A Glossary of Live Event Terminology
Let's be honest- when it comes to AV, sometimes it can feel like a different language. It can take years to get up on the lingo, but now you can in just 5 short minutes thanks to this handy-dandy reference page of live event terminology! You'll be able to say things like, "Quick! Go get the Keynote! There's a problem with the Presidential... You'll probably find them in the Green Room going over their APT notes!" like a pro. Compiled from various sources and last edited- 10/24/17
ARS (Audience Response System) - Generic term for any of a number of audience polling technologies, also known as "ART" (Audience Response Technology) or "APT" (Audience Participation Technology). The most common systems consists of a wired or wireless keypad with numbers, on which audience members can input their answer to a specific given question. Results can usually be displayed almost immediately after polling has concluded.
Aspect Ratio - Literally the ratio of the width to the height of a video screen, as opposed to the physical dimensions of the screen. The two most popular aspect ratios in modern projection are 4:3 ("traditional" or "full-screen") which is closer to a square in shape, and 16:9 ("widescreen") which is noticeably more rectangular. Modern high definition screens and projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio, again regardless of their size.
Back of House - A misnomer, created from a combination of "backstage" and "front of house". Basically means backstage.
Bio / Bio Break - "Biological Break". A nice way of saying bathroom break. Usage: "Take a bio, everyone", "A2 going off headset for a bio."
Call Time - The time cast, crew and/or equipment is required to be ready to work.
Confidence Monitor - A downstage video monitor that most often doubles what's on the main projection screens. It is for the convenience of the speaker on stage, and it gives the speaker the "confidence" to not have to awkwardly turn and look at the main projection screens- instead they can just glance down and know their presentation is properly synched. Depending on the size of the stage there can be more than one.
DDR - Direct to Disc Recorder. A hard disc recording device (not unlike a consumer DVR or TiVo) capable of recording audio and video. DDR has also come to refer to any number of "non-tape" digital playback machines and software.
Doghouse - A Confidence Monitor, especially when covered or shielded from the audience in the form of a little "house" made of fabric or hard panels.
Double-Stacked Projectors - Often two video projectors are focused onto a single screen giving two primary benefits: 1) the resulting brightness is increased, and 2) the second projector serves as backup for the other. The projectors are most commonly “stacked” on top of each other. Sometimes called "Running Spares."
Downstage - The area of the stage closest to the audience in a traditional theater setup.
Downstage Monitor (DSM) - A monitor placed downstage (see above), in full view of the stage, placed for the presenter's benefit. May display notes, powerpoint, scripting, or other pertinent information. See also: Confidence Monitor.
Foldback - Another term for Confidence Monitor.
Front Projection - When video or slides are projected onto the front of a screen, usually meaning the projectors are in, above, or behind the audience.
Front of House - Traditionally everything on the audience side of a theatre proscenium. As most event sets do not have a proscenium, it means basically everything on the audience side of the stage. FOH
Green Room - A room or area for the cast, speakers, or performers to prepare or wait for their time on stage.
House - Refers to the entire venue, but is generally used as short for Front of House.
IMAG - Image Magnification. Video cameras capture close up views of speakers, performers, or products which are projected onto large video screens, allowing a large audience to see details.
Keynote - 1. A speaker at an event that is the main draw or is top billed. 2. That speaker's actual speech or timeslot. 3. Apple's presentation software (sometimes referred to as keynote.app to make searching online easier and to differentiate from "keynote speakers") See PowerPoint.
Lav Mic - Lavalier Microphone. A (usually wireless) microphone that clips onto a lapel or shirt.
Line Array - A series of stacked speaker cabinets (usually flown from the front truss or ceiling) that helps send focused sound over large audiences by pointing successively further and further back in audience. This "aiming" often gives line arrays a curved shape if you look at them from the side.
Line Cut - A video record of the live camera switching performed by the Video Director. Usually used as a reference for later post editing, or for archiving. Does not traditionally include other program items, such as video or presentations.
Line of Sight - Refers to what can and can’t be seen in a direct line by an audience member or sometimes a piece of equipment like a light or video projector.
Monitors (Video or audio) - Video monitors are televisions designed specifically for reference by technicians, crew, or performers. Audio monitors are speakers pointed back at the performers for reference or musical purposes.
PIP - Picture in Picture. The ability to layer video or presentation materials. Most often seen in the context of panoramic (or ultra-wide) screens, where the IMAG is being layered over branded imagery or presentations, rather than filling the entire screen.
PowerPoint - Name commonly used for any type of computer-generated graphics that support a presentation, like speaker notes, graphs, etc. Although used now generically from Microsoft’s PowerPoint presentation software, it can refer to a presentation created in any type of software. PPT
Practical Props - Props that serve a “practical” purpose, i.e. are functional in nature (like a laptop computer that actually works).
Presidential Teleprompter - Specific type of teleprompter commonly used by the U.S. President at major speeches where the words are reflected onto glass in front of the speaker podium. See also: Teleprompter.
Program Feed - A video record of what was on the screen during the event. This can include PPT and IMAG, and usually an audio feed. Usually used as a reference for later post editing, or for archiving.
Proscenium - In a theater the proscenium is the opening in the wall at the front of the stage, usually where the main curtain is hung.
Rear Projection - When video or slides are projected from behind the screen in which case the projector(s) are usually backstage out of view of the audience (and the image is electronically reversed).
Rigging - The equipment used to hang truss, lighting, and power cables from a roof or ceiling. Not the truss itself, but the chains or motors used to suspend it.
Run of Show - The document used primarily by the show caller (sometimes referred to as Stage Manager) to keep track of audio, video, lighting, and other cues contained within a meeting, event, or production. Often distributed to the rest of the crew to follow along. AKA Show Flow, Show Call
Running Spares - Running two or more projectors simultaneously, showing the same image, in the same location, at the same time. If one of the projectors fails, the image is still visible due to the other(s) still projecting, just at a lower brightness. See also: Double Stacked Projectors.
Shadow Boxes - A covered or shielded confidence monitor in the form of a little "house" made of fabric or hard panels. See also: Doghouse, Confidence Monitor, Downstage Monitor (DSM).
Show Flow / Show Call - See Run of Show
Site Visit / Site Survey - While planning an event the producer, client, and representatives from the venue meet at the venue to discuss layout and logistics. Sometimes called a walkthrough.
Stage Left and Right - The left and right sides of the stage, from the performer’s perspective, facing the audience.
Tech Riser - Technical Riser. A platform, usually located at the back of the audience area, where the technical crew and equipment that operate the show are located.
Teleprompter - A camera mounted video monitor that displays script and or notes, visible to the speaker or performer, operated by a person at a computer who moves the script following the speaker.
Treatment - A brief creative summary of a project used to explain or sell the concept to staff, executives, or clients.
Truss - Metal grid usually suspended above the stage or audience, from which lights, sound, or other equipment is hung.
Upstage - The area of the stage furthest from the audience in a traditional theater setup.
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