I did a gig a while back where the organisers were VERY keen to have IMAG.
We had the gear, we had the crew, we had the time, but we said no.
Read on to understand why…
This was a venue we had been in lots of times and had done IMAG there lots of times before, so there was a lot of precedent for doing it.
The venue was fairly large, and there was some benefit from having IMAG, but it wasn’t essential and we had done similar gigs there before with no IMAG and it was fine.
The main reason that we decided not to offer IMAG this time was to minimise risks. We knew from previous experience that we would be very pushed for time to set things up and we were introducing some other changes to the setup – A starcloth behind the screens, front-projection rather than rear-projection etc. – that would potentially soak up a lot of our setup time, so something had to give.
There was no point just loading in all the same old gear and hoping for the best. It would be better to do a bit less well, than to try to do everything and fail.
In the end we did agree to set up one camera as a ‘special’ for a particular part of the event that really woudn’t have worked without it being visible to everyone.
So…how did it go?
Well, it DID take longer to set up than expected, and we DID run out of time, and it was just as well that we didn’t have another 4 cameras to set up as we wouldn’t have made it and would have been stressed out and catching up for most of the event.
So in this case it was the right decision to reduce our risks and doing a less ‘Techie’ show well was better than doing a more ‘techie’ show badly.
To be fair, there were a couple of complaints from some of the audience that they coudn’t see everything, but overall I think it worked fine and it made the event ‘do-able’ rather than a disaster and that’s what counts in the end.
Will we say ‘No’ next time? Maybe. Maybe not – you have to look at the overall question, not just the specifics.
The tendency to just go with the flow is especially dangerous with regular events, where you end up not asking the critical questions about why you are doing what you are doing and if there is a better way.