The Ultimate Glossary of Live Event Production Terms
Live events are coming back, but much has changed since the start of the pandemic. So we’ve created a list of all the terms you need to know – old and new.
In-person events are making their comeback. Many event professionals are already in the midst of planning live events and many more are thinking actively about the role that in-person experiences will play in their long-term hybrid strategy.
Hybrid events are making it possible to safely bring back on-site audiences while leveraging the power of both in-person and online experiences. With this new format comes a new set of terms that combines both on-site and virtual aspects. With this glossary, you can confidently manage your in-person event experiences, equipped with all the knowledge you need to communicate with your onsite and virtual teams.
If you’re looking for more resources as you plan your live events, download the Live Event Production Kit.
A La Carte
Can refer to food and beverage, services, or products that are purchased and charged separately rather than as a package.
Walls or panels that are used to divide a large meeting room into smaller rooms. Usually built into the wall and easily hidden like pocket doors.
Arrival Time (Call Time)
The expected time that the client/event planner will arrive at the venue.
Refers to the drop in actual attendance compared to the expected or originally guaranteed attendance. This is often expressed as a percentage and is sometimes referred to as attrition rate.
Many venues will still have a minimum fee based on the expected number of attendees. Attrition fees refer to the charges you would still owe even if you have fewer attendees than originally expected.
AV Project Manager
Project Managers typically lead the execution of an event including getting all of the necessary equipment and crew. Project Managers typically manage the crew directly, handle logistics such as shipping and receiving, and oversee technical operation of an event.
Technicians are typically highly skilled in a particular discipline. Most of the audio-visual roles require highly specialized technical skill sets.
Lighting that is set behind a stage or person and illuminates them from behind.
Back of House
Refers to the teams and support not usually seen by guests such as culinary, tech, or service.
Back of House Audiovisual
This is typically behind the stage, where audio-visual technicians work and are usually out of sight. This is also usually where empty cases are stored.
Banquet Execution / Event Order (BEO) / Program Execution Order (PEO) / Function Sheet
A document that outlines details and specifications for both the venue and the event planner. This usually outlines client arrival time, attendee count, an event timeline, menu and dietary considerations, room set, technology requirements, and any other relevant information.
The venue or on-site manager will create this document and the event planner or client will review and sign off generally 72 hours in advance to give the venue time to order and prepare food and equipment.
If any changes are made within the final 3 days, those might incur additional charges and some venues might require the additional fees to be paid by the time the event starts.
A table used typically for banquet functions. Typically round and can seat 8-12 guests, depending on the diameter. For socially distanced seating, you can seat 2-4 people per round to allow for personal space.
A room set where banquet rounds are used.
For events with longer registration periods, blackout days refer to times when tickets or certain prices are not available. Oftentimes, this is due to holidays or peak travel days.
Breakdown/ Load Out
To take down equipment and clear away set up items after the event is complete.
A smaller room for sessions or parts of a session when a larger group breaks into smaller groups. Typically event planners will book rooms specifically dedicated to facilitating breakouts.
Refers to a type of food service where the food is set out on a buffet with sneeze guards and serving utensils and guests are able to serve themselves. For COVID-friendly buffets, you can have the staff serve the guests.
A clause in the contract that details the penalties should a cancellation occur and depending on which party is the canceller.
The cancellation fee is the charge still owed to the venue in the event that you have to cancel. Sometimes if it is close to the event date, it will be the full amount. Other times, it might be 50% depending on the time of cancellation in relation to the event date.
Refers to moving exhibits from one place to another and the cost of labor associated.
A room set where tables are set in rows like a classroom with chairs only facing the front or wherever the stage is set.
Certificate of Insurance. Required by most venues in order to protect all parties from liability before coming on site.
Rooms provided by the venue that do not have an extra charge. Typically large events will have more comp rooms included in their contract, especially for a full buyout.
Refers to two or more sessions that are happening at the same time. In a venue, these will likely be held in different rooms simultaneously.
A light breakfast that usually includes water, tea, coffee, juice, and some snacks like bagels or pastries.
A process that identifies anyone who might have had potential exposure to COVID-19.
Many venues will charge a fee if you bring outside alcohol in. This fee will sometimes cover the venue opening the beverages and serving guests.
A type of seating where a round table is used but only at half capacity with all of the seats on one side of the round. The purpose is so there are no backs facing the front of the room.
A portion of the total payment that is used to secure the venue or services.
A fee associated with delivering supplies to exhibitor halls, removing empty boxes or carriers and assisting with load out.
Duty of Care
Related to Covid 19 Protocols and Policy. A requirement that a person act toward others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would.
Estimated Departure Time.
Estimated Time of Arrival.
The area where exhibits are displayed.
A single display at an exhibit hall.
Food and beverage.
Refers to an appointed person who leads a discussion among attendees.
Flexible Refund Policy
Allows a potential refund closer to the event date than is usually allowed. With COVID-19 uncertainty, it gives attendees more flexibility to sign up for an event without the fear of losing money if they become sick or exposed.
Force Majeure Clause
A clause in venue or service contracts that limits liability for all parties. Typically refers to an uncontrollable circumstance or an “act of God” that prevents the event from taking place.
Front of House
Refers to the teams and support that is seen by guests such as the welcome desk or registration and on-site managers.
Front of House Audiovisual
A designated area with a line of sight to the stage for the audio and lighting operators of an event.
When a client books the entirety of a space or venue.
Venues that offer everything in-house, from culinary to tech.
The large session, such as a keynote, that every attendee goes to. This is often planned in conjunction with breakout sessions.
A room dedicated as private space for speakers, VIP’s, or other guests to relax or prepare.
A microphone that a speaker holds in their hands, as opposed to an L-mic, standing mic, or other types.
Sometimes referred to as high tops or cocktail tables, these are generally between 30” or 42” tall and generally meant to serve as a place to put drinks or light bites during cocktail hours or networking receptions while guests are standing.
Hollow Square Seating
A room set where tables are arranged in a square with chairs around the outside resembling a hollow square.
The least expensive brand of alcohol in-house and typically the default order unless a guest requests a specific brand.
Installation and Dismantle. Can also be called Set Up and Take Down.
Miscellaneous expenses that come from small services like coat check or valet.
When the charges include all fees like gratuities, taxes, and other ancillary charges.
A presentation or speaker that is an opening address or important session that sets the theme or tone of the event. The keynote speaker is usually a well-known public or industry figure and a strong motivator for attendance at the event.
Lapel/Lavalier Microphone (L-mic)
A wireless microphone that attaches to the clothing (a lapel) and doesn’t require the speaker to hold a microphone.
Load In/Loud Out
Refers to the time frame dedicated to load in or out equipment. Many venues are required to notify the buildings and book freight or service elevators for these times.
An Emcee is a host that you assign to guide the overall event. This person will often have a confident and engaging presence that will help captivate the audience and make them even more excited to dive into the content at your event.
For outdoor events, a marquee is a tent that can be used to protect the affair from weather, temperature, or provide added decor.
The fabric or linens used to hide extra boxes, storage, or other “eye-sore” items that should be kept out of sight from the guests.
Refers to the amount a venue and client have agreed upon for the event. Some venues have minimums per room or based on time. If your event size does not meet the minimum, you may be required to pay the difference.
Reducing or minimizing the impact of something dangerous, such as COVID. Often involves pre-emptive measures.
A dedicated person who helps to guide your speakers and panelists through the content and conversation. For example, if you have a panel answering pre-approved questions, the moderator would lead that conversation and present the questions to each speaker.
These are the devices that raise and lower truss from the ceiling. These are typically items you are charged for as part of a rigging package.
By the day.
Allowance for daily expenses.
A method of charging that goes by each attendee, usually for culinary fees.
Pipe & Drape
Refers to tubing that is then covered in fabric and often is used for trade shows or exhibit booths.
Plus Plus (++) or (&&)
For non-inclusive rates, plus plus refers to the tax (plus) and gratuities/admin (plus). Typically admin or gratuity can run you around 20% and tax is dependent on location.
A microphone that is attached to the podium. This tells the tech team to make sure it is set up beforehand and implies that the speakers will not be moving nor picking up the mic.
A type of seating arrangement that refers to tables pushed together and seats on all sides. Pods can range from 4-8 seats per pod. Pods are most often used for collaborative and interactive meetings. For a Covid-friendly room set, pods might not be as common as they once were, or you can seat less people per pod.
The physical places in the ceiling that are rated for load-bearing weight, like a truss. This is typically an item charged as rigging. Where points are located can impact how the room can be configured.
Most venues provide wall power for free, but additional capacity for large events requires “drops” that are typically ordered in Amperage requirement, ie. 100-amp service, 200-amp service. This typically requires the use of a distribution point called a “Distro” that ties into large commercial rated power service.
Personal protective equipment.
Pro Forma Invoice
An invoice sent to the client before shipment that outlines what goods will be shipped along with their quantities.
The table or desk where guests check in once they enter the venue.
Request For Proposal (RFP)
A formal request by a company that outlines details and needs for a vendor to price out.
The equipment used to hang truss, lighting, and power cables from a roof or ceiling.
Platforms that can be moved and configured to create a stage.
When a microphone is brought around to attendees by a dedicated team member.
ROS (Run of Show)
A run of show is a quick guide that helps keep everyone on your team aligned. It outlines timings, cues, and other important information so that your planners, speakers, and technical producers are all on the same page.
A specific window of time, usually following the arrival time, for a client and their team to set up and prepare the event space.
All essential signs for an event, including directional and informational.
Fabric affixed around tables, stages and risers, often hiding cords and storage.
A tour offered by venues where you can walk through the space, take pictures, and get an idea for if the venue is right for your program. It’s also a chance to meet your on-site contacts and ask them questions about the space.
Meeting or event requirements.
Stagehands are usually semi-skilled labor used to load-in and load out a show. Many of these kinds of operators specialize in the event industry and work many events in a year. Stagehands are primarily used to expedite load-in and load-out.
For COVID-safe events, staggered entry would let attendees in at different times. You can specify entry times ahead of time so guests know when to arrive on site.
Small posts that are typically attached with ropes to guide attendees, block off certain areas, or display signage.
A microphone that is attached to an adjustable floor stand.
Refers to taking down exhibits or equipment.
A stationary microphone set up at a table, similar to a podium microphone.
A card that folds in half and can provide information like wifi or the table number for attendees.
This is a designated area for the technical operation of an event. These are typically placed to the side with a line of sight to the main stage.
A room set that looks like an auditorium or theater with no tables and only chairs set up in rows to face the stage.
This is the distance required between the front of a projector and the screen. This is meaningful in understanding room configuration with large format screens and projectors.
A track refers to a custom-built attendee journey. Some planners will want to build out tracks for their attendees for a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience. By grouping related sessions into tracks, you can help your attendees get the most out of your content. For example, maybe you have a sales track for anyone who wants to learn about sales-related content, or a training track dedicated to the product training sessions.
Metal grid usually suspended above the stage or audience, from which lights, sound, or other equipment is hung.
A room set where tables are set up in a U shape with chairs arranged around the perimeter; chairs are sometimes placed inside too, but for COVID-safe seating, consider only placing chairs on the outside.
Similar to a site tour, but a walkthrough is usually later in the process and just a way to see the space one last time to check the setup and make sure it is event-ready.
Refers to a venue that is easily branded. It is often a minimally decorated space with a lot of room to put signage, decals, or other branding.
This is an internet connection provided via a hardline cable. This is the most desirable way to ensure constant connectivity. Wireless is not ideal for virtual production.
Now you’re ready to plan your next live event with ease. With this guide, you can be confident in communicating with both your on-site production and your virtual production teams and you’ll have a better understanding of how to leverage your hybrid event platform.
To access the entire suite of templates and guides, download your Live Event Production Kit now.