieve. There are many things that only come with experience. There are also some things that don’t involve any equipment that will also make you a better sound person. This blog is going to take a look at just a few of them.

#1 Take Control- Take control of your stage. Having ability to make legitimate requests, for instance if a guitar player is too loud, tell them so. If a monitor mix is too loud and affecting the overall mix, turn it down. If anything stands in the way of you being able to provide the best mix possible have the authority to fix it. This does not give you a free pass to be a whip cracking tyrant, but someone to lead the way. Doing affective sound is as much about managing people as it is about managing knobs and faders. Sometimes handling feedback is easier than handling egos.

#2 Always use an order of service sheet- by using an order of service sheet each week you literally get your production team on the...

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run. hide. fight.

During load-in or Site Survey

  1. Identify and designate at least 2 valid exits from your work space.

  2. Identify and designate at least 2 places of safety near your work space

  3. Identify and assign a rally point away from venue to assemble after incident

  4. Introduce yourself and your team to security staff

Once Event Starts

  1. Pay attention to any suspicious packages, people or anything out of the normal

  2. Report any suspicious activity to proper security personnel

  3. Report any unattended boxes, backpacks, packages etc. immediately

  4. Clear area until packages can be determined safe to continue

  5. Make sure your exit points remain clear and unobstructed

In the event of an Active Shooter

1.RETREAT

Create as much distance between you and threat as possible

Do not try and save everyone, get to safety as quickly as possible

Leave your belongings and gear behind

...

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