Pro Tip Of The Day: Theatre Edition
“What’s old is new”
A tip for new high school, college or community theatre techs that may not have the most robust audio departments, and may have to rely on only one computer to store all of your show audio on. Sometimes, life happens. Computers crash. Someone loses the flash drive containing the ENTIRE show. Someone deletes the Qlab file while trying to erase the fact that they were doing things they shouldn’t on the production laptop. All of these things can kill a show, especially one you have put hard work into. But, if these things happen an hour before the show, you may think all hope is lost. And, you don’t have time to rip the entire show again. You may not have a working CD drive in your device or even in the venue (yes, CD drives are going the way of ADAT)
A solution? Something you can find for under $20 on eBay or Amazon: a standalone media player.
Simply load your show in order on one of these little guys, and lock it with the most valuable of things in the theatre. Most of these devices are cheap, user friendly and are battery powered so they are self contained.
“But, I got a phone! Who needs this old junk?!” You may say. Well, phones aren’t a one trick pony, and can do just about anything. And, as a backup, that is a problem. The more things a device can do, the more ways it can break. Also, phones have to power a lot more functions, so their battery life is shorter. MP3/wav players like this can last for DAYS on one charge. And, unlike many phones, devices like this Sansa Clip can play lossless WAV files, and don’t have random software updates that can cripple you in the middle of an already bad situation if your copy in Qlab just went walk about.
So dig out those old media players. You may find that taking the time to backup the show on a self contained “doomsday” player may be the one thing to save your ass when everything has gone wrong