The Benefits of Using CTS Event Staff Over Your Internal Team
Published on: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 7:00am
When you’ve spent months pouring time, energy, and money into a conference or event, it’s not unusual to want a sense of control over the staffing. You might want to bring in your own engineers to run the technical aspects instead of using your AVL partner’s people.
Let me tell you why I don’t recommend it.
Two Reasons Clients Choose Their Own Staff
Clients usually want to bring in their own people for one of two reasons. First, they might already “have a guy” who performs their in-house technical services.
Maybe a church wants to use their regular sound engineer who mixes once every three weeks during service. And he might be terrific at it! But a live conference is not a church service, and it’s not a great time to learn on the fly.
The other situation we often see is a client feeling like they need to hire a third party to work under them and run the show. This is often an audio engineer they bring in — but who they’ve never worked with before.
What Problems Can This Cause?
With In-House Personnel
One of the biggest problems we see with in-house personnel is poor sound quality, which can happen for a few reasons. Most in-house personnel are either volunteers, or are only really getting opportunities to mix once a week. On top of that, most of the work in churches is reoccurring, meaning personnel are not building new mixes daily. Our team, on the other hand, is proficient in mixing new events on the fly almost every day.
Another issue is equipment. If they aren’t familiar with the equipment your AVL partner is bringing in, your sound quality will suffer.
Beyond that, an in-house sound guy or gal won’t have experience listening to requests or instructions while they’re running the show, which can lead to flubs and miscommunications. And since you know this person and see them regularly, you might not feel comfortable giving them feedback or telling them exactly what you want.
With Third Parties
If you hire a third-party audio engineer, you’re not as likely to run into the same problems as you would with your in-house technician. However, the most common problem here is that you don’t know what you’re going to get in terms of attitude, communication, and personality.
A lot of third-party engineers and technicians come in and do their jobs with skill and without ego. Sometimes though, you can get a person who’s up in arms about the equipment choices, the timeframe, or other factors. They feel they should have had more input early on in the process, and their dissatisfaction leads to a poor attitude.
Third-party engineers won’t be familiar with your AVL partner’s communication rhythm, which can introduce strain. They might be perfectly qualified to do the job, but they won’t know how to communicate effectively and they won’t have rapport with the team.
Personality is another wild card you can’t predict. You might end up with a wonderful third-party engineer who’s an effective and helpful team player. Or you might not.
It’s not that bringing in a third party can never work. However, when it comes to a live event, you want to control every variable you can to ensure the highest chance of success. Bringing in an unknown factor (like a freelance worker) just creates unnecessary friction.
Whether we’re talking about an in-house sound engineer or a third-party technician, it’s a variable you don’t want to gamble with.
What Should You Do Instead?
Different types of engineers do different jobs. There are some wonderful band engineers who are not accustomed to managing sound for prominent speakers (think headsets or lavaliers versus mics for artists), and the other way around. Others are great at hitting their cues on time, but musically can’t pull it together.
It takes experience and expertise to know who is needed for what job.
My best advice here is to trust your provider. This is their area of expertise. They’ve already done all the vetting for you and produced a competent, unified AVL staff who do nothing but run live shows 200 times a year.
Let Your AVL Partner Help You Succeed
With all of the above said, CTS isn’t opposed to working with in-house staff. In fact, we love setting your team up for success.
We do events all the time with church personnel in the youth group. It’s often the biggest show they do all year, and they should be involved (if they’re qualified). We’re happy to do all the knob-twisting behind the scenes so they can just push the faders and have a great time.
New Work Fellowship is a great example of a church that seamlessly integrates their own staff with ours for live events. They’re very collaborative, and it makes working together easy — and successful.
So don’t worry, we’re not out to take anyone’s job. We simply want to make you look good by doing the job you’ve paid us to do.