Handout for Show and Event Production

Show and Event Production

It’s showtime!

The final piece/performance is a culmination of the experience and knowledge gained over the semester. It must utilize at three techniques demonstrated during the course—incorporating motion and sound—with a written statement as to why those techniques were used and the dramatic intent.

This is also the opportunity to include their interests in other disciplines, and to further develop visuals which reflect their own interests.

Over the course of this section, students will work towards completing a single project that will count as the final for this course. It can take one of three forms:

  • Using a selected piece of audio or musical collaboration, create and perform a three minute audio/visual piece.
  • Using a selected piece of audio or musical collaboration, create and perform a three minute demo reel showcasing your work from the semester.
  • Prepare for a 15 minute live performance piece using at least three of the techniques covered over the semester.

Students can work on their own, or in a small group for this project by request at the discretion of the professor.

As we get ready for the final project and performance we will also begin to have a more in depth look at the world of show production and how to prepare for your first big events.

Lesson 1: Pre-Production and Show Design

Using our prepared mood boards and storyboards as a starting points we begin to gather and create the individual elements for the final project / performance. This can take the form of media files such as movies, still images, animated gifs and interactive generators, custom FX, as well as any physical portions that will be needed, such as projection surfaces.

During the pre-production phase it can often be useful to work with other artists and technicians; this can help with filling in knowledge gaps and for being able to accomplish more tasks before a deadline.

In some cases the materials prepared for a show may be arranged in advanced using a system of cues running from timecode, and in other cases the event may be intended to be performed entirely live. Most of the time for event you’ll have a mix of the two, with some parts improvised and other pre-scripted.

As part of planning a show design for events, multi-channel output can add a physical, spatial element to your images, which is a great way to present split screen content, creating an immersive, spatial presentation of imagery. In the event of custom screens or architectural projection, a VJ can use mapping tools to crop and transform the imagery to fit seamlessly into the environment.

In addition to multiple outputs, a VJ might incorporate live-camera feeds into their performance. This adds an additional element of presence for both the performer and the audience, allowing a more intimate window into the processes onstage, making the performer a character in the visual narrative.

Multiple cameras can present different views of the performer at the same time, also called multiple perspective, simultaneity or multiplicity. This allows an otherwise impossible, holistic viewing experience for every member of the audience, regardless of where they stand.

Lesson Overview

  • Using materials from other people
    • Creative Commons: Share, Collaborate, Remix, Reuse
    • What is fair use?
    • Works for hire
  • Introduction to Timecode
    • MTC and LTC
  • Timecode plugin
    • MTC, LTC and OSC sync
    • Time markers
  • Preparing cues
    • Using the Cue List plugin in VDMX
  • Multiple Inputs / Outputs in VDMX

Lecture Notes

  • Using materials from other people
    • Creative Commons
    • Fair Use
    • Works for Hire
  • Introduction to timecode
    • MTC and LTC



  • Continue development of media resources and other elements for the final performance.

Lesson 2: Technical Riders and Contracts

When preparing to perform a show two of the most important documents an artist might prepare are the technical riders and contracts, which can be used to help define the working relationships with other people involved in the project.

As the name suggests, the technical rider includes the everything related to the more technical aspects of your setup, often including detailed descriptions of spacial, electrical and other requirements for a venue, wiring diagrams demonstrating how each piece of equipment should be connected, and contact information of anyone who might need to be reached for any follow up questions.

Contracts can come into play to help specify the scope of a working relationship, whether it is a collaboration or work-for-hire. As an artist you may find yourself on many different sides of contracts. In one situation, you may have a client who is paying you to do certain tasks, such as perform live at an event. In another, you may hire someone else to help with the preparation of materials. For collaborations it can often be useful to have a contract in place to clarify the responsibilities of each individual before a project begins, and specify who has future rights to continue development after the initial work has been completed.

Another detail we will look at in this lesson are the various jobs that are crucial to the lifetime of a show production beyond the artists and performers themselves. In particular, visual artists and VJs may find themselves working closely with, or assuming the role of, the lighting designer (the LD) for a show. The LD also deals with light, color, themes, feelings and time, with many of the same intentions as the video side of a performance, and there are an enumerable number of ways to use the two techniques together to reach the level of epic event production.

Lesson Overview

  • What jobs are involved in a large show production?
  • What is a technical rider?
  • Overview of cables, adapters and other equipment.
  • Client contracts.

  • Working with lighting designers.
  • Design considerations; when can light / video elements work together, when do they work better alone?
  • Using VDMX as a DMX controlled media server
  • Sending DMX from VDMX

Lecture Notes

  • What jobs are involved in a large show production?
    • Artists / Performers (openers, headliners)
    • Tour & Show Managers
    • Technicians
    • Lighting designers (LDs)
    • Camera operators
    • Stage hands
    • “Runners”
  • Technical rider examples and templates
    • Review of cables, adapters and other equipment
    • Considerations for different types of performance venues
      • Clubs
      • Arenas
      • Festival shows
      • Theaters
      • Art galleries
  • Contracts
    • When do you need a contract?
    • What goes in a contract?
  • History of DMX / ArtNet


  • Technical rider starter template
  • Artist contract template
  • Work for hire contract template


  • Create an example technical rider for your dream setup / tour that includes:
    • Contact information.
    • A list of equipment you’ll provide.
    • A list of equipment you need the venue / producer to provide.
    • Drawings for one or more possible stage / set design variations and layouts.
    • One or more flow charts showing how each piece of equipment is connected and laid out within the stage / set design.
    • Hospitality / green room requirements.
  • Continue development of media resources and other elements for the final performance. If doing live performance, prepare for rehearsals; if making music video or demo reel, have rough cut ready for feedback.

Lesson 3: Getting gig ready, Rehearsals and Performances

Lesson Overview

  • Rehearsals and revisions
  • Preparing a rig for travel
  • Performances

  • Creating backups
    • Backing up to hard drives / USB thumbdrives
    • Using GitHub for code storage
    • Online backup: Google Drive / Backblaze
  • Making a packing guide
    • Travel cases
    • Gear checklists
  • Being on site

  • Video editing tools
    • Introduction to iMovie / ScreenFlow and basic non-linear editing
    • Creating a demo reel

Lecture Notes

  • Rehearsals and revisions
    • Preparing for rehearsals
    • Constructive feedback
    • Revision plans
  • Preparing a rig for travel
    • Getting road ready
  • Performances
    • Setup
    • Teardown


  • Packing checklist template


  • Make a packing checklist template that covers all of gear and other potential needs.
  • Make a back-up of all of your show production files using a USB drive and / or online storage.
  • Complete final project.