1. #1
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    Default Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    live shows of ANY size should ALWAYS include the proper paperwork. it's the only way that an act can properly communicate what they need to get a show done and make sure that the venue and crew is in place to make the show happen. having anything less than this kind of paperwork means you are gambling whether or not you'll have what you need at the show.

    relatedly, when booking a show, it should be perfectly clear and plainly stated as to when you can load in, when you can sound check, who is on a guest list, when exactly you will go on, how and when you will be paid, etc. etc. technical and business considerations all will need to be addressed simply and directly in advance of the show. know who the stage manager or other venue contact is, and know who is going to be running sound (whether it's a traveling person with the band, a house engineer, or an outside company). make sure they have the tech rider, input list, and stage plot in advance. this is totally seperate from a contract or hospitality rider, which they don't give a shit about. keep those seperate so the right people see the things that they care about and aren't swamped with unecessary things.

    in this case, we'll look at the tech rider, input list, and stage plot. the trifecta of tech info for a live show. all real travelling acts do (or should) have this. some are better than others, but a bad set of tech info is as bad as none at all. do it right. have it sent or faxed to the venue far in advance, i'd expect it to get to the venue at the time of booking the show. have additional hard copies available at the day of the show. sometimes that actual paperwork doesn't trickle down to the sound guy like you think it would. so have a copy or two ready to go for the crew that day. and if they don't have the paperwork it probably isn't their fault. just give it to them and help them help you have a good show. like all other obvious live sound considerations, bitching and moaning about things to the guy running sound for you is probably a bad idea and is not likely to ensure that you have a better sounding show that night. if they don't have your paperwork or were told something about your act that is incorrect, they are probably being put in that position by the venue or management and hate that as much as you. smile and roll with it.

    so on to the paperwork. we'll assume all other business considerations and venue manners are covered and get right to a primer on paperwork any band should have. when i was in a band and doing shows, i not only didn't have this, but i didn't know how to put one together. i wouldn't know what to ask for. only now, after having seen MANY tech riders and working with many bands do i even know how i would write one up. so i am passing on the info i know from this side of the soundboard and from the venue perspective to bands in the hopes that more bands can have enough info to get this right and have better shows as a result.

    the three items, a tech rider, input list, and stage plot are close cousins. they are all related to each other. i'll include one example i grabbed from the net just from googling it. the tech rider is a good overview of the technical requirements for the band spelled out exactly. it will include all contact numbers, an explanation of things like what monitor mixes will be needed, stage power requirements, backline rental requirements, and all other technical things.

    an input list is a list for the mixing board of how many channels are used with what will be plugged in to each input, whether outboard gear will be inserted or not, which mic is used, and what group output it goes to per channel. in some cases, if the band is bringing it's own sound person, the inserts and channel assignments can be made in advance so that the incoming tech can get behind the board and get to work right away.

    the one thing used the most by the crew is the stage plot. it's a drawing of the stage indicating where things will be placed, where stage power is needed, where monitors are needed, where mics are needed, and which mics/monitor mixes each item is. with this a stage can be set for a band, including riser placement. this is a helpful thing, and can really help make it so that a sound guy/crew can set up for a band.

    so these brief descriptions give you an idea of what you might want to have ready so that a crew who doesn't know your act can be ready at the venue for you. good tech riders have lots of specifics, including preferred brands, mics, etc. the attached example is a totally decent tech rider. googling might turn up others, however googling for me also turned up tech sheets that i thought were total useless garbage. they should be written by and for tech folks.

    please also allow me to include this link to the funniest and best all time tech rider i'd ever run across. clearly written by folks who have been around the block a few times. it's the first tech rider i've ever seen that was so funny, but still clearly made it's point.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive...1iggypop1.html
    Attached Files
    Last edited by pounce; December 29th, 2006 at 09:49 AM.
  2. #2
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    One thing that I've learned to appreciate are combined stageplot/input lists. That way we only need to carry one sheet of paper on the stage and out at FOH.

    If you can, layout the input list on one side (preferably Left side) of the sheet and the stage plot on the other.

    Here's who needs copies of what;
    Stage manager; courtesy rider, tech rider (contract optional)
    Backline Tech; tech rider, plot
    Monitor Engineer; tech rider, plot, input list
    FOH Engineer; plot, input list
    Lighting; plot

    One thing that also helps on the input list is to not only put a name, but the stage position. If it's a big/busy festival gig, the FOH probably won't get a chance to meet-n-greet "Josh" (or the rest of the band)... He just needs to know if he should be getting Gat1 SL on channel 12... and whether the channel needs phantom or not.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  3. #3
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    The last few big shows I've done the input list and plot were totally wrong and didn't match each other.

    These were pro/international acts.

    So, I've come to realize that part of the paperwork is an actual phone call.
    The Comte


    "all is indecipherable to him who is not prepared; he can see nothing, read nothing in the interior..."
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    maybe 1 out of every 3 tech sheets i am given is outdated in some way. so yes, bad paperwork doesn't help anyone. sucks. that is a much more common problem than it ought to be. this tech info should all be dated, so that you can confirm with the folks over the phone that the stage plot dated december 2006 is the right one to use, for instance.
  5. #5
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    good advice. we've not had any tech paperwork, and i really don't understand why i hadn't thought of preparing some.

    for one, every time i work with a touring band visiting a venue i'm working at, they bring paperwork.

    for another, we have very particular requirements that requires me to explain stuff to the house engineer at every single show we play

    so i've put one together now, hopefully it will save a lot of hassle in the future !

    very useful thread, this one...
  6. #6
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    here is another paperwork reference example provided by dumbass. what i like is that it better represents a proper input list. good input lists show what mic is used (so you know if you need phantom power or not) and whether things like gates or comps are inserted on the channels. it's a great help. the stage plot is good (but i'd prefer if it also indicated who needed stage power).
    Attached Files
  7. #7
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    i don't like the stage plot one bit. i stared at it for whole minute, and it still wasn't immediately obvious what was what.

    stage plots should be glance-ready. i need to see where the wedges are going, and i don't want to spend more than a whole second trying to decipher an idiot diagram that looks more like a flow chart than any useful information. it needs to hurl information at me, not hide it in a sea of polygons.

    if i received one of those prior to a gig, it'd go in the bin, and i'd wait and see what actually turned up on stage, and start asking questions.
  8. #8
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    here's our stage plot, from the tech rider i've just put together

    ok we're a much simpler line-up, and i've not labelled power on it (in the document i state that power is required all across the front for pedals, and all across the back for amps - simple and obvious)

    still, i reckon it's pretty obvious in under half a second what's going on where. doesn't require staring at to glean information from.
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  9. #9
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    i don't like the stage plot one bit. i stared at it for whole minute, and it still wasn't immediately obvious what was what.
    Hate to break it to ya', but guess what... it ain't a real band...

    IT A SAMPLE!

    The concept is what works best for many of us in the one-out production business... ONE sheet with everything you need to get the job on and off the stage.

    So what if it ain pretty... fuck dude, neither are most of the sombiches I work with... but we fuking get the job done!

    So, open a shop making up plots for bands and end the pain in my ass I get having worse looking confusing bullshit than the sample... which most of the time it's from national, AND regional acts.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  10. #10
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Drummer with a girlfriend...has home!
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    Put AC drops in the plot, don't just say "all across the front" and "all across the back".

    What if I've got a 60' wide stage? What part of the front and back am I working with here? Take the guesswork out and draw it in.

    Also, both samples shown have listed "X number drum mics". Don't make a blanket statement like that, because it doesn't tell me what kind of drum mics I need. I don't know if that's micing auxiliary percussion or toms or doubling kicks and snares, or what. Leave that for the input list.

    In addition to the plot and input list, the most most most important part of a rider should be contact info for whoever is advancing the show, because odds are very good that there'll be some minor differences, and we need to talk about those. I would also suggest on all paperwork adding a revision date, so I can tell if Peter Paul and Mary just sent me paperwork from 15 years ago.

    Not that that's happened of course
  11. #11
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    Most of the shows we do are smal, and we so our own setup and provide the PA. This stage plot along with input list/mic needs has worked well for us at bigger places. About the only thing missing that some have said is a revision date.
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    yeah, at the place i work the proscenium opening is 72 foot across, and with wingspace the total deck is about 150 foot wide. it's not terribly deep, around 35 feet, but yes i want to know where i'm dropping power because i need damn long cables no matter what.
  13. #13
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    yeah, at the place i work the proscenium opening is 72 foot across, and with wingspace the total deck is about 150 foot wide. it's not terribly deep, around 35 feet, but yes i want to know where i'm dropping power because i need damn long cables no matter what.
    We do EVERYTHING!! From local clubs with a 20x30 to 48x64 arena's to 60x120 outdoor pavillion's.

    When we're preppin' gigs, we usually know what the size of the stage is and pack AC accordingly. Why? Because NO ONE puts their AC requirements on ANYTHING!

    When I'm backline tech or stuck on monitor beach, I usually string quad's across the front of the deck and gaff em' just downstage of the monitors. I then drop a set of double quads at each of the front corners of the drum riser. The last drop I do is a quad right behind the drum riser. Why? Because NO ONE puts their AC requirements on ANYTHING!

    So, in a sense, the AC thing ain't a biggie to me. I just go ahead and figure on covering the deck so that AC's no more than a 8' radius from any other quad... After that, I'm using a stinger to get power where it's needed.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    On the other side of the coin, I never assume that the AC is right where I need it. In a small bar, a place built in the 1920s or so, having only one quad in the area the band should be playing is a joy. So I have in my keyboard case a power strip with a real long cord on it. I also have it so A Furman in my rack powers everything, So all I need is on outlet.
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  15. #15
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    I found out many moons ago doing bar gigs that the 3 most important things to take on the road were: (In order)
    1. Extension Cords
    2. Extension Cords
    3. Extension Cords
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    Also, both samples shown have listed "X number drum mics". Don't make a blanket statement like that, because it doesn't tell me what kind of drum mics I need. I don't know if that's micing auxiliary percussion or toms or doubling kicks and snares, or what. Leave that for the input list.
    i didn't show the input list which details what mics are going where

    the plot is showing WHERE specific mics are going, the "8 drum mics" thing is specifying that here's where your 8 drum mics which you already prepared thanks to the input list are going !
  17. #17
    wardrobe malfunction investigator Can't buy me love...considering rental options.
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    An up to date input list is a must, a stage plot too, along with some notes. My responsibility to pass this on.

    Now if one cannot use that to determine where to drop AC one needs to go back to school.

    Didn't read my notes??? Didn't pass along the paperwork to the system techs? Go get a job at Mickey D's.
    New digs, eh?
  18. #18
    wardrobe malfunction investigator "Mock Chicken" joke?...could be American.
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    We have a big show coming up on St. Patrick's Day, and this is really the first time I think we've had enough stage experience to have a good idea what we need from our monitor mixes.

    We're a very large band: 14 vocalists, 5 of which are instrumentalists, so most of our shows have been challenging for the sound engineers.

    With 14 performers, we can't expect (and don't need) 14 monitor mixes. I'm thinking 5 mixes, and I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to want in each mix.

    Would I make that part of the tech rider? How specific should I get? Would I go so far as to "assign" channel numbers to each input?
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  19. #19
    wardrobe malfunction investigator "Mock Chicken" joke?...could be American.
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    I took a first stab at a stage plot.

    http://www.poxyboggards.com/advance/stageplot.gif
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    The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

    -Hunter S. Thompson
  20. #20
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    Default Re: Live Show Paperwork - the tech rider, input list, and stage plot primer

    i could use that stage plot, it's certainly covers the basics.

    you could -consider- making things like the power graphics look like lightning or like an electrical outlet to even make it more immediately visually identifiable. i also sort of like the ones that make mic locations look sort of like a mic. (all of the above in simple icon form, not fancy graphics. black and white and simple is preferred). just something i've seen done that also helps move things along real nice. practically a pictograph of the stage. not necessary, but something i've seen that i think is nice.

    it wouldn't hurt to put riser measurements down. they are usually 4x8 feet, and 1 or 2 foot tall each. so saying something like 16x8 riser, 1 foot up lets me know i have to grab four of my 4x8's to make your total riser setup. we venue folks build them based on the stageplot and anything you can create with 4x8 risers works fine for us. in fact, given the amount of folks downstage of the riser you might want to indicate how much room they need - ie: how far upstage is the riser going to be? we often set up shit like this before the band even arrives, so making it so that the crew can work with this sheet only and not have questions means that they can preset some of this stuff. otherwise, you are paying me to come in two hours earlier than you so that i can play cards in the breakroom waiting till you get here so i can ask that same dumb question about riser placement. i know, i know, picky detailed bullshit. but nonetheless it's true, there are some simple minded idiots working in our industry who might just be the ones placing the riser. without this information, they'll put the riser in the wrong spot for sure.

    you mentioned 5 mixes, but your plot lists and breaks down the inputs for 4 mixes. 4 is an excellent number as some smaller mixing boards only have four sends, or four available sends. not an issue for big boards or monitor rigs, but smaller clubs might limit you to 4 mixes. so asking for 4 mixes means you are likely to get that everywhere you go.

    otherwise, a good useable plot. i see worse than that every day.

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