Happy, happy new year everyone! As your friendly AVGirl, I hope you’re enjoying the columns and that I am fulfilling your needs of learning about the AV industry in a non-intimidating and informative manner.
Let’s wrap up our discussion on who those people are in your AV neighborhood. In October we covered who should be the go-to people for any member of your planning team or client organization (the PM and TD – you should know what those acronyms mean by now … if not, time to go back and study!). In December, we covered the important positions of video and audio professionals. Now we’ll look at lighting and other positions.
Your lighting team can be as extensive as a team of lighting design consultants who create and program an elaborate light show or as simple as one person who does the design and “driving” of the lighting console. For most of us, our corporate and association events require only the essential lighting needed for stage illumination, fixtures to project gobos and maybe some stage accent and room ambience lighting (such as moving lights or fog/haze devices to help create some texture and color in the room).
Generally, this set-up would require one or two people, the Lighting Designer (LD) and Operator (sometimes the same person). This person (or team) carefully assesses the lighting needs ahead of time and creates a light plot (scale drawing) and specs on instruments required. They will then program the show and operate the control instruments on the day of the event. The Operator generally sits at the main production booth with the TD or Stage Manager. They might be the most difficult to identify, as their lighting console could be confused with the audio console to an untrained eye. I’ve found that many of the consoles have small little trackballs and this can be a clue that this is the lighting console. While you should still go to your TD or PM first, you could also address any matters of your choice of lighting colors, brightness of the stage or similar topics with the LD or Operator.
A2, Projectionist, Master Electrician
Another important person is the A2. This person is second in command to your Audio Engineer and will be there for assisting your speakers with microphones and any other necessary jobs required by the Audio Engineer. They will usually sit as close to the stage as possible. Other positions that are just as important but that you have less of a chance of interfacing with might include a Projectionist and Master Electrician (ME). A projectionist will design and sometimes set-up your projection to achieve your desired goals. These engineers can determine how a stack of 4 projectors will blend to create one single image … really fascinating work.
The ME is responsible for overseeing electrical power and cabling for the lighting and will often be found in close proximity to the LD or Operator.
There are at least another half dozen positions I could think of to discuss, but this will at least give a basic overview of the common AV professionals who are working with you to achieve a perfect event.