The "Run Of Show"

The "Run Of Show"

A "run of show" is a tool that we use for almost every event. It is a way of simplifying and distilling information that is essential to running a live show. At its core, a run of show is a document that lays out the timing, program, and content for each moment of an event. These documents help us to keep shows of all scales running smoothly. 

Run of Show Document

Big moments are important, but the small moments & transitions between them can make all the difference - and each second of screen time or audio is significant. This is why we have experienced content managers & show directors to lead our on-site teams, and these run of show documents help us to work together with a clear understanding of the event.

RWDevCon Westin Alexandria backstage

They also help us to collaborate with clients and clarify details of the schedule so that their team members are informed, prepared, and confident. 

TEDxCharlottesville backstage

To help you build a run of show for your event, we've put together a template that you can use as a jumping off point! In this Excel document, you'll find a blank template spreadsheet and some general instructions to help you get started, as well as an example spreadsheet to give you an idea of how it might be used or filled out.

If you have any questions, or if you need assistance creating a run of show for your upcoming event, please reach out and we'd be happy to assist you!

9 Ways to Punch Up Your Conference


9 Ways to Punch Up Your Conference

When it comes to conferences, especially recurring ones, it can be difficult to find ways to excite your attendees and inspire enthusiasm time and time again. Perhaps you've even fallen into the trap of repeating every element of an event from year to year, simply because it worked the last time. If you're searching for ways to bring your next event up a level, here are nine tactics you can use to punch up your conference!


For starters, you'll want to make sure that the person hosting your event is lively and engaging. Try to choose someone with a natural stage presence who feels comfortable speaking to your audience as a friend or mentor. 


Audience participation can mean polling your audience or requesting questions for Q&A's, but it can also mean fun activities like games and raffles! We frequently use UMU for audience participation - it is easy for attendees to interact with on mobile devices, comes with lots of templates for fun interactions, and provides you with a great interface to show onscreen! 


One way to get your attendees excited is with dynamic, concert-like lighting & atmospherics! Use it to open your day, or to give emphasis to key moments or entrances. (And as a plus, it'll make your speakers feel like rock stars!)


Pair an LED video wall with some exciting video content, and you've got yourself one impressed audience! Click here to learn more about our video walls, or check out last month's blog post to see some of the other benefits of using an LED wall for your event (Seven Ways to Make the Most of Your Video Wall).


Nothing brings a drifting audience back like an exercise break. Especially effective in the mid-afternoon, exercise breaks can help to alleviate fatigue and get attendees re-engaged, whether it's with a few jumping jacks or a whole five-minute dance party. (Bonus points if you bring in an expert to teach a new exercise technique!)


High production value can make the difference between a "blah" conference and a "so when's the next one?!" conference. Details like discreet wireless microphones, assigning backstage runners to attend to speakers, and having content managers to handle on-screen transitions allows your event to run seamlessly, like a show. Producing your event in this way can provide your attendees with an elevated experience that makes them feel valued and excited for what comes next.


As much as we love the flexibility that digital screens give us, there's no denying the impact of a visually interesting physical set piece. Whether it's simple or detailed, big or small(ish), a physical set can be impactful in a unique way that is hard to replicate with digital media.


Bringing back those concert-like vibes! Image magnification, or IMAG, means having a close-up view of your presenters shown on screen. This increases visibility for attendees who are farther away, and helps them to stay engaged.


Big finishes are often underrated! Use the last moments of your event to make a splash (this may be where that dance party comes in!), and keep attendees talking about your conference even after they've left!


Thinking about using any of these ideas for your next event, but not sure where to start? 


Event Design in After Effects

Event Design in After Effects

We've shown you how we use SketchUp to lay out event sets and create 3D models, and we've shown you how we use Photoshop to create more realistic drawings and renderings of our designs. But there's another tool that we use to enhance our creativity and prepare more thoroughly for events:

TEDxCville Design in After Effects - Motion Graphics
After Effects for Event Design

After Effects is a motion graphics and compositing program that we use to create animated video content for a variety of uses, from projection mapping to design visualization!

Sometimes we use After Effects to create custom motion graphics for use at events. If our client already has some graphics or event-specific visuals that they are working with, our creative team will work with them to expand upon those elements and create effective content for their specific application.

Virginia Film Festival Animation in After Effects


It can be helpful to see video content in use and get a better idea of how it will read in the event space, so sometimes we will use After Effects to drop the content into a rendering to get a realistic preview. Seeing the video play out in the space also helps us in our creative process, and sometimes gives us better ideas on how to use content to complement the set!

UVA Main Street Arena Party Motion Graphics Rendering in After Effects


Sometimes we use this program to visualize the timing of the content and to coordinate transitions within the event. This is especially helpful in clarifying the run of show when there are lots of assets or screens to be managed.

VASHRM Motion Graphics Design in After Effects


These practices also help us to identify visual weak spots in the program that could use more "oomph", or to spot areas of the set that need separate content at a specific point in the program.

S&P OPSCON Motion Graphics Stage Design Preview

We love finding new ways to push our creative boundaries and continue to provide the best possible service for our clients, and After Effects allows us to better communicate our ideas and maintain a collaborative energy with your team. By integrating design visualization and graphics production into our creative process, we are able to offer full-service event production that reflects our clients' goals at every step!